Author Topic: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?  (Read 2486 times)

my4fireflies

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Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« on: March 12, 2017, 08:57:08 AM »
Forgive me for not being more on top of things. But now that I am starting to wake up and wade through our financial nightmare, I am realizing that we might be really really screwed. LOL My dh and brother work at the same company. My husband has just trusted the company to put money in his 401K. (Honestly, I still have to learn what a 401K is....and what ROTH means and all those other scary grown up words....). Dh couldn't give me a straight answer so I went to brother. Brother thinks that there is NO matching, but the company puts an unspecified and variable amount at the end of each fiscal year, in the name of "profit sharing". I believe that after 4 years dh has approximately 8K. For RETIREMENT. He is FORTY YEARS OLD. I, on the other hand, have NOTHING. I work part time for the town and they have nothing. I put 10% of my income in something called OBRA. (not to be confused with COBRA insurance, this is basically a non-taxed retirement savings, that may or may not be invested. I think not). So if dh's employer doesn't match, where else should be put our money?

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2017, 09:09:48 AM »
A stache of 8k isn't going to get it done.  You already know that. 

It can be worthwhile to save in 401k without a match because you still get tax benefits.  The key thing is your savings rate.  Are you able to reconfigure your lives to save 50% or more of your take home pay?   That's ultimately the "secret" of those of us who have already retired early.
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HelloLudger

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2017, 09:10:53 AM »
A 401k can be a good place to save even without matching by the employer.

You realize that matching requires saving something that can be matched? It reads like your husband saves 0% in the 401k but gets some money due to profit sharing anyway. If this is the case, having 'saved' 8000 in 4 years is absolutely possible.

You might be screwed (for now) but it sounds like you haven't been screwed by anyone else than yourselves.

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JLee

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Scortius

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2017, 09:17:39 AM »
The really short answer is that you're only 40 and have plenty of time to build for a great retirement IF you decide to make that a priority and do it as a couple.  The decision isn't whether or not you get 401k funds, it's whether or not you decide to set aside a significant part of your income as retirement savings and correspondingly readjust your expenses to match.  That is the conversation you need to have with your husband. If he's on board, the rest will follow.

my4fireflies

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my4fireflies

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2017, 09:33:47 AM »
The really short answer is that you're only 40 and have plenty of time to build for a great retirement IF you decide to make that a priority and do it as a couple.  The decision isn't whether or not you get 401k funds, it's whether or not you decide to set aside a significant part of your income as retirement savings and correspondingly readjust your expenses to match.  That is the conversation you need to have with your husband. If he's on board, the rest will follow.

Dh is on board with whatever I decide financially. Honestly, might not work for everyone, but I just pitch my ideas to him and he's fine with whatever I do as long as it makes good sense.  He doesn't spend anything without consulting me (not even $20 for a co-pay without reminding me of it), and vice versa. My mega-grip has allowed us to pay off 42K in debt in the last 2 years, while still raising 4 children on blue collar wages. I'm happy with my debt reduction progress, but now that that step is taken care of I am feeling a bit overwhelmed about the next chapter. I know how to pay down debt, but I don't know how to live debt free and save yet. Never had a chance til now! LOL!

Retire-Canada

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2017, 09:47:10 AM »
I, on the other hand, have NOTHING. I work part time for the town and they have nothing. I put 10% of my income in something called OBRA.

If you are saving 10% of your income how do you have nothing?

If you haven't already done so it's time to track your spending and figure out where your money is going so you can start to build up your savings rate. For the very short term you can stick any savings into a simple savings account while you come up with an investing plan. You should start working on that today.

Also figure out what your expected Gov't retirement benefits will look like. Since you are starting a bit older they will come into play more than someone retiring early. Depending how much SS you'll get and how low you can get your spending you may not have a huge mountain to climb with your savings for retirement.

Good luck. It's never too late to start and to make a positive impact on what your retirement looks like.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 09:49:22 AM by Retire-Canada »

theolympians

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2017, 09:50:42 AM »
The important thing is to start saving. Begin by putting the max in each pay period. As to what options are available, your husband can learn this from the company and post the 401k's investment options here. Do this yesterday!

Miss Piggy

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2017, 10:34:29 AM »
Your husband would have to let the company know what percentage of his pay to put into the 401k. It sounds like he never did that, so he's been contributing zero. In 2017, he can put up to $18,000 into his 401k from his paychecks...then whatever his company matches or contributes is on top of that.

horsepoor

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2017, 10:50:22 AM »
You are not screwed!

