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Author: rosietomato Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308722  
Subject: Re: Should I make 401k contributions? Date: 9/9/2006 12:14 AM
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determinedmom,
You are asking an excellent question and I too am interested in hearing the feedback. DH and I are in your age bracket. I only have $250K in my retirement 403B (and DH has a pension, no 401K though I've convinced him to put $ in a Roth. His pension will net him only $2K per month but goes away on his death). Yes, I make much more than my DH, but don't have any possibility of a pension.

I just was informed today that I got a $500/month raise and plan on sweeping it all into my 403B (and not pay off the family cruise expenses of an earlier post). I used the Fool calulators and if I put $2.2K per month (I'm putting $1.9K right now) and DH puts $350 per month towards retirement we can have a million dollars in 10 years (assuming 8% ROI). This won't get us as flush in money in retirement but we are both passionate people and plan on working part time in early retirement doing the things we love, teaching. And gosh this sounds terrible but we have our fingers crossed that the rest of our retirement will be 'ok' at that level.

I only (hahahahahaha still that is a LOT of money since I have a lot of expenses/needs and that includes $10K for SS college, where we're paying out of state tuition) have $10K in CC debt and 6 years left in my mortgage. My property is worth 5x my mortgage but it is my 'forever home' and we will never sell it so its value is worth nothing in our financial book, and will remain a liability to keep it up. Thus we need to make sure that we have enough to take care of our 'forever house' as well as our medical and regular living.

OK so my answer to you is concern. Concern that you really need to max your retirement accounts NOW because right now or you will be working until the two of you are in your late 70s! And since I don't know what sector you guys are working in, I don't know how long your employers will allow you to actually work at your salary level.

You have children that are rapidly approaching college age. You will have to deal with paying or paying part for college. Right now you have really got a great handle on your budget (horray!). You plan on taking care of your mom when she needs it(horray!). Your CC debt may be able to be covered with your bonuses (yes!!!), but your income bracket makes it much more prudent to sock pay increase money away in your retirement accounts instead of spending it. IMO costing 28% less in federal taxes is better than any CC finance charges, but please someone enlighten me if I'm wrong!

Now realize that is my opinion. Maybe someone on this list can run the numbers to disagree with me, and if so I'm open to new data.

determinedmom, you are a saint in my books. I wish I was as adept as you in budgeting your finances.
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