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Thinking

August 3rd, 2019 at 07:02 pm

After my Murphy of a week, I am glad to get a little good news. MIL has decided that she is going to up the amount spent on birthdays from now on, which means anyone who has had a birthday this year already, gets to be brought up to the new amount to make up the difference. Well, she has decided to give $100 per grandkid and $200 per me, DH, and SIL. So she gave me a hand mixer worth $70 on my birthday, so I get a check for another $130 and DS gets one for another $50.

So I am thinking I will take that $130 and open up a spousal Roth IRA since there don't seem to be any minimums for starting up an account. And then I get $50 every two weeks as my spending money and I seldom use much of it. I might get myself a corn dog now and then or a burger, but that's about it. I maybe spend $25 a month and that is being generous. I've gone whole months without spending anything. So I figure I will put in $50 every 4 weeks. It has always bugged me that I don't have any retirement of my own.

It isn't a lot. I would be putting in only $480 this year, but that's still something. I could probably scrape up an extra $20 and make it $500. Oh, and I could put all of my youtube money in there. Which isn't a lot, but I will probably earn another $200 this year. Next year I could put all $400 in. I had been putting it in the EF. So this year will be $700. Wish I could make it $1000, but not with us paying off Mom.

Retirement Update

July 17th, 2019 at 05:24 pm

$10,275.59 401K
+_9,047.67 IRA
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$19,323.26 New Balance

$19,323.26 New Balance
-18,045.73 Old Balance
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$_1,277.53 Amount of Increase

The 401K is up $1,099.70 and the IRA is up $177.78. This is since June 26th. I hope in two paydays' time the total is over $20K. That will feel like a big milestone to us.

Retirement Update

June 26th, 2019 at 11:44 pm

$9,175.89 401K
+8,869.89 IRA
--------------
18,045.73 New Balance

Retirement is up $1284.90 since June 5th. I normally won't check it more than once a month, but DH was getting all the log in information set up on my computer so I can monitor it myself, so I jotted down the balances. That is not all contributions, either. It is nice to see it growing and I hope it continues.

Retirement

June 5th, 2019 at 02:17 am

DH checked the retirement accounts for us. It's not a lot, but at least it is something. I don't regret focusing on paying off debt, and I know we will really get moving in another 18 months or so on the retirement, and both accounts are actually doing well.

$8,443.85 in the IRA
$8,316.98 in the 401K
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16,760.83 Total Retirement Savings

The IRA was $6123.49 a year ago when DH rolled over two old 401K's and nothing has been added, so it has earned $2320.36 in a year. It is invested pretty aggressively. The 401K we began investing in in July of last year. It is also invested pretty aggressively. I am hoping to continue to be aggressive for ten years before becoming much more conservative, but that will also depend on what happens in 2020 with who gets into the House, the Senate, and the Presidency and how that affects the stock market.

Turned the Corner

December 10th, 2018 at 03:39 pm

This is one of the worst winter colds I have ever had, but I think I have finally turned the corner. I got up and got dressed for the first time since December 2nd. My cough is up in my throat now instead of my lungs or bronchials. I still definitely have a lot of mucus and am pretty tired, but I think I could drive today without being a risk to others. I haven't even been in a car since the 1st, let alone driven.

I even started a load of laundry, there is a huge backlog, though DH did his work clothes, but I have to take it slow. I am still a little dizzy when I bend over, so I reckon DS will have to take the clothes out of the dryer and bring them to my bed so I can fold them. But I am not dizzy when I am upright. It was so bad there for a while that being upright was too much.

There is talk of a Christmas or year end bonus at DH's work. I know when he filled out paperwork to become a permanent employee there was a sheet about a company bonus that goes into the 401K. I don't know if it all goes in or if some can be gotten as cash. We could use cash for medical bills. I don't even know if he will qualify, because while he has worked for them for a year, it has only been 6 months direct, so I'm not counting any chickens. It would be nice, though.

Considering the job he is doing, he should get one, but I don't know how these things work. They are pretty eager to hang on to him. His boss has put in for a raise for him, so keep your fingers crossed that he gets one.

He has been getting rumblings about slope work. One company even asked if they could put him in on their bid. DH said no for now because he really doesn't want to go back to Alaska. He likes where he is at. But it would be a possibility. I don't really want him to go away again. We spent the first twenty years of our marriage with him gone so much for work, now that he is home I have gotten used to it.

