Friday, March 22, 2013

Financial Advice from the Fidelity Guy

(first off, you probably won't notice, but I added a new blogroll because google decided to ditch google reader.  BOO!!  I finally got an app so I would keep better track of blogs and now they're ditching the RSS feed.  The good news is I'll be reading those private blogs more often now.  yay!  But if you're uncomfortable with me having a link please let me know.  Thanks!)

So at the last benefit fair I went to I got to sit by the 401K guys for the company we were visiting.  When I wasn't chatting with employees I tried to listen to the advice he was giving out and finally at the end of the day just point blank asked him what I should do with my money.  And I decided to share that with you.

#1- contribute the maximum for matching to your company's 401K.  If you have to put in 6% for them to match 3%, put in 6%.  If it's 5% and they match 4%, put in 5%.  Do that before anything else regardless of your income.
#2- create a liquid emergency savings account that will cover 3-4 months expenses.  That means you sock cash away somewhere you can get to it fast-so not investments.
#3- save more for retirement.  But my questions was, what's the advantage of a RothIRA over a 401k or is one better?
IF you want to purchase a home in the near future or save for kid's college, you want to open a RothIRA.  You can contribute up to $5500/year and when the time comes to buy a home or pay for college, you can withdraw from the principal.  Here's the part I that was new to me:
If you are in a low tax bracket, you want to do a RothIRA because you will not pay taxes later and you're not paying taxes already.  A Roth is after tax contributions.  So if you're like me and pay next to nothing in income taxes, you really want to put the rest of your retirement savings into a Roth. I had honestly never considered that.
If you make more money, then more contributions to the 401k may be the better option for you since those contributions are pretax dollars and will lower your taxable income.  You do pay taxes later when you withdraw.
Now that I'm making some extra money and we'll actually have money to save, we've been trying to decide if we should pay off our rental property or contribute more to our 401K.  Now we know we want to open a Roth.
I like this added perk of my job.  Maybe this advice will help one of my readers too.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Hello Internet

I just wanted to say hi. There's nothing really profound to write about, I just felt like saying hi.
I worked for 9 hours today. Did I tell you I got a job? Well, I did. It's extremely part time and just perfect for homeschooling since when I do work I have funky hours and child care/ getting kids to school would be impossible. Not sure what I'll do with Munchkin starting kindergarten next year...
But I love my job! I go to benefit fairs and explain benefits to people. That's it. And I adore it. So I wanted to tell you how blessed and lucky I feel to have a way to pay for my medicine and save for braces for kiddos. Yay!
In other news, the school district decided that Jack isn't gifted enough. I had him tested to go to the local gifted magnet school, and even though his cognitive ability score was high, he is the king of silly math mistakes and didn't score high enough on the math. BUT I was also told they didn't accept any grade skippers (what!?) and they want him to re-apply next year. So even though he's averaging a B+ in fourth grade math right now, they want him to either repeat fourth grade math next year or move on to fifth grade math, only to do accelerated fourth grade math AGAIN the following year. So that's 3 years of fractions.
Umm, no thanks. I think we'll stick with homeschooling. Honestly, I'm relieved. It was nice to be able to tell my kid he is not, in fact, a genius and he does, in fact, have to work hard at school like everyone else. I think he was relived too. I have been trying to undo the genius complex his peers gave him for 2 years now.
I am playing around with a new curriculum and slowly falling in love with it. It's called the "Family School" and was created by a local private school. It includes religious education with history, science, literature, geography, art, and music and the days we do it we have wonderful discussions about the relationship of God to those topics. The spirit is in our home more and there is a greater level of learning than we have had previously. My girls also get to participate and I like that as well.
The down side? LOTS of printing. But I try to show as many things on the iPad as I can to cut down on those.
So if you are LDS and homeschooling or thinking about it, I would suggested checking out www.latterdaylearning.com.
Also, I planted spinach and chard! AND last year I planted parsnips that did absolutely nothing and are coming back strong this year! Hooray! I love spring!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Good Week

This was a pretty good week. Tuesday was a day I wanted to pack up and bottle and tuck away because it was as close to perfect as a day can get. Chores were done cheerfully and accurately, homeschooling went well, I managed to have one on one time with all my kids...still some voice raising (but no yelling!), and bickering among the kids, but it still felt perfect.
I have never had a day like that and I know I doubt I ever will again. So I'm just going to lock it up and keep it.
Tumbleweed just came into my room sobbing because I won't give her more medicine and declared she hates me for the umpteenth time today. Now she is laying next to me trying to fall asleep. I have to admit that though I try to act like it doesn't phase me, it does sting a little to hear my two year old say she hates me.
I created a new routine/schedule and changed some curriculum and its been helping. I feel like I'm always tweaking things, trying to make things run more smoothly, when sometimes I wonder if I should just give in to the chaos. But this schedule is working because Im forcing myself to wake up with Igloo and get more of my housewife work done early. i am also assigning more work to the kids. Our mornings go more smoothly and I don't feel like I'm cramming as much.
We took a break from Singapore Math when Jack just was NOT getting decimals. We tried Switched On Schoolhouse which helped him understand why he's a poor math tester (more on that later) but it didn't help with the decimals really. It was just kind of odd and seemed to jump around a lot. So back to Singapore Math this week and he seems to be catching on. Sometimes you just need to give your brain a break, I think. Made me grateful for homeschooling and the flexibility it provides with that.
We've all gotten into My Little Pony lately. And I mean all of us. Igloo and Jack don't like to admit they like it, but always end up watching it with us when it's on. I waxed nostalgic and spent Wednesday watching 80s ponies and Strawberry Shortcake on YouTube. I love the Internet!!
Last night I stayed up with friends until 1:30am. Sometimes I just want to feel irresponsible and silly. I think that's part of being the primary president; it feels too serious a lot of the time with all the broken home kids I worry about. And then I come home and wish I had come home sooner because I miss putting my own kids to bed and then I don't need to stay out again for 6more months. Funny how that works, huh? I had to wake up at 5:30 to drop Igloo off at work though so now I'm exhausted. Tumbleweed is asleep and I am ready to join her.