I would suggest posting a case study, and you will get a ton of help. http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/

You'll need to gather all the pertinent info to get the best advice:  Gross and net income, all expenses, taxes (maybe use your W-2s from last year), all debt amounts, interest rates and payments.  What exactly is in your OBRA and your H's 401(k), how much he can pay in.  Anticipated Social Security benefits and any pension your H's employer might provide.  Any mortgage balance, interest rate and remaining time.  Big looming expenses such as needing a new car or helping kids with school.

First thing I would do is have your husband go to his HR department and find out exactly what the terms are for his 401(k).


2Birds1Stone

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2017, 10:50:44 AM »
For a 30+ year retirement you need 25X your annual expenses in these types of investments or at the very least your net worth.

If you don't plan on retiring till you are in your 65+'s then you can get away with less.

Do you have any idea of estimated SS benefit between yourself and husband? That should definitely help, it may be reduced by the time you reach full retirement age, but something will be there.
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ElleFiji

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2017, 10:56:39 AM »
If you save 42k for retirement the next two years, and learn what all the funny letters mean, you will be making huge progress. Just like you did on the debt.

Another Reader

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2017, 11:00:53 AM »
You do not have nothing.  You probably have a pension plan or an alternative plan to which you contribute and the Town may contribute.  Are you in Massachussetts?  If so, look at this.  https://fascore.com/PDF/mass/OBRA_Plan_Highlights.pdf   If not, information about your plan is probably accessible on-line.  Search OBRA and your employer for details.

Do you or your husband contribute to Social Security?  If so, you can look up your information about contributions and expected annuity payments at retirement by creating accounts for you and your husband at ssa.gov. 

In your shoes, I would look at your budget and contribute the maximum to your husband's 401k that you can afford.  Remember, the contributions are pre-tax, so his taxable income is reduced by the amount he contributes.  Contributing to IRA's for both of you is another option.

Get started now!

Heckler

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2017, 12:08:05 PM »
You're only screwed if you do nothing about it today.

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Getting_started

This is a good place to start.

Strick

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2017, 01:25:55 PM »
Not Screwed.  Under normal retirement planning you are in a big bind.  Under MMM retirement planning you'll be retiring at 55, which may be 15 years later than many on this site but still MUCH earlier than most people...

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2017, 01:34:01 PM »
Deep breaths! You're asking the right questions, and that is so vital. You're starting on the path here. You know how you've been killing that debt? Well, the next stage will feel the same- you'll keep tucking money away to improve your financial future. Just this time, it's even better! =) Since you're paying your future selves.

I recommend a case study as well. But also step one is to learn the basics. This is a great place to start: http://jlcollinsnh.com/stock-series/ You want to learn what all those letters mean. They're all just different types of retirement accounts. You can do this! I highly recommend going "full nerd" with this activity- act like you're in a class, take some notes, and draw a chart with the different account types. I put this off for YEARS until I did it and was like, "oh, that's all??" I promise, it's not as scary as the alphabet soup makes it seem.

The next steps: you need to learn the details on your husband's 401k, and your OBRA. How much is in there? How much are you putting in? Are these pre-tax or post-tax accounts? Stuff like that.

And the forums will be here, ready to help you along and point you to resources, as needed! =)
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rubybeth

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2017, 02:29:31 PM »
You do not have nothing.  You probably have a pension plan or an alternative plan to which you contribute and the Town may contribute.  Are you in Massachussetts?  If so, look at this.  https://fascore.com/PDF/mass/OBRA_Plan_Highlights.pdf   If not, information about your plan is probably accessible on-line.  Search OBRA and your employer for details.

Do you or your husband contribute to Social Security?  If so, you can look up your information about contributions and expected annuity payments at retirement by creating accounts for you and your husband at ssa.gov. 

In your shoes, I would look at your budget and contribute the maximum to your husband's 401k that you can afford.  Remember, the contributions are pre-tax, so his taxable income is reduced by the amount he contributes.  Contributing to IRA's for both of you is another option.

Get started now!

I also found a similar site. It looks like OBRA is likely a pension, so that's good. You need to talk to your employer HR department (or payroll dept.) or see if your employer's website explains what this is. Likely there is information out there. Include this information in your case study. :)
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wenchsenior

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2017, 02:41:55 PM »
Not screwed.  When my husband was 40, he was just getting out college and getting his first career track job with benefits. We had negative net worth to the tune of ~150K!  GOOD TIMES, YO.   Then we proceeded to just slowly pay down debt, rather than jumping on debt and retirement with any aggression, for about FIVE MORE years.  Anyway, it's 16 years on and we have a net worth of ~700K now and anticipate it climbing rapidly over the next few years. No real early retirement in the cards, but he could likely quit at 62 (not that he's likely to) and we are on track to have a very secure retirement.