I know I could get used to him leaving again, but there is so much I can't keep up on anymore. That's why we don't have chickens, or turkeys, or ducks anymore. And why we've cut back significantly on the number of rabbits. I am even debating on whether or not I want to plant a garden this year. If I do, I will probably only plant a few beds.

Mom and DS want to put up Christmas lights, so DH went and dug out some of our standees (stand alone lights). We have our polar bears, our train, our seal with a present on his nose, our Season's Greetings, two presents, and our giant snowflake. We need to get a cable to secure the seal to the porch. Everything else will be zip-tied to the deck rail or up to high for someone to get without a ladder, but I am not losing that seal to theft. It was too expensive.

I have no idea why Mom wants to put up lights this year, except that there are tons of houses on our block who have put them up and our house looks pretty dark and naked without them. One of our next door neighbors doesn't have anything either, but that is pretty much it. She isn't the type to keep up with the Jones's normally.

I don't know when they will actually get put up though. DH and DS have been helping MIL to clean out her attic and garage to get ready for the exterminator to come, new insulation to be laid, a new breaker box put in, and a new furnace and AC to be installed. She's getting $40K of work done. FIL was a pack rat and there is a lot to get rid of. So far they have hauled away 1013 pounds of garbage. DH is finding tax files and paperwork from the 70's. We have a roving shredder business that you can get to come by and shred all your old paperwork and MIL is thinking of hiring them.

I haven't been able to help at all, although considering how much dust and rat droppings and loose insulation there is, that is a good thing. With my asthma it is just not a good idea, even with a mask on.

They are going out again tonight after DH gets off work and hopefully that will be the end of it until the weekend. DH didn't get any rest this weekend at all because he was out there. I am worried he is going to come down with my cold, because he has started coughing, but that might just be in reaction to all the dust. I don't like it when he burns the candle at both ends. He is getting some help from his sister and her boyfriend, so it isn't just my guys.

I just don't want him to get sick and have to stay home from work. And I need him to be well to drive us down to Virginia Mason on the 19th. I hate driving in Seattle traffic. I've done it a couple of times because in the past DH was in Alaska, but it is something that scares me because they drive worse in Seattle than they do in Orange County. In Seattle, no one knows what a blinker is, people zip back and forth between lanes even when there is no space to do so safely, assuming the lanes aren't at a standstill. Pedestrians jaywalk constantly despite having plenty of cross walks. And don't get me started on the bicyclists, who apparently don't like to use bike lanes, but would rather take their lives and yours into their hands and act like they are immortal. Even the bus drivers are a little nuts.

Almost all the streets are one way and half the time you can't go around the block for several blocks. People block intersections so badly that I've sat through five or six light cycles before it has been clear to go. The drivers are so aggressive, too. So yeah, DH needs to be well for that, because I am currently not up to that challenge.

Planning for the New Paycheck and Future Goals

August 5th, 2018 at 07:10 pm

As per usual, I have come down with something a few days after our visit to the ER, a nasty stomach bug. I am on the way back up, though, so fortunately it isn't going to be some long, drawn out thing. My food is staying down today and my head feels better, and I finally woke up feeling well-rested. My tummy is still a little tender, but I think by tomorrow I will be okay. I am supposed to be beta testing a finance thing for someone, but haven't been quite up to it yet. Maybe tomorrow.

We have five days to go until payday. This will be DH's first paycheck as a permanent employee and will have two weeks on it. I have set up my budget for August with two bi-weekly pay periods instead of weekly pay periods. The first week will have 15 hours of OT on it and the second week will have 6. DH was so tired after spending Thursday night in the ER with DD, so I told him if he was too tired to stick it out, not to. OT is nice, but not at the expense of his health.

From now on he is only authorized to get 10 hours of OT a week. He won't be able to set up the 401K until after he gets his first automatic deposit, so the paycheck on the 24th will start the 401K contributions. We have decided to start them even though we haven't paid off the debt yet. We both feel like we are already too far behind on retirement to wait, even though Dave Ramsey says to wait until the debt is gone. It is messing too much with my security issues not to start it up and DH also wants to do it.

I am having DH run the numbers for me on how much to contribute. We are debating 5% and 7%. 5% is how much the company matches. 7% is the break even point on taxes. I just need to see what the end numbers will be. Then we can make a decision and I can do the final tweaks to the budget. The August budget is going to be weird and not be able to follow the budget template, but from September on it'll be set for the rest of the year.

DH will be getting what amounts to a 12% raise, but it is because our insurance premiums will be so much lower in September. He is not getting an actual raise, although his boss did try and says he will try again in 6 months. It will feel like a raise. Also in 18 months another guy is going to retire and his boss says he wants DH to take over his position which would be a promotion and likely a raise with the increased responsibility.

