Getting my house in order...

Hello all.

Man, today is CRAWLING by. Fridays are usually pretty quiet around here, but this is just ridiculous. Wow. I've been doing some work, but all of my assignments start next week and are of the general news nature (ie, Planning Commission) and a feature I'm working on tomorrow.

So this leaves me with time to idle around on the computer.

I've been thinking a lot today about personal finance. I know its not the most exciting of topics, but I've been reading a lot of blogs by people who are around my age and sort of in a similar place in life. I'm learning things gradually and am trying to educate myself about investing and retirement. As Case and I start to step
into consolidating our finances and incomes, we're starting to talk about goals that we both have and we what we need to do to achieve those. So, in typical "Type-A" fashion, I'm going to make a list.


- OPEN AN IRA: I've been doing some research about which of these would be right for me. My company offers one, but they don't start matching contributions til I've been here a couple of years, and I'm not sure I want to deal with the rollover thing. Does anyone reading this have an IRA? Any thoughts on Traditional vs. Roth? I'm leaning towards the Roth - tax free withdrawals sound great - but need some advice.

- MAX IT OUT: My goal is to max out that IRA annually and make the $5,000 contribution. So, by this time next year, I'd like to have 5k in that portfolio. Big step! That means I'm going to have to sock away $381 a month, in addition to a little that I already have in my TD Ameritrade account. If Case and I can max out the IRA every year, we could have over $40,000 saved up by the time we're 30. Yippee!

- INCREASE NET WORTH: I did a net worth calculation yesterday, and let's just say it was a little...well...depressing. Haha. With car payments and the credit card debt I have, it definitely left something to be desired. I think that by saving and eventually, investing aggressively, this will become less and less of a problem.

- MAINTAIN MY EMERGENCY FUND: I am such a huge fan of this. I had heard financial people like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman talk about the importance of this, but never really thought about it in my own life. I had a small fund stashed away, and after the sudden death of my grandmother this spring, had just enough to fly home the next day to be there for her funeral. It meant the WORLD to me to be there, but I never would have been able to do it had I not set some aside for stuff like that. That's what money is really for - to be able to do the things that matter. I'm going to try my best to keep it aside ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES (note to self: a sale at Sephora does NOT count as an emergency) and consist of at least $1,000.

- PAY OFF MY CREDIT CARD: The sooner this happens, the better. I'm on my way. :)

- CONSISTENTLY TITHE: Saved the most important for last. I'm so blessed to have grown up in a home where the importance of tithing was stressed. My parents are amazing believers and their faith left an impression on me - if you give to the Lord first, faithfully and joyfully, all your needs will be met. So definitely going to strive to keep that up.

So there are a few goals. It's definitely going to take some willpower on my part (I find it hard to pass up on a good deal and accessories are my downfall) but I think the Lord is showing me that I can glorify him by keeping money in perspective and living within my means.

Sorry this post was kind of lame and self centered. I'm kind of hoping that by posting this for all internet posterity, it'll be like me keeping myself accountable. We'll see...