I told you this picture would be back! As you know, I focus on writing about happiness on this blog. In general, I try to focus on three big ideas: financial security/frugality, health, and personal relationships. As you can probably guess from the title, this post is about the first of these. You might recall that I recently wrote an article about how I think it is a good idea to max out a Roth IRA before you turn 30. I also wrote an article back in August where I said that I wanted to max out my IRA by tax day this year (just fyi, the maximum annual contribution is $5500 right now). Well I put the final $500 into my IRA this month, officially maxing it out for the 2013 tax year.
I’m pretty pumped up about this. When I was about 22-23 I told myself that I would have an IRA started by 25. That didn’t happen. I ended up opening one late in 2012 when I was 27. I didn’t put that much into it that year, but I made it a serious goal to contribute the full $5500 in 2013. Here’s the breakdown of how much I contributed each month:
This is you giving money to your future self.
Financial security ranks in my top three for long-term happiness (the other two are personal relationships and health). Simply put, it’s hard to enjoy life if you are constantly worrying about how to make ends meet.
To that end, this post is about an easy way that you can give your future self a small financial security blanket (see what I did there… SECURITY blanket… like stocks and bonds… I know I’m terrible).
There are a million posts on a million blogs about why you should be saving for retirement. And just FYI, they’re all right. You SHOULD be saving for retirement unless you’re already retired (or have a ton of bad debt).
In this post I’ll point out the hypothetical future gains of maxing out a Roth IRA just once before you turn 30. Since the max annual contribution in 2013 is $5500 if you’re under 50, that’s the number I’ll be using today.
I decided to go with a Roth in this example because it makes the gains simpler to wrap your head around. You don’t have to figure out how much it will be post-tax because it’s already post-tax.
The bike fleet at our apartment.
Time for a new post in the challenge series. I’ve been letting you guys off the hook recently on the challenges, and I’ve decided that needs to change.
Just do it. Free and easy.
Just so you know, I don’t just challenge you guys to do things and not do them myself. You can find the original challenge here. Here’s how I fared in the kindness challenge:
Remember writing like this?
This is the second post in the Challenge series. Here’s the first one. The rules are 1) I will only challenge you to do something if I think it will make you happier, and 2) I will never challenge you to do something illegal (so don’t interpret it that way). So here is the challenge: I challenge you to commit a random act of kindness for a random stranger every day this week.
OK, guys. This is the first of many challenges I will issue to you on this blog. Some will be short and sweet, others long and hard (that’s what she said). Here are some ground rules. First, I will only issue a challenge if I think that completing it will make you happier. Second, I will never challenge you to do something illegal (so don’t interpret it that way). That’s pretty much it. Without further ado, here is the first challenge: today I challenge you to high-five a complete stranger.