I will be turning 35 this year, and while I am in a fantastic place in my marriage and happy with my budding career as a professional blogger, there are some things that I would like to accomplish before I turn 35.
The biggest thing being finally getting our family finances under control. Ever since Chris and I got married in 2001, I have handled our finances, so I have always known exactly where we stand. In the worst of times, that knowledge has left me up late at night worrying about debt, managing our budget and our eventual retirement. Lately it has been my lack of retirement plan, to be exact.
Even with my not working outside the home in 2012, we were able to pay off one of my larger debts as well as both of Chris’s credit cards. We are now working on building a savings account, in addition to paying off more of my debt in 2013.
When I left the workforce in 2010, I brought in no income for almost two years, so I didn’t feel that it was right to pay my own debt when all of the income was his. I recently started earning a little income from blogging and opened a payroll account to make it easier to keep track of my profit. Now that I know exactly how much I am profiting each month, it should be easier to plan our budget.
I’ll be using this easy budget calculator from Genworth Financial to help me stay on track with our financial goals.
Once we have our family budget on track, I hope to have enough money left over each month to pay down more of my debt. While doing that, we are also concentrating on building a savings account. While it isn’t much at the moment, I feel so much better having something in savings in case of emergency. In the past, whenever we’ve had an issue with our cars, the repairs have gone on Chris’s credit card. That really works against our plan to pay off debt! Duh!
And while Chris has a retirement plan through his employer, I haven’t since leaving my former employer. I could open an IRA, but while we’ve concentrated on paying down debt, I felt it was more important to do that first. I was reading this article on the importance of women taking control of their financial future, and realized just how important it is that I take immediate action to rectify this.
Sure, Chris is building a retirement plan, but he won’t be retiring on his own! I think we all know that in 30 years, when Chris and I are ready to retire together, it is unlikely that Social Security will still exist. Even if he continues to contribute 8% to his 401(k), that won’t support both of us. Since reading that article, I started thinking about how I have been the one to manage our finances all of these years and the fact that I used to work for a financial advisor. I really do have the basic knowledge required to manage my own retirement account, so why don’t I take charge and just do it?
So I am going to do it. I looked into my payroll service provider, but they will charge me a $1000 enrollment fee for a 401(k) plan administered through them. I can’t afford that kind of investment and still have money leftover to invest in a retirement plan, so I checked with my credit union, and I can open an IRA with just a $100 deposit and there are no annual maintenance fees! Even if I only contribute $25 a month to an IRA, with a compounded interest rate of at least .20%, that money will quickly add up over the next 30 or so years.
It feels good to finally have a plan for better managing our finances, and even better to take a step towards preparing for my retirement!