Also, personal financial principles are not that complicated. 1) Pay off high interest debt and don't run up more.  2) Keep a secure emergency fund so you don't run up more debt. 3) Invest an absolute minimum of 10% of every paycheck in a tax advantaged retirement account, and ramp that percentage up as needed for your personal situation.  That covers the absolute essentials. 

A 401k is just a vehicle that serves as a 'basket' of investments (often a mix of stocks and bonds) offered by employers, that allows you to save a bunch of money pretax (lowering your taxable income).  Some employers offer a 'match' of some portion of the money the employee puts in (FREE MONEY).  IRAs are a similar vehicle, that anyone can use (no need for employer to offer), with a lower contribution limit. Roth IRAs are a similar vehicle where you put post tax money, but the gains are then not taxed in the future. 

L.A.S.

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2017, 08:32:54 AM »
You are not screwed.  You still have time, which is the most important ingredient.  You need to get a better understanding of what you have and then figure out what else you can do.  Find out the rules for your husbands 401K, there should be a plan document to read, and get a better understanding of your OBRA plan.  Perhaps you can both set up IRAs, too. 

Don't panic.  But on the other hand don't delay.  Set a goal to be on top of your situation by the end of June, or something.

my4fireflies

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2017, 05:36:56 PM »
I went on the soc sec site. I don't have enough credits to qualify. I have 36 and I need 40. I'm pretty sure my current employment doesn't count? I work for a municipality. Dh is currently 40 and if he keeps his current rate of earning the site said he will get 2400/mo. But if we retire early we won't be able to have nearly that much....on to the next read!

rubybeth

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2017, 05:43:55 PM »
I went on the soc sec site. I don't have enough credits to qualify. I have 36 and I need 40. I'm pretty sure my current employment doesn't count? I work for a municipality. Dh is currently 40 and if he keeps his current rate of earning the site said he will get 2400/mo. But if we retire early we won't be able to have nearly that much....on to the next read!

You may not currently be earning social security credits for your work because of your pension: http://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T051-C000-S001-a-public-pension-and-full-social-security-benefits.html

Normally, you earn work credits based on your income, so unless you're already working full time, perhaps getting a side job for a year or so and earning the minimum to get to 40 credits would be valuable: https://faq.ssa.gov/link/portal/34011/34019/Article/3829/How-do-I-earn-Social-Security-credits-and-how-many-do-I-need-to-qualify-for-benefits
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2Birds1Stone

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #22 on: March 16, 2017, 08:02:04 PM »
OP, when would you be looking to retire?
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my4fireflies

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2017, 08:18:44 AM »
OP, when would you be looking to retire?

I haven't figured that out yet. 15 years would be ideal for dh to retire. He's 40 years old now, I'm 42. I probably won't "retire". I haven't worked outside the home much over the last 19 years. I really dig my current very part time job (15 hours a week) at our town library. I'm just digging out of debt right now. Only 4.3K to go on the last cc, then there's that pesky 20K school loan. I'm thinking of joining the rat race in a few years, after my ASD children are more independent. I have tried to hold full time jobs in the past, but with 2 children with extra needs, it didn't allow me enough time to address their issues (IEP meetings, therapies, surgeries, programs, illness, etc). Employers became frustrated, as did I. Constant stress. I wouldn't mind giving myself a goal, like working for 5 years and banking it all, or something like that. Just not doable in the very near future with my children's extra needs. But I am currently working on connecting them to resources to meet their needs too. I need to focus on that for a bit, secure services for them (like transportation, employment, housing, etc) and then I can really focus on a career.

Rockies

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2017, 09:06:07 AM »
If I were you I'd focus the next year (yes the entire year), on reading and learning about how to invest and save for retirement. The resources people have posted here are a good starting place. Do your best to save a lot, and invest simply in low cost vanguard mutual funds (prioritize tax advantaged accounts as much as possible). You will make small mistakes, but in the end just treat them as learning experiences and don't give up or get discouraged if you arn't doing things 'perfectly'.

Most people on this site go very far beyond what you will need to do to retire at age 65 or 70, so if you try to replicate what people are doing here and don't do great you will at least do as good or better than the average american. The key is that you start saving and investing NOW, and learning as much as possible as soon as possible.

rubybeth

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Re: Can this be correct? and if so we are screwed, right?
« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2017, 09:21:26 AM »
I think 15 years is plenty of time to correct course, pay off those debts, and maybe find employment that will let you save more--either just more work of the type you're doing, a second job, or something close to full time that will let you stash more into lost cost index funds.
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