So the cat is almost 100 percent out of the bag, and that means it’s time that the Internet can… hear the cat, too? Continue reading
I can feel it in the salty sweat on my skin …Summer is coming.
Oh, blessed summer! How I love you for your sun, your care-free attitude, and your insistence that I spend all my time in flip flops. I love you for your heat, which rejuvenates me. You make me feel alive, and happy, and deserving of nothing more than treating my body and my spirit right.
Let’s treat ourselves right. Let’s make broccoli… Continue reading
|trying to find a recipe to use up my black beans (I ended up making the Mexican Chopped Salad)|
|my Evernote daily meal planner|
|prepping overnight oats for breakfast all week|
|Prepped and stored!|
If I have to pick out an outfit in the early hours of the morning, you can bet I’m going with the least common denominator – the black work pants and the top that never wrinkles. Maybe a nice pair of earrings to make it look like I tried. And flats.
Prepping this stuff on Sunday and giving myself time to iron means I’ll get a little more creative and wear my non-go-to clothes, too. So! …First I lay out my outfits and iron them, if needed.
…then hang them up in the order I’ll wear them. Voila!
I hope you have an easy week this week!
Chicago’s answer to the Texas bluebonnet
A visit to Evanston, IL: The upper 50s temperatures had me breaking out my leather jacket, but the Northwestern undergrads were using the occasion to break out their shorts and tank tops. Isn’t relativity amazing?
Banana maple pancakes. Woof.
“Spicy Zzolmen” at Oiistar – very much like bibimbap
The most amazing dish: portobello mushroom pan fried in reduced soy sauce – definitely on my list of dishes to recreate. Mmm!
my cute boyfriend
easy, pleasing place setting
evening jog through the hood
In an effort to use the ingredients in my fridge before I grocery shop, I whipped up a soba noodle dish with seaweed, cashews, Korean spices and fried egg. It was delish!
Daddy bought me champagne flutes!
pancakes this morning
Perry was tickled that I approved so heartily of this tattoo he got on his 70th birthday.
wedding, string lights
Have a great week!
flea market by night
More bike riding! Pretty streets.
morning crumble prep
It’s strawberry season in Texas. Fresh from the farmer’s market!
wax, neon, protein
Ira Glass just really picked me up. (Isn’t he the best?) Because while I’m trying not to be embarrassed about what I’m about to admit, I am.
…Okay fine, I’ll just say it… Sometimes I get really anxious that I’ll never achieve anything creatively worthwhile.
It’s embarrassing to admit this because 1) it acknowledges the total lack of effort and quality of product I’ve put forth thus far and 2) this sentiment puts creativity on a pedestal, somewhere I actually don’t necessarily think it should be.
Creativity is great and all, but I know plenty of people who thrive when the world is at its most orderly and scientific, and I respect that completely. But lately (as I’ll write about at length later) I’ve had an insatiable urge to write, and I’ve realized that when I’m doing this – writing, working with images, even coding – I’m totally in my flow. And there’s something to that – gaining this satisfaction that can be gotten from nowhere else.
So anyway. When I watched this video, Ira Glass just picked me up. He’s been bad at his craft, too. He’s been in that state in which his work just didn’t live up to his product, and that’s reassuring to hear. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes just doing it.
Here’s to practice.
Enjoy GoT tonight, and have a great week!
Hey everyone! As you know, I’ve been contributing monthly to The Rich Life. I want to share that with you, so here’s today’s post!
We’re finally here – the long term. Remember back in December when I talked about the magic of compound interest, and how it would give us the ability to live the rich life, if only we would hurry up and get to investing? I hope you were picturing yourself, because you’re here, and that time is now.
Most people think of today’s topic – where to put your long-term savings – as the crux of personal finance. And in many ways it is: You’ll certainly have a harder time getting to your worry-free golden years without a 401(k). But you can only do this if you do it right, by first living below your means (something I’ve struggled with), saving cash for an emergency (something I’m still doing), and thinking through your needs.
