Retirement

If you’ve ever switched jobs and contributed to a 401k plan, chances are you just the old plan at the old company. Unless of course it was under $5,000 and they told to take it with you!

I have 2 such 401k’s that are currently orphaned. If both the companies went bankrupt, I’d have to jump to a lot of hoops to get my money back. It wouldn’t be impossible, but it would be an unnecessary  hassle and waste of time. Better to liquidate the positions and transfer the cash in to what’s known as a roll-over IRA. Or if you’re not planning to work in the year of the transfer, you might opt to convert it into a ROTH IRA because you’d be in a lower tax bracket and wouldn’t much taxes on the conversion.

The difference between a regular IRA and a ROTH is that in the first one you pay no tax now, but pay taxes on withdrawals in retirement. In the ROTH, you pay tax now, but you withdraw your money later totally tax-free. Of course, there are income limitations governing whether you can participate in a ROTH so check with your tax person.

Currently TDAmeritrade is offering $500 if you transfer the assets of your old 401k into a roll-over IRA. That’s a pretty good incentive to money my retirement money out of their existing home. I think the offer code is 164, but you should double check for yourself. I wonder if they’d pay me the $500 twice, since I’ll be transferring two accounts?

Tomorrow is the last day at my job. I gave my notice 2 weeks ago.

No, I don’t have another job lined up.

No, I didn’t win the lottery.

No, I don’t have a back-up plan or any idea what I’m going to do next.

So why am I quitting? 

Because I don’t feel 100% committed. Not being fully committed isn’t fair to the company and it isn’t fair to me. Life is too short to be working at a job that you don’t love and aren’t willing to commit 110% too.

Besides, working for someone else will rarely make you rich. One of the reasons is that you get paid for the number of hours you put in. Having a finite number of hours is your limiting factor here. As an employee, you also pay the highest amount of tax since you have almost no tax deductions unlike business owners and the self-employed.

So I think the best option is to quit the job and refocus my long term goals and strategies. The best way to do this is when you’re totally relaxed and in a good mood. So in early December I’m going to Thailand and India for about 5 weeks.

Once I get back, I should be in a more clearer frame of mind to plan the next stage of my working career. I’m very keen on getting an MBA. It may not be the smartest decision financially, but its one of the things I’d definitely regret not pursuing.

Not having a job will free up my time to pursue other ventures. Like investing and writing about investing. And like MoominHouse, I may even take up trading as a side hobby.

My only concern is that either boredom or insecurity (about not having a steady paycheck) will set in and I’ll go back and get a job again!

In the meanwhile, I expect to make approximately $1,200/month from advertising revenue, trust deeds and dividends. While its not a lot, the wife’s income will supplant the short-fall. But it looks like I’ll be going from a job to literally “living off dividends!”.

Wish me luck!

I have a 401k from a previous employer. With only a dozen mutual funds to choose from, it doesn’t have very many investment choices. I’ve done the best I can from these choices and have selected 8 of them, with 75% of my 401k invested in just 3 funds. And I’ve managed to eke out a very respectable 17.4% for the first 3 quarters of the year.

On the flip side, my 401k with my current employer has about 3 dozen options. However, there’s less diversification amongst them than with the previous employer! It lacks a REIT fund (not that I’d invest in it, since I’m heavily invested in Real estate on my own), a health care fund, and a technology fund.

Instead, some moron set it up with 4 bond funds, 2 small-cap broad market funds, 2 small-mid cap value funds, 2 small-mid cap blend funds, 4 mid-large cap equity funds, 4 mid-large cap value funds, 3 international funds, and so on.

So despite the wide selection of funds, they’re less diverse than the 401k with only 12 options. Instead of choosing the fund with the least management fees, the lazy (or maybe inept?) administrator just included 3 or 4 similar funds so the participant can make his own decisions.

And despite having so many options, I only managed to make 14.05% in the current 401k for the same time period, which is basically a reflection of the broad market indices minus the management fees.

Sometimes fewer, more well-thought out options are better!

I’ve been wanting to send in the paperwork for the Everbank Marketsafe Japanese REIT CD for nearly a month. Since I used my Coporation’s 401k and Profit Sharing Plan (PSP) to invest, I had to open a business account and fill out extra Trustee paperwork, in addition to supplying a copy of the original 200 page 401k & PSP documentation.

Anyway, I got it all filled out and signed by the co-Trustee (my wife) and fedexed it to Everbank. April 17th is the last date to get in on this investment.

If you think the Yen is going to appreciate against the dollar and Japanese Real Estate is going to appreciate, its worth a gamble. This CD is FDIC insured and has no downside risk! You can read more
about it at Wealth Building Lessons.

Since I’m investing through my PSP, I don’t need to worry about taxes. If you want you can invest in a ROTH IRA at Everbank too!

Everbank has a lot of unique products like its principle-protected Gold CDs. Also its President, Chuck Butler is available by phone/email to answer your economy or investment related questions. When was the last time the president of Bank of America answered one of your emails?