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Decisions about BS4

DCLissa17

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This is probably not the right time to think about this, but I'm pondering whether to change my approach to retirement savings. This last year I started contributing to a 401K through the clinic I work at. When I did, I moved from fully funding my Roth IRA to putting 15% of clinic income into the 401K and 15% of business income into the Roth IRA. At times, this total combined was more than the Roth limit, but now that I have lower income, it is less. I like the concept of 15% across all income, but I hate not fully funding the Roth.

 

I am thinking about switching in 2016 to minimizing or eliminating the 401K at least at first, and instead putting a standard $500/mo into my RothIRA. This has it fully funded as of the end of November and leaves the $500 for Christmas spending next year. $5500 is 15% of $36,667 gross income, which I should hit. I would track cumulative gross income and then as it goes over the $36,6667 amount, put the additional 15% into the 401K. It might leave me stretching a bit during leaner months, but at least I'd have a set base BS4 amount, and preplanned Christmas savings.

 

I need to run budget numbers to see exactly how this affects the monthly, but I think it's doable. What do you guys think?



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Does the clinic offer any matching to the 401-K?  If so, how much?  I would always want to take advantage of matching funds before funding a Roth.

 

Other thoughts, I think you're right to put more focus towards the Roth at your lower income level.  Contributions to the 401-K are a tax deduction, but if you're not paying much in federal taxes anyways this may not be helping you much.

 

Final thought, see if you qualify for the Saver's Credit.  See if contributing to the 401-K increases the amount of Saver's Credit you can claim.  Despite not deducting much for the 401-K, if you get the Saver's Credit it might be worth putting more towards the 401-K than you are proposing.

 

The only way to be sure is to run the numbers.  I'd suggest using a free online tax program and running the numbers a few different ways to see how things turn out.

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401k to match, then fully fund Roth, then any extra back to the 401k, is the way I'd go.  Ideally, aim to get your income way up so that you can take full advantage of both!  I think DR may be off in recommending only 15% to retirement -- of course, depending upon personal goals -- I want early retirement or the option to work very little past age 50, so in our case 30% or more to retirement is the goal.  I think the 15% number is if you are able to work until full retirement age!

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I agree with Carrie about the 15% number being a good place to start, but maybe not enough for some individual goals. 

 

However, it is WAY more than we were investing before, so I'm very thankful to have had 15% as a target to shoot for when first starting all this "control our finances" thing :)

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Yes indeed, I would LOVE TO be contributing over 15% and defintely plan to do so once I get the income up and at least the rental with mortgage paid off or sold.

 

There is a match for the 401K but really small... $0.25 on the dollar for the first 3% of gross that I contribute. So 0.75%...ugh. not sure if it's even worth bothering, though I can just set it at 3% to get the match though this match would be about $9/mo (me contributing $36/mo) on an average clinic month since I'm so part time now. Course it would vary as sometimes I pick up more hours, but you get the idea. Should I just leave it alone with 3% or redirect that $36 towards the Roth? I might and can change it up easily online depending on my overall income for the month too.

 

I think I'm leaning towards fully funding the IRA on the set schedule. I much prefer budgeting with real dollar numbers rather than percentages. Even if that means it pushes me to get my butt in gear a bit more, hah!!

 

Thanks everyone, will go run numbers and ee how that changes the budget....

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Ok, yeah, with that small a match it probably isn't worth it right now.

 

You may want to check into doing an individual 401k for your self employment, maybe not right now, but eventually.

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You should still put in the 3% to get the match, come on!  It's a completely free and easy $9 a month!

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And, how much effort would you put into using a $9 coupon?  This is less than that much effort.

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