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Transfer assets / New account

June 7th, 2006 at 02:39 pm

Maybe I should lay off the financial publications, but just finished "Coffee House Investor" and decided to bite the bullet and open up a Vanguard account.
Finished paperwork today with my signature guarantee to transfer my IRA at TIAA-CREF to V.
Perhaps I should have waited until we're at our new address... unfortunately, I was having nightmares about losing paperwork, so this way it's done. Smile
Picked up DS's new glasses today... they make him look VERY handsome. Will need to get some sort of strap to keep them around his neck for all of the sailing expeditions this summer. No sense in dropping $250 worth into the lake!

Pension Info and Retirement

April 16th, 2006 at 03:21 pm

My (old) employer just sent me forms to fill out for my pension. I was floored that I had acquired $4,500 in the 5.5 years that I worked there since I was expecting more like $1,000. Excellent because I only managed to save about $6,500 on my own in the company retirement account and it's only up to about $6,900 these days. (They had no match since they offer the pension). The pension money will be a really nice addition.
DH needs to sign in front of a notary since I'm opting out of the annuity ($11/mo. for the rest of my life and $5/mo. for DH LOL) and rolling over the pension to my TIAA-CREF account. I had added $800 into my traditional IRA for 2005, and had thought I would transfer it over to Vanguard, but I think I will give it some time. There's so much going on right now that I kind of just want expense stuff settled.
I will be completely debt-free in June this year and it will be the first time since I was 18 years old with my first car loan. We'll be renting on the west coast for the year and since our house is sold... just need to wait for the closing date. Wow. It feels so great to have a little bit of money stashed away.
Turns out that I only have ~$14,000 in retirement accounts, but that's okay because I'm trying very hard to build up money in other areas. Now that I haven't been working for a month and won't probably be working for awhile, it's going to be tough, but DH will be supporting us on his salary and when the baby comes, I'd still like to work a few hours each week tutoring or whatnot.
Having been gone for a month has allowed me the great opportunity to see my house in a new light. I've started sorting through my bookshelves again and I'm setting things aside for a garage sale or donation. No sense in taking my college textbooks with us since i haven't opened them in almost ten years and there's no sense in moving things that I really don't have an attachment to.
My ex sister-in-law gave us some baby blankets and I think I'll keep all but one of them... it's knitted and very pretty, but I just don't like things that are scratchy and have holes in them. And... there's probably someone out there who would be thrilled to have a knitted baby blanket.
Finished reading "Being Peace" and Thich Nhat Hanh says that people who choose to have children should try to find ways of contributing and helping the world. I agree with this. We could have adopted, but DH would really like to have children from his own gene pool... not sure, yet, how to contribute, but in the meantime, I'm definitely recycling more (office paper is a pain to recycle in our town, but I think it's my responsibility to make the effort) and instead of dumping our old paint cans in the garbage can like I know many people do... we'll be taking them down to the hazardous waste department.
It really is a lot of work, but golly, I look at the impact we're having on this world and frankly, I'd like to leave as small of a footprint as possible.
I also finished reading "Good in Bed" since it was recommended by Laura and I can second the recommendation. It may have been hormones, but I cried during the hospital parts. I think most people can relate.

Saving for the future and beyond, Jorge

The IRA shuffle

March 3rd, 2006 at 05:13 pm

Thanks, baselle, for the link to MorningStar's article on TIAA-CREF. I believe that I, too, will be moving my account from there.
My traditional IRA only had $2300 in the account and after looking at Vanguard's web site, an individual needs $3000 minimum for the IRA account rollovers. So... I sent an extra $800 into TIAA-CREF so that I can eventually transfer to Vanguard. Haven't put anything in IRA's for 2005 since I was too lazy to open a Roth, hadn't been interested in contributing to the traditional and had been sending 20% gross income into my 403(b) anyway. My other retirement stuff is with Fidelity. Unfortunately, I've never bothered to try to figure out their fees (wrong move) and tried to find them today online with no luck. Must be looking in the wrong place, eh? I'll end up calling them on Monday to see what fees they actually collect and take it from there as to what I want to do with the money.
We filed our taxes which is a big relief. I was negligent, however, and didn't include my 2005 traditional IRA contribution! Doh! We're getting $1,000 back and I haven't done the calculations to see if it would make a difference, yet. Is it hard to do an amended return? Does anyone know? Is it worth it?
I have three bank accounts and am in the process of closing one of them. Actually, 2 are credit unions, 1's a bank and I'm closing one of the credit union accounts. The bank has the mortgage and the other credit union is very good at trying to provide value to their customers. I'll keep both of them open as I've read so very many horror stories about people who have quit their jobs and find that they are no longer worthy of credit... even if they have lots of money in the bank. Okay, so I don't have lots of money in the bank, less than $200 actually, but I still want to keep my lines of credit and my credit cards open! Wink
DH is taking me out to dinner to celebrate my last days at work. There's a lot to do at the house, though, so I won't be sitting idle!

Till the next time,
Jorge

Friends, retirement and how to do an estate sale right

January 30th, 2006 at 07:22 am

Friday night was spent as a girl's night out and we had a great time. Stayed at a friend's house, brought treats to share, danced some salsa, laughed and met some new people. A reminder that friends are important!
My newfound $$'s aren't ringing in my bank account, yet, but they're definitely ringing in my head. There's a TEFL course in Barcelona for 4 weeks that would get me certified to teach English as a foreign language. I've applied to two schools for their March programs and we'll see what happens! The kicker is that any training I do needs to be before my third trimester since it's not good to travel after that. I checked out programs on the west coast for certifications, but they cost more money, were accredited by the same institutions and took at least a semester to complete. Forget it!
So, on to estate sales. My parent's sale was such a success. The woman they contracted to do the sale was very organized, professional, and knew her stuff. She and her workers took about a week to sort books with books, kitchen stuff with kitchen stuff, and so on. I.e. they made it easy for people to find the stuff that interested them. Once they had beds taken apart in the bedrooms and had everything laid out on either tables they had brought or bookcases they had brought, everything got a number. By numbering things, it helped to figure out what had gone missing or what hadn't sold.
Next came the pricing. I'd definitely suggest getting someone to help you price your things if you don't have a lot of experience in it. They got $175 for some crazy German soup kettle that was a wedding gift that they were originally going to give away. Paintings didn't sell for much, so if you buy artwork, buy it because you like it, not as an investment (in general). The bedroom sets were a big hit and went for almost the same prices they were purchased for. A good tip to make sure you know what things cost before you go to an estate sale!
On the day of the sale, Saturday, people first on the scene were given a number. The sale didn't open until 8 AM no exceptions. 25 people were allowed in at one time and the estate folks had a person in every room to keep an eye on buyers and answer questions. The second day of the sale was 1/2 off of everything and even then, my parents got good prices for things. They ended up selling 95% of their belongings and are now footloose and fancy free to travel down south for some much needed down time.
They've been retired since my mom turned 55, my dad a few years younger, but they never allowed themselve to actually do fun stuff. I think they felt guilty for retiring early and also felt that they needed to keep up the same standard of living - middle class house, middle class neighborhood, etc. It's taken them almost ten years to realize they really don't want all the middle class status symbols. Or maybe they realized it before, but never had the impetus to actually do what they wanted. Either way, I think they're happier.
So, if you're trying to retire, make sure you really enjoy it! And don't tie yourself down with what you think you're "supposed" to do when you're retired. You'll be much happier.