Free Money. That IS Actually Free. And Three No-Brainers.

I got a very exciting email this week, saying that my company is bringing back their 401(k) match.  I’m not sure how long they’ve been without it because I’ve only been with the company for six months, which is sometimes the approximate probationary period before these kind of benefits kick in anyway.

No-Brainer #1:  Although I had instant flashes of all the trouble I’ve been having with transferring my old 401(k)s lately, now I know the rollover process (at 26, I’m pretty sure a rollover will be necessary at some point) and I immediately signed up.

I didn’t calculate percentages and what that would mean for my paycheck and figure out a new budget and then sign up.  I just signed up.  For the max that they will match (50% of my 6%).  I’m going to make the little cut work for my monthly budget for the sake of free money.

Because, this time, it legitimately is free money.  You could invest $100 on your own OR you could throw in $100, have your company add $50 and earn (theoretically, over the long run) greater returns.  Like I said, a no-brainer.

No-Brainer #2:  Picking funds.  This used to be a source of stress for me, but I’m a devout follower of Suze Orman, so I pulled her Young, Fabulous & Broke off my bookshelf (a loaner from my college friend that I never gave back! Sorry, Matt!), opened to her 401(k) section and diversified my allocations based on her recommendations.

No-Brainer #3:  When I signed up, I was given the option to automatically increase my contribution annually.  But my company only matches up to 6%, so next year if I put in 7%, I still only get 3% from them.  Yes, it’s smart to automatically increase under the assumption that my salary will also increase with time, but when there’s no more free money on the table, I will take my increase and max out my shiny new Roth IRA, thank you very much.

I hope other companies have added or will be adding their matching programs back because socking away money for retirement really is a no-brainer and even as twentysomethings, it’s something that’s better done today than put off for tomorrow.

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Who needs a tiara? Give me a Roth IRA.

Finding this clip was supposed to make me feel better, but I remembered it differently.  I thought she straight out googled “finance,” but she didn’t, so it didn’t.

I work in finance and sometimes I wonder how the hell that happened. Scratch that.  I work in the finance industry and I was hired because knowledge of the industry was not a key requirement.  My bosses actually find it slightly humorous, and I like to think charming, that the TV by my desk – meant to keep guests in the office informed about the markets – is more often tuned to The Today Show and Oprah.

It’s mostly frustrating to me personally tonight because of the “rollover 401(k) to Roth IRA” cloud that has been looming over my head for years!  I’ve got step one crossed off my list, but don’t know where to go from here. 

21-year-old Emjaye never really expected to be here, but 26-year-old Emjaye is glad she is. 

At 21, I talked vaguely with my dad about finance as I started my first real job, opened those damn 401(k)s and began supporting myself.  At 21, there was a big hullabaloo about transferring investment accounts into my name, but I haven’t done much with them (besides, fortunately, watch them grow). 

At 21, I thought by 26 I’d have found someone to know about finances in the way I’ve always relied on my dad to know about finances.  When I say finances, though, I mean the bigger stuff.  Day-to-day, I feel confident about budgeting and spending and saving. 

Luckily, I never got myself into huge debt expecting some prince to come along and get me out of it.  I just expected some prince to come along and help me plan a comfortable life and retirement (like my prince of a dad has with my mom).

At 26, I know it’s up to me.  And just like at work, I’ll get there.  Neither is going to be about step one, now step two anymore.  I work better when I know WHY I’m doing step one and HOW it helps me at step two, so I’m engaging myself.

I might have a little talk with Pops this weekend, but those talks usually just remind me that I’m quite capable and knowledgeable if I just give myself a break.  And that I don’t need a prince and his castle and his piles of money.  I just need a man who will treat me like a princess – maybe even one who is a little turned on by my financial savvy!

WWW2

Alternate title:  Bring It On

It’s week #2 of the Winter Wonderland Warrior Challenge.  Check out my first Winter Wonderland Warriors post here

Life's Journey with a Smile

Or, if you’re feeling lazy, don’t move an inch, I’ll bring my goals to you.  You’re welcome.

  1. Lose 5 pounds in January and maintain (starting is 122.6).
  2. Sign up for a new dating site in February (assuming Mr. Amazing doesn’t waltz in before that).
  3. Climb the seven summits of Phoenix in seven days.
  4. Make a real meal at least once a week.
  5. Adopt a pet.
  6. Get a bike and decrease my gas usage.
  7. Write my guest post for The Chick Lit Bee.
  8. Roll over my 401(k)s.
  9. Do six things with friends (happy hours, game nights, etc.).
  10. Find and participate in a volunteer opportunity.

This week, the warriors are answering:

  1. What have you done this past week to help you achieve your goals?
  2. Are any of your goals repeat offenders (i.e., have you made them before and not succeeded)? If so, what do you intend on doing this time to ensure you achieve them?
  3. Do you have a support system in place to help you achieve your goals?
  4. Are you a planner when it comes to meeting your goals, or do you tend to “wing it” and hope for the best?
  5. Fun Question of the Week: Who knows about your blog? Are you on blogger lockdown or do the “real” people in your life know about your blog/read your blog?

I am a big time planner (4), so immediately when I set my goals, I mapped out when I would be completing most of them, mostly in January and February.  A few others I’m winging, the idea being with March largely unscheduled, I’ll fit in the rest. 

Some of the things are things I’ve had on my to-do lists or my I’ll get around to it lists forever (2) – specifically 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8.  Damn, I’m a procrastinator.  Putting them on THIS to-do list gives me a deadline, but these are the ones I had to jump on right away. 

So what have I done about them? (1)  I opened a Roth IRA account that I will transfer my 401(k)s to.  I just got an email this morning that it is approved and ready, so now my next step is actually moving the funds.

I also attended a Meetup for a new group I just joined and RSVPed yes to a few others.  My intention behind “do six things with friends” was to make an effort to see my friends who I recently moved 30 minutes away from (and I spent time with them once last week too), but I’m excited about shaking up my social life and meeting new friends closer to where I am as well. 

I signed up for a new dating site.  It sucks and it’s not THE dating site I had in mind, which I still plan on joining in February, so I’m not sure if it counts.

I holed up in Barnes and Noble and “researched” my Chick Lit Bee post and started writing it.  This is my positive picture because I love that this is how I spent an afternoon:

I made my first real meal last night – alfredo pizza piled HIGH with garlic chicken, bell peppers, spinach, baby bellos, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese, yum!

And I found and signed up for a volunteer opportunity that I’ll be doing next weekend!

Not too shabby, eh?

I don’t really have a support system (3) because I keep my blog private from people in my real life (5).  I do have a good friend who’s staying on top of me about the adopt a pet thing, I think because his roommates don’t want a pet, so he wants to live through me!  I love the support I received from other warriors on my first post though and have added everyone to my Reader so I can support them as well!