We will not increase our level of spending, though. All extra money will be put in the 401K and to pay off this last debt. Once the debt is gone, then the debt money will go to an EF of 3 months of expenses. Once we hit 3 months expenses, we will split that portion in half. One half will continue to build the EF until we hit six months of expenses. The other half will go towards a down payment fund for a house.

Once the EF hits six months of expenses, we will adjust our retirement savings to 10% and the remainder will go into the down payment fund. We may be saving for some time as I don't want to have a mortgage of more than $200,000.00. I really would prefer $100,000.00 mortgage, but that is not practical where we live.

If MIL gives us the $13K a year, we will fund a spousal Roth IRA with some of it and the rest will go into either the EF if we are still building it and then the house down payment fund.

I probably should start a sinking fund for a vehicle replacement. Right now our vehicles are in excellent condition. The 2011 Sienna has only just hit 40,000 miles. The 2007 Tacoma has a lot more miles, but is in great repair, so I think we have many years to go. But when something does go, we will want to get something nice, a used car in the $20,000 range or less. I reckon the Sienna will last another 15 years, but the truck might not. With Toyotas, though, as long as you keep them up, they last a very, very long time. Both will need new paint jobs, the truck first, and then eventually the van.

I'd like to take a vacation at some point, too. We haven't been on one in several years. So that should likely be one of our sinking funds as well. Hopefully, we will be able to achieve all of these goals in the next six years or so. I would like to get out of here sooner, but I just don't think that is to be.

Benefit Info Trickling in--Retirement

July 15th, 2018 at 10:11 pm

So information about the new job is slowly trickling in. I'll start with the retirement information. They have two choices: a traditional 401K and a Roth 401K. I have only recently even learned of the existence of a Roth 401K. With the traditional 401K they will match 100% up to 5% of your income and of course it is pre-tax dollars. With the Roth 401K you put in after tax dollars, and they will again match 100% of what you put in up to 5% of your income. Their portion will be taxed upon withdrawal, but what you put in won't be since you have used after tax dollars.

My gut says the 401K Roth is probably a better choice, but I have done some reading and some have said that it might be better to use pre-tax dollars now when we are earning more to lower our effective tax rate, because when we retire we won't be pulling out as much as DH is currently earning per year, so our tax rate then will be lower than what it is now. Could some of our accountant/tax people weigh in on this issue?

They also may contribute an additional sum to the 401K called a performance contribution, which is divided among employees in proportion to their wages and based on how well the company does each year. Basically an end of year bonus, but to the 401K. It varies from year to year.

They have an ESOP or Employee Stock Ownership Plan. The company contributes stock to employees at the end of the year based on wages and a pro rata basis. They will start doing this once you have worked 1000 hours. It is fully vested after six years, vesting 1/6 per year. DH said currently one share of company stock is worth $16,000. Stock must be sold back to the company on retirement or quitting.

I am debating whether or not we should start whichever 401K we choose immediately (match is immediate) or wait until the debt is paid off. If we do it immediately it works out to $90 a week. That is $360 a month that should be going to debt payoff and we are hoping the debt is gone in the early part of next year, but that depends on overtime. I hate giving up the free $360 a month, but I know it would be for a short time. It bothers me that our retirement is so low, but the whole point of the Dave Ramsey plan is you cannot split your focus.

As soon as the debt is paid off, we plan to get the EF to three months of expenses and then hit retirement at 10% while getting the EF up to six months of expenses. Then once the EF is at six months, start saving for a large house down payment. I don't know that we can do the recommended 15% to retirement and still save for a house, though once DH starts getting raises we might.

We figure anything MIL gives us will go towards either the EF build or the down payment. In later years, we could put any gift money towards Roth IRA's or towards paying off the house early once we buy one. I guess in those years we would hit 15% of retirement if MIL gives like she has said she plans to. We can't count on that money, though.

We will have to use some of the money MIL gave us already to get through the job transition period. DH officially starts working for the company direct on the 21st. His last paycheck from the contracting company is on June 27th. Then he won't get paid again until the 10th and we will move on to a 2 week paycheck. So we need to get through the time when we would have had a check on the 3rd, but now won't.

Also, his old company has said that we can pay the August insurance payment out of that paycheck on the 27th, which means that paycheck will be quite short, even with OT on it. So some of the money will also have to go to cover what is taken out for the insurance. But starting on the 10th we will switch to biweekly budgeting instead of weekly budgeting and everything will be fine. The new insurance starts on September 1st. That will make life easy and we won't have to worry about dealing with COBRA at all. So, yay! I am just very grateful it is all playing out like this and that we have the money in savings to smooth out the bumps.

