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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How to Save for the Wedding Dress Deposit

Your wedding budget (like mine) is tight. One of the benefits of a long engagement is having the ability to save up and maybe even make some extra money to put towards it. I decided recently that instead of using the money we already have saved, I’d rather pay my dress deposit with money saved specifically for that purpose.

The salon I plan on going to (and hope to find my dress at since they have all the designers I love) requires a 60% deposit. While I don’t want to spend a shit ton on my dress, I do know that lace dresses can be more pricey. So to be safe, I’m putting away $1800.00 for the deposit, which will be sufficient for a dress $3000.00 or less (I’m definitely shooting for less) (also-I think that math is correct. It wasn’t my strong suit in school).

If you have similar goals and enough time to save before you make your dress purchase (they can take months to come in!), here are some ideas to help you fill that piggy bank:

  • Start doing something on the side that you’re good at. For me, that is house cleaning. I worked for a cleaning company in college and still use the techniques I learned there. I’m just going through word of mouth since I don’t want to become the next victim of an ax murderer, but if you are braver than me and have the services to offer, I say go for it and market like crazy (obviously if you don’t have to go into other peoples’ homes, the ax murderer thing isn’t an issue). Whatever you decide to do, make sure it will actually bring in some money. For house cleaning, the average rate in my area is $25 an hour. If I can do $100-$200 a week (like 2 full houses), that would be a nice chunk of cash.
  • Control those booze purchases. Jacob and I LOVE beer. We normally get a 6-pack or 2 for the week. But those can be anywhere from $10-15 per pack, which adds up over the course of a few months. If you have a similar love for beer (or any type of alcohol really), consider cutting back completely. If completely is a bit much even for a few months, then stick to a budget (say, 1 6-pack a week, 1 bottle of wine a week, etc). We are so guilty of running to the store to try a new beer we saw on Instagram or Untappd, and all those random purchases add up.
  • Save dollar bills and loose change. We’ve been doing this for about 6 months now and you’d be amazed by how much you end up saving. Every time I go grocery shopping or have cash on me, I make a point to empty $1 bills and coins into the jar. Another similar thing that works well for us – say you take out so much cash every week. Instead of planning to just donate your $1 bills and coins, immediately after withdrawing your money take $20.00 and put that into the jar.
  • Eliminate impulse purchases. This goes hand in hand with not buying all the booze. Don’t buy that coffee and muffin. Don’t buy that chocolate bar at the check out counter. Even better, keep note of what you almost bought, and when you get home, donate that amount into your jar.

I’ve been implementing most of these tips with my fiance for a while now, and I’m starting house cleaning this week. I’m hoping to get enough money saved up for my dress deposit soon. My wedding isn’t until October 2018, but I want to go dress shopping!

So tell me: what do you do to save money? Does having a particular goal in mind help? Will you be trying any of my tips?


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