Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cake or Retirement?

Over the past few weeks, Dr. Light's been ribbing me about our retirement. As we'll be filing jointly next year, he's been trying to remind me to get my 401ks in order.

Yes, 401ks.


I have two orphan 401ks out there that I never rolled over after I left those jobs, and while they've been slowly collecting money, they are in separate banks under separate types of investment, and I really didn't have a good handle on my money. In fact, I'd say I have money fear, leading me on a long-time campaign of sticking my fingers in my ears and yelling "La la la" at the top of my lungs.

I know it's ridiculous.

One evening, Dr. Light pulled me aside to show me the retirement profile he'd done online, and basically laid it out for me that I needed to get my butt in gear, since without my contributions doing more than sitting where they were, I was holding us back. He wasn't being mean or rude, just honest about the necessity of where our money was going.

Well, I had the chance today to call the two companies that hold my 401ks, figure out what information I needed, and then open an IRA through my bank - USAA. Despite many frustrations such as having to call three different companies and talk to four different people and STILL not be able to access one account online (I'm looking at you, ING/Morgan Stanley - it's the future, people, get with it!), I think I finally am able to consolidate my funds and help Dr. Light and me enter our marriage with a retirement plan fully intact.

I must stick a little "YAY USAA!" in here because they were so super helpful and informative. I'm really lucky my dad served in the Air Force so I was able to have them as my bank, my car insurer, and pretty much every other money-related holder under the sun.

Even if USAA isn't your bank, I recommend that before you say your "I do's," you and your fiancée look at how your retirement or other funds are going to work together once you're married. Consider this another item on that huge wedding checklist that includes more fun things such as cake tastings. However, you can afford a lot more cake with a good retirement plan.

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