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Shocking news, truly

January 2nd, 2010 at 03:22 pm

I have a cousin, Donna, whom I've never met. Donna is the daughter of my mother's formerly long lost sibling. Some years ago I found this sibling of my mother's and helped get the two of them together for the first time in over 50 years. Mom and her sibling have grown close over the years and as time, money, and health allow, visit one another.

As I said, I've never met Donna but my mother has met her, her husband Will, and their children. Apparently they're very nice people and due to diligence, hard work, and perhaps some luck (or maybe just great decisions), Donna and her husband did well for themselves. Very well - like to the tune of more than 50 million well. They lived a really nice, luxurious life, I think.

I found out today they've lost their homes, business, and just about everything else and Will is trying to find a job. When I asked my mother what happened, all she said was that he had a lot of money tied up in the stock market and "Apparently they made some bad investments."

Bad investments? Wow! What a shock this is to me. It doesn't affect my day to day life but it does affect my mother's sibling's day to day life and for that I'm profoundly sorry. I can't imagine the changes they're all going through and how hard this has to be for their family and I hope for only the best for them.

However, it really makes me not want to run right out there and invest. In fact, it makes me want to run screaming, "Fire! Fire!" in the opposite direction!

How do you deal with the kind of fear and uncertainty of something like this? I don't have a lot to invest but we're too old to lose our butts in the stock market or in any other investment.

Is there a way to invest with some certainty or security, even a little bit, or is that simply impossible in this world? Cash might be king but a house full of it won't help if the proverbial **** hits the fan, you know?

What's a girl to do?

Today's spending - too much! I bought lunch and drinks at work and spent $8.62. Bad Denise, bad! I only work five hours tomorrow but I'm taking food and drink with me.

Pooh, no Roth for us!

December 14th, 2009 at 03:06 pm

Because we file separately we can't do the Roth thing. We were geared up to get that going when we found out. So, now we're looking at Traditional IRAs and SEP IRAs. I'm sure we'll come up with a good alternative but it's a little disappointing. Don't ask me why because I can't say why...I guess I just was all prepared to open the Roth.

Oh well, flexibility is key in investing, I'm sure.

On a slightly, and I do mean slightly, more positive note the man person wanted to go out to eat tonight. I told him I was going to make chicken, dressing, and some sides and it wouldn't take long and he decided he'd rather do that than eat out. It took less than 15 minutes from start to finish and it was a lot cheaper than a trip out to eat would have been. Yaaay for choosing to eat at home and double yaaay for using up the last of the leftover chicken! And there's enough left for lunch for both of us tomorrow. Wink

Tightening the belt

December 3rd, 2009 at 07:30 pm

should enable us to contribute $1,000 to $1,500 a month to savings/investments, presuming we don't opt for life insurance on me at this point. Now we just have to figure out the specifics. We're thinking perhaps a Roth IRA for each of us, with his being $6,000 a year and mine being $5,000 but that still leaves some money to invest.

In addition, we'll have another $10,000 to $15,000 to invest annually, either in a lump sum or some other fashion. I haven't a clue what to do with that but it seems to me that investing $22,000 to $30,000 a year should help us catch up, right?

If you have thoughts on venues other than a Roth or 401(k) please do share! We're actively researching and considering our options.

It might as well be a 578(h) account!

December 2nd, 2009 at 03:36 pm

The Primerica rep we met with recently is coming back tonight and is bringing his manager along.

No, we aren't looking at joining Primerica's MLM force and more than likely won't partner up with them in investments but it can't hurt to pick their brains, I think.

I found the paperwork for the 401(k) through my employer and logged into the website trying to understand just what's being done with my 500 some odd dollar balance. For all that I've read about 401(k) accounts, it might as well be a 578(h) account for the good it does me. Oh, I understand its a shell for investments but I don't understand just what those investments are. Here's some of what the website shows me:

Your Current Asset Allocation
This graph shows you have 51% in Lifecycle/Pre-Mix, and 49% in Company Stock.

Well, that's just hunky dory but what is Lifecycle/Pre-Mix?? Apparently, 51% of the money is in LifePath 2025 Index (yeah, like I know what that is) and the other 49% is in company stock. I googled "Lifepath 2025 Index" and its apparently a fund (mutual fund??) of mixed investments designed for risk reduction as retirement age gets nearer.

The financial engine says that to reduce risk I need to increase the percentage of non-company stock and decrease the company stock amount to 20%. Alrighty, let me just hop on that! They're talking to someone who is just about clueless on this stuff but I'm trying to learn. I know that the LifePath 2025 index is managed by Barclays Global Investors and is a passive fund. Quite a bit of what I've read about them says they're inferior and not recommended but I found a lot of biggies who use the LifePath funds. Perhaps I'd be better off doing something else through Vanguard or another entity but with my lack of knowledge that's very scary to consider.

Grrr, I think I need to talk to the HR person at work. Maybe he can help me make heads and tails of this. If not, he probably knows who can, right? Right???

What if I have money I want to add to this 401(k)? Can I do that? So many questions, so little time! But maybe I can pick the brains of the Primerica guys tonight and see what our Financial Needs Analysis turns up, eh?

Input appreciated, as always. Smile