A: It’s my favorite candy bar.
B: Doesn’t it sound flashier and more exciting than trying to save $10k?
C: I’m not sure if “100 large” means $100,000 or $1,000,000 and that extra zero is important.
D: It’ll be fun.
I love New Year’s. It’s my second favorite holiday after Thanksgiving. I don’t care about the fanfare, the drinking, or even the kiss at the stroke of midnight. (Okay, I DO care about the kiss. But since I get to kiss Mr. Foxypants any time I want, the kiss on New Year’s is no better than a kiss on Lincoln’s Birthday or Administrative Professionals’ Day. But I digress). My very favorite aspect of New Year’s is the “do-over.” Did I get fat this year? Watch too much television? Keep an untidy house? Well, on New Year’s it doesn’t matter what I did LAST year. I get to wipe the slate clean and start all fresh and new. I have 365 days to do brilliant things with my life, achieve all sorts of ridiculously difficult goals…like putting $100,000 into a savings account for retirement.
I’ve been thinking and talking about this idea for a few months now and the general consensus appears to be: I’m nuts. But you know, all my best ideas involving self-improvement are harebrained ones. Here are some greatest hits:
•November 1, 2001–I resolve to “Get rid of 10 things a day.” My once messy, now tidy house thanks me.
•New Year’s Resolution 2002–aka “Meet you there!” In an effort to stop being such a depressed shut-in after the breakup of a long term relationship I decide that my answer to ANY invitation, regardless of how stupid, will be “Meet you there.” Amazing hijinks ensue.
•January 7, 2006–I join The Compact and agree to “not buy anything new for one calendar year.” Two years later, I’m still a member.
•Last year, I decided to find out if nice guys really do finish last by resolving to commit a selfless act of kindness every day for the entire year. Toward the end of the year I realized that my attempts at true altruism had not only resulted in
1. me (via charitable giving) being able to downsize my material possessions by 85% with no feelings of deprivation or guilt
2. an influx of incredible people into my circle of friends
3. me earning $99,905, which was much more than I anticipated making.
Unlike everyone else I know, 2007 was a great year for me financially. But watching others crash and burn around me as the market fell apart forced me to take a hard look at my money, which is something I’ve avoided doing, because I’m that immature.
I have no money saved for retirement.
(Well, that’s not 100% true. I have IRAs that hold the meager contents of my former 401k plans, and a few funds that were eviscerated in October. But really, if I add up everything and add 4% interest for the next 20 years, I’m looking at retirement savings of about a quarter of a million dollars. Which wouldn’t be all the terrible, except for the fact that people in my family generally live to see 100).
So this year, 2009, I resolve to put $100,000 into savings. Did I mention that I made $99,905 before taxes in 2008? Okay. I thought so. But $100,000 really isn’t that much, right? That’s only $8333.33 per month or $273.97 per day.
It’s the first of the year and a holiday, so my fund manager isn’t around to open up a new retirement account for me. Which is annoying, because I really want to start a savings account TODAY as my New Year’s resolution, not as my January 2, 2009 resolution. This might come as a surprise, but I’m kind of a tweaker about symbolism and crap like that. Luckily for me, while poking around on the Vanguard website, I come across an IRA that I thought I’d rolled into something else in 2004. So, I don’t have to open an account. I can just use this old one until I max out the contribution at $5000. Hooray for lousy bookkeeping!
There’s a little money still in the account that has been accruing interest for the last four years. At the close of yesterday, the balance of the account was $273.97.