Windfall

June 18th, 2018 at 02:11 pm

MIL gave us $5000 yesterday. I have a lot of mixed feelings about what to do with this money. The strongest emotion says to stick this right into the Emergency Fund. That would bring it to nearly two months of expenses. It has been very hard having it down so low. And we still don't know what the future holds job wise. His job with this company keeps getting extensions, but we are living 3 months at a time, it seems.

Another part of me feels like we should throw it at debt, we are supposed to be throwing everything there, but DH and I both feel weird about taking money from his mother to throw at the loan to my mother. Yet at the same time, we both want that debt gone. It has been hanging over us too long and prevents us from saving for our future. I also don't know how my mother would feel about taking that money if she found out where it came from, which I have no intention of telling her, but she's nosy and has a way of finding stuff out. We are not telling the kids about this money. So if we do decide to pay it to her we might stretch it out over a few months so it doesn't come in a big lump.

Another thing we could do is open a Roth IRA. Probably a spousal IRA since I have nothing saved for retirement at all and I'd feel better if some was in my name, too. If we were out of debt, that is likely what we would do with the majority of the money she is giving us, open a Roth for both of us. But we aren't. I know once we are out of debt we can really contribute, so it comes back to that. It always comes back to paying off the loan.

There are a few things we could really use the money for, like I need new glasses, and we need new rabbit cages, and DH would like a new laptop or at least to have the money available to get one when his laptop gives up the ghost, which it has been threatening to do for the last year or so. It would also be nice to get DS into a driver's class so he can actually learn how to drive. DH hasn't had the time to teach him and my brain hasn't been in the right place to do it, either.

But I know we can get by with the old cages and that we have started a fund for the laptop. We need to find the time to teach DS to drive even if DH has to do it on the weekends. The glasses I can probably afford to buy outright in another month out of our medical fund, but my eyes are really, really bugging me and my prescription has changed a lot so the temptation there is strong.

So maybe we put $4000 into the EF and I get my glasses, and the rest of that $1000 we put into the laptop fund. Then when we know for sure what the situation is long term with DH's job, maybe we can take the remainder to throw at debt.

I do know that MIL plans to give us another $7000 this year. She's given us $6000 so far. I am not sure when that will happen, though. At that point we will have to figure out what to do with that money all over again.

Maybe with the momentum we make on debt in these next several weeks with all the overtime, it'll hyper focus us on getting the loan gone, or maybe it'll make it easier to keep it in the Emergency Fund.

I really don't know how people manage to stay gazelle intense on debt payoff if they are worried about future employment. We've got to figure it out though, if we ever want to be done with this and save up for a house and contribute to retirement. Right now buying a house again seems so far out of reach.

I'm not sure what we are going to do. I think for now just let it sit in savings until we are more sure of what we should do and have had a chance to discuss it more.

What would you do, not knowing if you had a job past the end of August, but things seemed somewhat promising? Wait until September? That probably makes the most sense.

Payday Report for 3/23/18

March 25th, 2018 at 03:40 pm

DH had 10 hours of overtime on this paycheck, which is great, plus I got my Youtube/Google AdSense pay deposited, so that will be reflected in the tithe amount. We didn't have a lot of bills. We don't generally since we run everything through the credit cards and then pay them off weekly or monthly depending on the card.

$1200.00 Citi Visa
__188.51 Tithe
__275.00 Chiropractor Monthly Family Plan
__100.00 Best Buy (18 months same as cash)
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$1763.51 Total Money Out

I transferred my wages to savings. There is a small amount left in checking, just under $60. We run it close since we write so few checks anymore, but it is hooked to a savings account that will automatically feed the checking account for a $1 fee if for some reason my math was off and we went over. Good credit unions are nice that way. Right now that savings has over $800 in it, so I'd have to screw up in a really big way to not be protected there.

DH still hasn't signed up for the 401K. I'm trying to get him to do that this week. We will start with 2% and after DD's surgery is paid for we will increase it by 1% each month until it becomes too tight, until we hit 6%. We may do more, but I really have to feel what living with that amount taken out will be like.

Plus we have to build the EF back up. And I want to be able to purchase half a steer, 30 chickens, and half a hog again in the fall/winter, so the money does have to be available for that. It saves us so much money in the long run to do that. At the very least the beef.