This past week was hectic to say the least. How often do you feel like you’re running on fumes? I don’t think I’ve been exhausted like this for awhile! That’s good though, right? With a 7 month old at home, I think so.
Today I’m going to be talking about how I saved over $3K in a little more than 1 year!
That may not seem like a lot to you, it it is for me.
I recently checked my retirement account and my jaw dropped. Do you remember me telling you about ways to save money at work? Well, I like to practice what I preach (it’s hard) and it’s been great!
Disclaimer: I realize that there are people who may not want to contribute money to a 401k. There are also those who disagree with the idea of retiring before they are 50. So let’s be perfectly clear…. I am not one of those people!
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into it.
I have a 401k, and my goal is to retire early so that I don’t HAVE to work a traditional 9-5. I’m not knocking you if you don’t want to retire early or if you don’t want a 401k, I’m just saying, I have different goals right now.
I opened up my 401k when I started working at my current job (approximately 1 year and 1 month ago). I started off by contributing 3%, then decided to increase it to 6% in the beginning of 2019. As I’m writing this post, I have a nice amount in my 401k! Around $4K! I’m pretty excited about that because I wouldn’t have saved half that amount in a year if I were doing it on my own.
I know, you probably think that’s terrible. How are you taking about financial independence when you don’t even have enough self control to save money?! (Gasp!) Clutches pearls 🙄.
When one way doesn’t work, you figure out another way to get sh*t done. Like a boss! ( I just wanted to say that last part lol).
But, honestly, it’s hard for me to save on my own. I have multiple bank accounts and some of them are solely online which is great and I had good intentions for that. But, I’m not the type of person who simply “saves and forgets.”
Have you heard of that?
Some people arrange for their money to be automatically pulled from their checking account or paycheck and claim to “forget about it.” That’s not me. I’m the type of person who knows where all of my money is. I don’t “forget” anything lol. I check all of my accounts about 5 times a day. Is that excessive?
I’m anal about my money.
I used to intentionally transfer money to my online savings account as an attempt to “forget it” so that I can save it and let it build up, but I always end up transferring it back to my checking accounts when I want to spend it. (I’m a work in progress, bear with me).
That’s not how I wanted it to go but that’s what I do. If I need the money, I get it from an account that has the funds available. The reason why I’m more hesitant to make a withdrawal from my 401K is because I know I may have to pay penalties and taxes on it. Plus I’ll never have any money saved for retirement if I consistently pull it or get a loan.
Do you remember me telling you about being vested? Having a fully vested account is when all of the funds are yours. So if you decided to leave the organization, you wouldn’t just leave with your contribution. ( I just thought about Kanye West’s song Gold Digger – “cuz when she leave yo ass, she gone leave with half” ). When you’re fully vested, there’s still a line between what you’ve contributed and what your employer contributed, but all of it belongs to YOU.
I will be fully vested next year. I am happy with the amount that I currently have and I’m excited about what I will have by the time I’m fully vested. I don’t plan on touching g this money, no withdrawals or anything. I didn’t imagine that I would be able to save that much in one year! Without my job’s contributions I have a little under $2k, so almost half.
My FI number
I’ve mentioned that I want to be financially independent multiple times. The amount of money I need in order to retire early is a whopping 1.5M! (Yes I know, but, people are doing it a lot these days). And once you break it down, it seems a lot more realistic. Then we you take into account that you can invest in the stock market and live off dividends, it really becomes even more realistic.
Keep in mind you may or may not be living the same lifestyle you’re currently living. So your FI number may be more or less. For example, I may decide to live in a tiny house. My monthly payment may not be what I’m currently paying so I would be able to adjust that number and decrease my FI number.
Check out this website for a little more helpful information on 401Ks.
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