Retirement Planning: What To Do With Your Old 401k

401k | what to do with old 401k | retirement planning

Retirement planning’s a bitch, but it’s also a necessity. Do you have an old 401k sitting around from your previous job? If you’re anything like me (lazy and a procrastinator), you do, and you’ve been wondering if you should cash it in, let it sit, or perhaps do something else.

Don’t be like me!

When I left my last job (over a year ago), I didn’t even know how much was in my 401k. So when I did get around to looking months after starting the new job, I was pretty pleased with the amount. 4 years can actually get you a good amount (not like enough to retire….at all). What wasn’t so cool? That money had been sitting, stagnant, for MONTHS! I missed out on months of retirement savings because I’m lazy. Maybe a few months doesn’t seem like a lot right now, but when I’m old and want to retire and don’t have as much as I’d like, I’ll be thinking back on all the times I could have saved or invested and didn’t.

There are plenty of options when it comes to your old 401k. I decided (remember, I’m lazy) to take the easiest path and move it to an IRA, using the same investment company my 401k was through already. It was an easy transfer. I could have also opened a new IRA or Roth IRA at my local bank and requested that the funds be moved there.

The transfer was quick and painless. And this is coming from a person who’s brain gets all mushy when trying to figure out things like investing and stocks and retirement savings plans.

The next thing on my list? Opening up my 401k at the new job (no judging, the site’s way less intuitive than at my last company and I need my mom’s help!).

**Disclaimer!! I am not a financial expert so obviously if you haven’t done ANY research on retirement stuff and are completely clueless and need help understanding things and deciding what to do, talk to a professional!

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Wanting to be Alone in the Woods

Wanting to be alone in the woods and nature

I just finished reading The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel and I can’t get it out of my head. It’s nonfiction-the true story of a man who lived alone in the woods for over 25 years. This man’s story resonated with me so much more than I thought it would.

I love the outdoors-hiking, bird watching, being alone in nature. But what really connected with me was how Knight, the man in the woods, cut himself off from society and wanted nothing at all to do with anyone else.

I get it. I’m not a recluse and I’m not trying to say that I hate people. But I’m selective with who I socialize with, and I need plenty of time to myself. Having too many social commitments puts me on edge. So as I read, I could easily see myself becoming like Knight. Not a hermit living in a homemade tent, per se. But it’s long been a dream of mine to buy a house in the woods somewhere. To not have to leave the house for work everyday would be amazing.

Then I start to worry if I would become a recluse after all. But deep down I know I need social connection, even if it less than a lot of people want on a regular basis.

I guess what I”m trying to say is that this book spoke to me and made me see this side of myself. I don’t feel so alone knowing that there are others who go way further than me with their distaste for constant noise and chit chat. I do love being around people, I just have shorter limits than a lot of people I know. And this book made me realize that it’s okay for me to feel this way and that I’m not the only person in the world who does.

 

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Honeymoon Brainstorming: Wyoming

Oh snap, we’re getting married! Which means we’re also planning a killer honeymoon! The problem? We want to go everywhere. In an attempt to narrow down the search, I’m introducing a new monthly feature on the blog: Honeymoon Brainstorming. Each month I’ll post one location we are thinking of for our honeymoon, as well as a list of things we could do there and the pros/cons. Check back soon for the next post!

Honeymoon in Wyoming, honeymoon Wyoming

This month we are thinking about having our honeymoon in Wyoming!

Where we could go: Road trip through Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole

What we could do: We are big into hiking so we’d want to do as much as possible! Maybe we’d stay at a romantic lodge. I’ve never kayaked but Jacob loves it so we’d try that if the weather was nice. Also, bird watching (don’t hate, you get to relax in nature and watch the birds!).

Pros: Gorgeous scenery, lots of outdoor fun, fall colors. While researching I also was able to find plenty of hotels that ran from super budget-friendly to splurge-worthy, so we could spend a few nights in a fancy place and then spend the rest in more affordable places.

