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Archive for October, 2005

Well, I did it- I started a Roth IRA.

October 29th, 2005 at 08:15 am

I don't know what it was; but on Thursday I decided to start an IRA. My job's never going to be totally stable; I'm never going to be at a point where I'm saying 'Yeah, I have a stable job and 6 months of expenses in the bank, now's a good time to start an IRA." I'm always going to be wondering if I'll be working next month. If I wait till I'm in a stable position, I'll be waiting forever. If I wait until I have 6 months of expenses saved up, I'll be waiting forever. I've got 3 months of expenses, plus whatever I save between now and the middle of January. (I started my Roth with the minimum- and I'm not going to add to it till I get to a more stable position. But having it started makes me feel pretty good.) That'll have to do. I think it'll make me more motivated- to know that I HAVE to have a job by April or my money's going to start running out. You can bet that by the middle of March, I'll have done everything in my power to get something. Even if it's temp work, even if it's food service- I'll have found something. I've already started working on my portfolio and my demo reel, and bought supplies so I can start making DVDs of my work. I've nearly finished designing my business cards; I'll send them out to be printed on Monday.

Thanks for the comments, guys- I'm in a bit of a weird situation because what I'm doing now is contract work. So it's not like if I found another job between now and January, I'd be able to give my 2 weeks notice and take it-- I HAVE to stay where I am and finish out the season. And most jobs in this field are so short-term (usually lasting between 3 weeks and 3 months) that if I found another job, I wouldn't be able to tell them "yeah, I can start in the middle of January". If someone's trying to fill a position, they're trying to fill it _yesterday_.

Well, we'll see if this turns out to be a good or bad thing. I may be posting here in March, whining, "Why did I start an IRA??? If I hadn't done that, I'd have money now!!"... Or, it might turn out the opposite way... and in 40 years I might be saying "good thing I started that IRA when I did!" I guess I'll just have to wait and see. But right now, it's making me feel more like a financially responsible adult, and that can only be a good thing.

Update, after a while

October 23rd, 2005 at 02:57 pm

I've been trying to restructure my goals a bit. My original plan was to get my emergency fund up to $5000 (3 months living expenses, more or less), then start putting $333 a month ($4000 over the course of a year) in a Roth IRA and the remaining $667 (b/c I've been able to save roughly $1000 a month) in my emergency fund until it is up to $10,000, or 6 months of living expenses.

What changes is that I've told my boss that I'm planning to leave my job at the end of the season (mid-January).

Suddenly, 3 months expenses doesn't seem like enough. Though I'm still pretty anxious to stash some money into an IRA... Especially now that prices are down a bit. But my current fears about the economy (I don't like the amount of personal debt in this country, and I'm not comfortable with the real estate market right now) are really making me wonder whether it's better to wait, until I both:

A) have found a new job
B) have a 6-month emergency fund.

If I meet those conditions, I think I'll feel better about the market, whether it goes down or up. I'll know that I have a job and savings and I can provide for myself. Still, $10,000 feels so far away...

I guess all I'm saying is I don't know. I still don't know what I'm doing. Hopefully I'll figure it out soon. I need to pick one plan or the other, and each has advantages and disadvantages. I'm just really scared about the future, I guess. Moving home is always an option, as is moving to Canada to find a job, though I don't want to leave my friends and my boyfriend.

I need to sit down with a calculator and project my expectations through January, and through the spring and the summer. Maybe that'll help me make a decision.


October 10th, 2005 at 06:19 pm

The good kind of surprise, not the bad kind, fortunately. Turns out my parents had a UGMA/UTMA (Universal Gifts to Minors, or somethig like that) savings account for me at Vanguard. They used most of it for college and college related expenses, but somehow, there is still some money left in there. About $600, in fact! It's a custodial account, but since I'm over 21, I can get the ownership transfered to my name. I still don't know if I can transfer it to an IRA, which would be awesome. I guess I should call Vanguard about it, but I'm hesitant to use my cell minutes to do it, and I don't have a landline. Plus I don't know if I can be the one to call them and request the change, or if my mom has to do it. This is great timing for me, because I'm about a month away from finishing my emergency fund, and about 1 1/2 to 2 months away from starting my own Roth IRA. It would be unbelievably great if there was already $600 in there to get things started! It's in the Vanguard Star fund, which is one of the ones I've been considering investing in. I would be really happy if in December, I didn't just have $1000 in there (which was my goal for the year) but $1600...

I'm still tracking my spending pretty well, though I haven't been posting in a while. I'm doing pretty well at keeping expenses down, despite a weekend of fun with my sister that could have cost a lot more than it did, and a broken cell phone, which I replaced for $40. There were nicer phones, but this one makes calls and receives calls, and that's really all I need, right?

The one October goal I've had that I've really not kept up with has been cooking 2 healthy meals from scratch every week. Tonight I had ramen and a granola bar. Ah, well, this is what you're supposed to eat when you're 23, right?