2022 Recap: Year End Finances and FI Friends

I have so much to say I'm not sure where to begin! One thing is certain, 2022 was one of the best years I can remember. While it involved lots of adventurous trips, the greatest reason for my satisfaction learning how to change priorities. In years past, I prioritized work and everything else that I thought I should do. I routinely deprioritized my immediate happiness for some future promise. While that paid off for me, I spent many unhappy years just trudging along. Now I am in a position to no longer let the *shoulds* take priority. In 2022 I started prioritizing self-care and choices that enhance my life. I…

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How a 401k Rollover to Vanguard Saved Me $260,000

After quitting my big corporate job, I had an item on my checklist that I wasn't sure how to tackle: rollover my 401k. Honestly, I didn’t care enough for it to make my to-do list. Why people rollover 401ks was lost on me. 7 months after I left the company my 401k was still invested, still growing. I still had access to it, and there were no penalties I’d encounter by leaving it where it was. So what was all the fuss about? Eventually I had enough time on my hands to take a closer look.  After some very basic research that took me about 15 minutes (20 if I…

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Are Index Funds Better than Stocks?

For investing newbies, one question always surfaces: are index funds better than stocks? Index funds have been growing in popularity for several decades. They are low cost, diversified investments that offer steady returns. Because they represent the entire market, there's little management required and acceptable risk. They simply generate returns on your investment. What is an Index Fund? An index fund is a collection of stocks that represent the market. There are many stock markets in the United States, but the big two are the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Nasdaq. Every publicly traded company in the U.S. belongs to a market. In addition to the NYSE and Nasdaq,…

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How to Start Investing in Index Funds

We've all heard the stories of how people invested some money, the stock took off, and now they're mega-rich living the high life. This has happened recently with many cryptocurrency investors. The less glamorous story happens much more often: someone bought a stock that was a "sure thing", invested a lot of money into it, and lost a lot of money. This has also happened recently with many cryptocurrency investors. Instead of looking at investment options that will drive such extreme results, we're going to focus on a more balanced, less risky way to start investing: index funds. Although index funds may not create headline-making returns, they are the primary…

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What’s the Difference Between a 401k and Roth IRA?

Convinced we need to save for retirement, we seek understanding of the many retirement funds available to us. The biggest question out there involves the difference between a 401k and Roth IRA. I'll answer that question in the simplest way. It all comes down to taxes. A 401k contribution is made from your gross income before taxes are taken out. Since you don't pay taxes on a 401k contribution when it's made, you pay taxes when it is withdrawn. Conversely, a Roth IRA contribution is made after taxes are taken out. Since taxes have already been paid, you are not taxed when funds are withdrawn. There are other differences, but…

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