Cons: We would have to rent a car. Technically I guess we could take one of our own, but we’d get more honeymoon time if we flew in to Wyoming because driving would take 28 hours. Per Google Maps it would be about a 7 hour plane trip from Buffalo. The other possible con is the weather. We’ll be honeymooning in late October and I have no idea when the snow starts to fall in Wyoming. Don’t get me wrong, snow is my favorite thing. But I don’t want to be trapped in the middle of a big national park on a hiking trail when a freak snowstorm hits.

Help us out! Have you been to Wyoming and would you recommend it for a honeymoon? What are your own pros and cons?

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Tips from a New Bike Commuter

The last two weeks have been rough. I started my new job and then promptly came down with the stomach flu. Luckily it was an internal position change so I still had sick days to take. I’m finally feeling a bit better (they don’t lie when they say the flu can linger), and I wanted to give some advice.

bike riding commuting tips

Are you thinking about riding your bike to work daily? You’re in the right place!

Let me start this by saying that before last week, I hadn’t ridden a bike in over 10 years. TEN YEARS. I was terrified I’d fall and die. Or at the very least get some nasty scrapes. But as one wise-cracking friend put it, “Kelly, it will be just like riding a bike.” *head desk* No, really?

(In case you were wondering, it really is just like riding a bike. You don’t even need to start all over with training wheels!)

So, some tips I have for you from my first 2 weeks back on a bike and commuting to and from work!

Don’t wait until you have the perfect gear

I am so guilty of putting things off because I feel like I’m not prepared. In this case, I forced myself to do it because I wasn’t about to pay $75 a month for parking when I live literally less than 2 miles from my office. So my fiance grabbed my middle school bike from the place it’s been sitting in my mom’s basement since, well, probably 9th grade, filled the tires with air, and the bike actually worked. I bought a helmet and a good sturdy u-lock (recommended by countless people on Google), and found my backpack to carry all my crap in. The bike is not good for city riding – it’s bulky and heavy and just a bit too tall for my liking. But it works.

Do give yourself enough time that first day

Google Maps said it would take me approximately 7 minutes to bike from my house to my office. It actually took me 15 minutes that first day. I was so unsure of myself that I was shaking from fear of getting hurt. I had to push with one foot on the ground for what seemed like forever before taking that leap of faith and putting my other foot on its pedal. EVERY time I had to stop at a light or stop sign. I’m getting better, but starting the bike again when I’m at a stop is till a struggle.

Do research your routes (and memorize them) beforehand

Learn from my mistakes, please. I was fine getting to work my first day. That’s a straight shot. But my city is full of one way streets, and bikes have to go the same way as the rest of the traffic. So getting home I needed to take a bunch of side streets I wasn’t super familiar with. Instead I decided to go a few blocks out of my way to a street I knew. Bad idea. In a car, a few blocks out of the way is nothing. On a bike, it can add a lot of distance. That road I so desperately wanted to get to because I knew it was a straight shot home? It was also uphill the whole way. I thought I was going to die. I had to get off and walk the bike at one point and it took me 30 minutes to get home. Apparently I’m not in the great physical shape I thought I was in.

Do check with your city/state’s bike laws

You’ll thank yourself because you won’t get a ticket. I know people who have been ticketed for biking with headphones on (WHY THOUGH WOULD YOU NOT WANT TO HEAR CARS COMING) because per NYS law, you can only have one ear covered/one earbud in. Apparently it’s not the law in NYS to wear a helmet but I don’t understand why anyone riding on a city street wouldn’t want to protect his or her head?? I (sort of) trust myself. But I DO NOT trust other people on the road.

Getting doored is a real fear

The whole time I was riding my first day, I was mostly concerned about cars coming up and hitting me from the side or behind while trying to get around me. But I’m learning that drivers really don’t want to get too close to people on bikes. The real thing to be wary about are people parked on the side of the road who open their doors when you are too close to stop or move out of the way (hopefully not into a car driving by). Lucky for me, I read some blog posts about staying a door’s length away from parked cars just to be safe, and while I’m further in the street, I hopefully won’t be losing any teeth (or worse) from any unsuspecting door openers any time soon.

Are you a bike commuter? I want to hear from you! What are your tips? And if you are thinking of becoming a bike commuter, do you have any questions?

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