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Great suggestions everyone - that's exactly the kind of responses I was hoping for!

Couple of quick comments -

* Yes, I am contributing enough to my 401(k) for employer match (and then some, but not enough to max out)

* My wife and I do have something of an efund set up, although that could use some beefing up now (we just bought a house so our monthly expenses have gone up due to the mortgage & utilities). But we've been keeping that in a CD ladder, which was probably not the best thing to start when interest rates were rock bottom. I'll need to consider keeping maybe half of an efund in a CD ladder, and the other half more liquid (savings or money-market).

* DeltaOne81's comments made a lot of sense -- and I think that's where I need to think more carefully about what exactly I need / want. I think at a basic level, I'm trying to set myself up for the *option* of early retirement, but I really have no intention to stop working when I 'retire', but I'll likely change my career focus to something that won't pay as well. SEPP is something I'll have to research, because that sounds like the key that will make me feel more comfortable about putting money into IRAs.

One of the things that's influenced my thinking about retirement is a book I read awhile ago (I don't recall the title at the moment), that really discussed how retirement & retirement saving was really overrated -- not that people don't need money for their later years, but that a lot of emphasis is placed on saving money for those years & passing on a fortune to your children, rather than taking advantage of your work while you can still enjoy it. One quote I remember from that book was "your last check should be to the undertaker, and it should bounce!" So that's kind of colored my thinking as well -- I want to have a sufficient portfolio built up so I can have that financial freedom of retirement, but at the same time not focus all of my energy on building up wealth for when I'm 60+, if that means I have to toil away in the dungeon until then!

But like Karen wrote - it doesn't have to be one or the other, you can do both. I can start by maxing out the Roth first, then contribute the rest to a taxable account and "save my raises" build up both accounts. I think that's a very smart approach, and something I hadn't put much thought into!

Good ideas everyone - and I'm still interested in hearing others, if you got some experience or insight to share!
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