My Retirement Account: AKA Stuff I Don’t Usually Talk About

I realized that in over a year and a half of blogging, I’ve never really talked about my retirement. So, here are the basic details:

1. My job offers a 403b retirement plan. Whenever I contribute 100 dollars (or any amount above 100 dollars) my employer contributes 17.50.

2. There is no match or bonus for contributing over 100 dollars.

3. I would be foolish NOT to contribute the 100 dollar minimum. In essence, whenever I contribute 100 dollars, I receive an immediate 17.50 Percent rate on my money.

4. So, I reduced my retirement contributions to 100 dollars per month, so that I could get the 17.50 bonus AND so that I would have more money in each pay check to put towards debt reduction and savings.

Now that I am inching closer and closer to my emergency fund goals, I am going to increase my 403b retirement savings DRAMATICALLY.

(For my particular job, there are tax benefits associated with the 403b that actually make it a BETTER investment vehicle for me than a Roth IRA would be. Due to the nature of my job, I will be able to withdraw, tax-free, a portion of my 403b retirement as a housing allowance. So, I not only get to contribute with no taxes on the front end, I can also withdraw (a portion) with no taxes on the back end. I am not a tax expert, but I’ve researched this pretty thoroughly. I would suggest that you NOT listen to my input about taxes, as I might be wrong. But, I think that for me, the 403b will be the way to go.)

So, what has my “paltry” 100 dollars per month done during the last year and a half? Here’s a chart:

And here are the numbers:

Beginning Balance Contributions Change In Market Value Ending Balance
$12,853.61 $2,480.00 $2,931.14 $18,264.75

So, I contributed 2200 dollars, my employer contributed the other 280, and I gained over 2900 dollars in market value. YAY!

I am really excited about the prospect of pouring more and more money into my retirement. Just as soon as I finish my Emergency Fund savings, I’ll be ready to get my retirement REALLY rolling.

By the way, the breakdown of my investments is as follows:
30 percent international fund
40 percent small cap fund
30 percent real estate fund

I’ll be changing these at the end of the month, and will be moving into some less speculative areas.

(My wife contributes 5 percent to a mandatory pension plan, and we are going to increase her retirement savings as well.)