Got it? Scout’s honor? Okay, then let’s get to it…
When investing for the long term, there are three rules:
Rule #1: Don’t invest money you’d like to see any time soon. By “soon” I mean 5 years minimum, but ideally 10, 20, 30, or 40 years down the road, depending on how old you are. You’re investing for the long term, and you’ll be penalized if you withdraw this money early. If you need cash in the short-term, stick it somewhere else.
Rule #2:Don’t turn down free money (read: employer match). Your employer matches the first six percent of your salary? Then I expect you to be stowing at least six percent of your salary in that plan.
Rule #3: Max out tax-favored accounts before investing in taxed accounts. Long-term savings can be stowed in a tax-favored account, like an IRA or 401(k), or in a brokerage account, which is subject to taxes. Needless to say, take advantage of the tax breaks the government offers in the first two types of accounts before moving onto the third.
There are a few typical places for your long-term savings: namely, a 401(k) or IRA, each coming in both a “Roth” and “traditional” version.
A traditional 401(k) is a retirement account offered only through employers. This is a type of investment account in which you, as the investor, elect to contribute a portion of your paycheck to the account, which (at your discretion) is then invested – either by you or a brokerage firm.* A major perk of 401(k)s is that many employers match all or part of their employees’ contributions. This is free money and it is not to be turned down!
There are two special tax advantages to the traditional 401(k): First, your contributions are made pre-tax, meaning any money you put into the account is deducted from your paycheck before your income is taxed, saving you immediate dough. Second, money within this account can grow tax-free (meaning you can buy and sell stocks to your heart’s content without paying any capital gains tax) until you withdraw it without penalty at age 59 ½. At that point, you would pay income taxes on the distributions you receive as if they were ordinary income. The government sets limits on how much you can contribute to your 401(k), and in 2013 this limit was $17,500.
A less common Roth 401(k) is similar to a traditional 401(k), but the tax incentives are switched. Under a Roth 401(k), rather than using pre-tax money to fund your account, you put in post-tax funds (meaning you had to pay taxes on that income). However, at retirement you’re free to take your distributions tax-free.
Choosing whether to go with a traditional or Roth 401(k) depends on your view of your income tax rate now versus when you plan to withdraw the funds. If you believe your income tax rate will increase as you get older – due either to a bump in your income bracket or legislators raising tax rates – then a Roth is the way to go. If you want to save the tax impact now and believe your tax rate will stay stable or decrease in the future, then a traditional is right for you.
If you don’t have an employer who provides you a 401(k) (or even if you do – you can and should get both types of accounts if possible), you can open an Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, which can be opened through any ordinary brokerage account. I opened one for myself my senior year of college through Charles Schwab.
The IRA – both traditional and Roth – functions exactly like a 401(k), with a few key differences. The tax incentives of an IRA mirror that of a 401(k) – the traditional saving you money now and the Roth saving you money later. Unlike a 401(k), however, anyone with income can contribute to this type of account, making it the most accessible retirement account. Unfortunately, the contribution limit is just $5,500 per year – much lower than the 401(k)’s $17,500 limit. Finally, the Roth IRA is actually restricted based on income – those making over $129k cannot contribute to a Roth IRA.
Finally – and only after you’ve maxed out both of these accounts – you can put as much money as you please into your own brokerage account to invest how you want. Gains on these accounts are subject to hefty capital gains taxes, so only do this as a last option.
*For example, my 401(k) funds are invested under a Fidelity plan I’ve elected out of a few different options based on my risk tolerance. Since I’m young (and have many years ahead of me to recoup losses in the market), I have a high risk tolerance: The plan I elected invests mostly in stocks, rather than “safer” assets like bonds, CDs, etc. Alternatively, I could have elected to manage my savings myself, in which case I would make all the decisions about exactly which stocks to buy, sell, etc. on my own. We’ll get more into investing later.
When Michael and I started dating he introduced me to skiing. After four trips over the last three years I’m finally on blues!
lunch break = frickles
the summit – which I did not ski down
giant glass o’ wine + beach
A baggage snafu meant I only brought a purse to Honduras – no worries, though: I had the essentials in my bag (read: passport and swimsuit) and bought this dress by the side of the road.