Tuesday, October 4, 2011
And so it begins: Rescue My IRA
The year of my birth means that the demographers will group me in with the baby boomers. I’m really at the tail end of that group, but my arguments fall on deaf ears.
Now that I have passed fifty also, all the talk about retirement – friends of mine who’ve earned pensions from federal, state or local organizations, especially – is starting to make me concerned. We hear that social security won’t be there, and the date I’m eligible has already been extended once in my lifetime.
I began saving for retirement a long time ago, taking advantage of 401(k) accounts at employers, and when it has been offered, their matching funds. But those balances have never seemed enough either, especially in light of what’s happening in the markets these days.
A few years ago, I thought it would be a good idea to consolidate some of the old 401(k) accounts from past employers into a single IRA. The investment advisor I did this with soon left the firm he was part of, but we had managed to get my assets into one account.
I sought recommendations for another broker to work with, and made a change to a new guy who was working with ETFs and had a strategy. The amount I sent his way was $77,000 or so.
Since then, the market has tanked and our economy has had a tough go of it. I even avoided opening the monthly statements I’d get from my broker, although I did open them a couple of times a year. The news wasn’t good.
Finally, last month I opened my statement. I found that the balance had climbed back from it’s all time low, which was last year, when it hit $44,000. I decided it was time to take some action, and roll this – now $47,000 – over into an IRA with Scottrade.
This blog will capture my efforts to “Rescue My IRA,” as the title says.
By the way, I won’t be providing specifics on dollar amounts from now on. I’ve just offered those to emphasize the sense of urgency I’m feeling, as the need to prepare for retirement begins to occupy more and more of my thinking.