Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A new goal for 2014: Side Hustling My Way to Retirement

I'm in a little bit of a panic about retirement. I'm way behind where I should be at 35! If I had a guarantee of a steady income for a while to come, I could relax. But I don't; I have a guarantee of two more years, at a rate of pay significantly below my rate this year. And I'm actually looking at a lifestyle crunch, because while my student loans will be paid off, that's all I did this year: pay my loans and live. I only managed to save a couple thousand on top of that. So it's a damn good thing my cost of living is going to drop in Indiana, because my pay will be dropping and I need to get really really serious about this retirement thing.

I'm starting a 401(k) at my new job in July, and I'm going to have $1000 a month held out of a (gross) $4000 paycheck, which is, I know, a lot, but seems necessary because I'm playing so much catch-up. I'm not sure exactly what my take-home will be like, but I'm guessing it'll be around $2000, once the 401(k), taxes, health insurance, etc, are removed. I'll have monthly fixed expenses (rent, utilities, phone, car insurance, grocery budget) of $650. That leaves a lot of discretionary income to save for travel, future housing costs (down payment fund), medical expenses, gas/car stuff, clothing, and just plain fun...except that if I'm going to fully fund a Roth IRA for 2014, I'd need to keep back $900, which would leave me with only $450 for all those savings goals plus slush/fun money. Not a lot.

Conclusion: I need more income, and that income needs to not disappear into the black hole of the slush fund. It needs to go directly into a savings account that I use to buy Roth shares whenever it hits a certain amount, say, $250.

So, here's a goal for the remaining 7 months in 2014: $5500 in extra income, all of which will be directly routed to the brand-new savings account I just set up, no excuses, no exceptions!

Other income I intend to route this way, if I can pick up any of this:
--interest from savings accounts (not likely to be much, but still....)
--author royalties
--honoraria for speeches (I'll be lucky if I can land one of these this year, but....)
--ebay and amazon and craigslist
--freelance editing (I hope this will be my main source; I need to start getting some gigs though)
--babysitting? tutoring?
--promotions, like "open a new credit card or checking account"

I'm starting it out with $68.96 I just made through a combination of ebay and usertesting.com. Only $5411 to go!


  1. I track all my "other money" and although I don't funnel it toward a retirement account (it goes to my Emergency Fund) it seriously adds up. Most of it is "in kind" (like use my reward points for groceries), but my bank has sweet promotions for getting referrals - so far this year I've made $350.

    Roths have the same yearly limit as TFSAs here in Canada - I won't make it this year, but our contribution room accumulates and doesn't fall away. So I'll play catch up, but I don't want to wait too long! Good luck with your goal :)

    1. No, definitely do not wait as long as I did! I'm not concerned that I'll be eating cat food in retirement (barring global economic collapse) but I am concerned that I'll be working several years longer than I'd like to be. We'll see. The rewards points idea is a really good one -- I just got a new cash back credit card, and instead of applying the money to the statement I think I'm going to send it to the Roth fund. I think I will probably manage to get quite a bit of extra money; mostly when I've done that in the past it's just gone into the black hole of the checking account and never been seen again and I'd like to put it all somewhere useful.

      I just booked an honorarium-bearing speech (not sure how much, but probably at least a few hundred dollars) this weekend! I never would have asked my friend to bring me to campus except for setting up this new goal, so perhaps it'll be professionally beneficial as well.

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