I'm at, (actually past, I'm 38), the age where I am starting to realize I need to seriously think about what my financial goals are for my retirement/future. I have about $12k in an old 401k, from a previous job, that is being managed by Fidelity, (its in Fidelity Blue Chip Growth, Fidelity Growth, and I think Dreyfus Growth). I know that this is practically nothing compared to the amount someone my age should have saved at this point. I haven't been putting anything away recently but I will be starting that up again this month. I know that at my age there is very little chance of me "retiring as a millionaire" because of my foolish money management in the past.
I am also in the process of pursuing a bachelors degree in business, (probably accounting but haven't decided yet), so that I can switch careers. I figure the accounting coupled with my IT background would work out pretty well and give me a better understanding on money in general.
My wife also has about $15k, (maybe more), in a 401k she had when she worked for the county.
What can I do now to help us put ourselves in a better position in the future?
My primary goal is to save for my daughters college tuition and to pay off our house earlier than the 30 years that our mortgage is for, (we've been in the house 7 years already). My wife has also recently started a new real estate career and the area we live in, (Houston), has a pretty good market.
Am I screwed or can I pull us out of this situation?
Sorry for the long post fellas but I just wanted to give you guys as much info as possible. Thanks!
It is never too late to get started.
Check out Dave Ramsey's advice:
I'll list his baby steps below:
- $1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
- Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
- Three to six months of expenses in savings
- Invest 15 percent of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
- College funding for children
- Pay off home early
- Build wealth and give!
- Invest in mutual funds and real estate
Basically, you get out of debt and you stay out of debt. Chop up all your credit cards and get on a budget. After you have retired your debt (except your mortgage) you can then start saving and investing as much as possible into retirement and college savings. Visit his site for more details.
There is no quick fix. It takes hard work and sacrifice to build for the future. The important thing is that you get started NOW.
Rollover your 401k's into a Traditional IRA.
if you qualify AND have some cash to pay taxes on the $12K,
1. convert it to a Roth IRA
if you don't have the cash to pay the taxes upfront, just leave it as Traditional IRA.
Systematically save/invest. it's not too late.
I don't understand this great aversion to credit cards that seems to pervade on ARFCOM. Credit cards are an excellent tool if used wisely.
Does Dave Ramsey actually advocate "chopping up credit cards"? (I've never read his books.)
What are the benefits of credit cards and what are the drawbacks?
For most people credit cards are a way to spend more money than they make. They claim they keep the cards for emergencies but most of the spending is for luxuries. For true emergencies you can have a cash emergency fund that is earning interest for you instead of spending on credit cards and then paying MUCH more interest to the CC company until you pay off the balance.
If you never carry a balance on a credit card it probably isn't a big deal but that isn't the norm.
According to American Consumer Credit Counseling, the total U.S. credit card debt in the first quarter of 2002 was approximately $60 billion. The average credit card interest rate is around 18.9%.
- Credit card debt carried by the average American: $8,562
- Total finance charges Americans paid in 2001: $50 billion
I only buy things I can pay cash for. It's not as sexy as living in debt but my money is earning me more money rather than paying someone else to borrow theirs.
To answer your other questions, yes, Dave Ramsey does advocate cutting up your credit cards but I had already come to the same conclusion before I read his book.
I apologize to the original poster for this thread hijack, but I must answer this.
1. CCs allow the user to fully participate in most every form of e-commerce.
2. The user receives a detailed itemized record of their monthly spending - useful especially for home finances, home businesses and some tax issues.
3. I've built and maintained a strong credit history with my responsible use of CCs, mortgages and installment loans. As some of my family members have found out, always paying cash does not build credit-worthiness. (NOTE: Credit-worthiness is now being used by prospective employers and insurance companies to judge "how good a risk this person is." Like it or not, that's the way it is.)
4. I use somebody else's money for 28 days and I don't pay interest. I only buy what I can pay for.
5. Hopefully unnecessary but, quick unsecured loans for emergencies, etc.
1. Again, if used wisely and responsibly - I don't see any.
2. If the consumer can't excercise self-control, they should pay cash or barter.
Shackle, you've described the irresponsible use of consumer credit. Hopefully, Dave Ramsey advocates the responsible use of consumer credit and not the return to the commerce practices of the nineteenth century.
Realisticaly, I doubt you'd be able to pay for anything like your kids college the way tuitions are headed today so forget it. Thats why there are college loans, and not retirement loans IMO FWIW. Pay more towards your home mtg, letting you off the 30yrs that you signed up for should be your first investment concern IMO.
Have you never paid a finance charge or late fee? Never?
I don't use credit cards and I don't live in the 19th century. I travel a decent amount for both my jobs both by air and by highway. I buy plane tickets and rent cars all the time. I haven’t found a need to get a credit card. Once you get yourself out of the Mindset that you need to have a CC you will realize that they aren't necessary for anything other than just having one.
I used to travel quite a lot too and one thing I found was that it was very hard to rent a car without a CC. How do you do it?
One thing you might try since you're both employeed and you have the double income is refinance your home and switch to a 15 year mortgage. Think of it as a forced savings but you'll have the homestead paid off before you're 55. The higher mortgage payment will hurt a bit for the first 3-4 months but you'll find that you living expenses will adjust and within a year, it'll feel normal.
As your wife is in real estate, she's in a perfect position to find rental properties. Think about buying a duplex or fourplex. let someone else pay the mortgage and you gain the equity, use a 15 year mortgage there too. When that's paid off in 15 years, you have an income stream for life.
Remember...LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!!!
You will get loads of different advice depending on who you ask. But even if your Primary goal is to pay for your daughters tuition the best way to do that is for her to get a school loan and you make the payments after she graduates. She will always be able to get this loan but it will be difficult to get a loan for yourself to live on when you are older and need it.
First thing in my opinion which is limited would be to start saving for yourself and paying any debt you have besides your house off. Their is a lot of debating that could be done about tying your money up in home equity, but don't lock yourself into a 15 year mortgage it is better to just be disciplined and make the extra payments. I would read some good books to give you some ideas and inspiration. THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON by GEORGE S CLASON is a very short simple book that you could read in a afternoon and would probably make a life changing difference for you. Good Luck