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Archive for April, 2009

Don't Tempt Me

April 27th, 2009 at 09:12 pm

I spent about an hour and a half last Friday morning dealing with my 401k. When I left my former employer several years ago I just left my 401k sitting there. About three years ago I decided that I really should roll my 401k over to an IRA and ordered the paper work to do so. I couldn't figure out how to allocate my investments, and I got busy and didn't follow through.

Now my procrastination is catching up with me. My former company was sold to another company, and the 401ks are getting moved to a different 401k plan administrator at the end of May. I have just a few short weeks to act, or face another layer of complication.

It turned out to be a relatively simple process to set up an IRA with an investment company (Mr H and I already have a mutual fund with them). I can put the assets of the 401k into a money market account while I figure out how to allocate them. (Note to self: don't procrastinate on asset allocation.) But there was a little wrinkle in my smooth rollover process. Before my 401k was a 401k it was some other type of savings plan which took post-tax dollars. So I had both post-tax dollars and pre-tax dollars in my account. If I put the post-tax dollars into my IRA I would have to fill out some tax form every year forever (or, I suppose, until those dollars were no longer in my account). I like simple. I do not want to do additional tax forms. I opted to have them send me those dollars as a check. (Note to self: Don't sit on the check.) Because they are post tax dollars there are no tax consequences for me.

While I was on the phone with the 401k person, after I told them to send me a check, they suggested all kinds of things I could do with the money including buying a new car. I ignored the suggestions, but that afternoon as I was accelerating down a long on ramp to get on the freeway I noticed that my car was decelerating. I had just enough time to pull over onto the shoulder of the on-ramp before all the lights came on on my dash and my car died completely.

As I sat in my car on the side of the road for over an hour waiting for the tow truck, I felt tempted by newer cars. But at this point I'm not going to give in. My current plan is to see if I can get my car to last until Daisy's high school graduation, then get a Vespa or something similar. My car is 16 years old, and Daisy has another 9 years before graduation. We'll see how this plays out.

Reflections on a year of blogging

April 18th, 2009 at 08:50 pm

Well, my blogoversary has passed without much fanfare. I don't post much and I guess I'm kind of a lazy blogger. But even the little I've done in the past year has brought some positive changes in my life.

* While Mr H and I are unlikely to ever be on the same page, we have more productive discussions. I initiate most conversations, but every now and again he'll bring up something related to our financial life. It's progress.

* I've learned that to engage Mr H in almost anything involves stages. First he ignores what I'm saying, then I provoke him**, then he reacts, then I gently tell him that he's reacting and suggest that we look at different options to solve the problem. Then he'll come through. Kind of. It's kind of dysfunctional, but it works better than him ignoring the situation and me finally just solving the problem on my own. (That has been the dynamic for most of our marriage.) Not all of our discussions are this way, but bringing up anything new is.

* We have a budget that balances for Checkbook One. It took several months to get there. It didn't balance, really, for about five years.

* We have a grocery/food budget that balances. We have never spent that little on food. We're eating well. I actually don't mind this part. It's fun to get creative with food, and I have done it for many years. I'm just way more conscious now, trying to use leftovers before they spoil and figure out how to have great dinners with lower cost foods.

* We have an emergency fund, that is designated as an emergency fund. I feel a lot less anxious.

* We have a plan for increasing retirement savings.


Everyone here has been so kind and helpful. I have been so grateful for the support. Thank you all so much!


** Believe me, I really don't want to provoke him. However it seems to be the only way I can get him to engage.