When I started my career after graduating college, I had heard of the terms 401k, IRA, Roth IRA, pension, etc but had no idea how they worked or what exactly all those acronyms stood for. With this post I’m hoping to explain and clear up any confusion around one type of account: the 401k. The 401k is named for the subsection of the Internal Revenue Code that it was written in, very creative right? A 401k is a retirement savings plan that is offered by employers to their employees. While an IRA (individual retirement account) is set up by the person, this is an account that will have to be opened through your employer. Around 80% of all full-time workers in the United States have access to a 401k plan, so it’s important to understand how to use this account to save money towards your retirement.
It feels like Summer just started a little while ago, but we are already halfway through August now. With it being my favorite season, I’m not too thrilled with how fast time seems be moving! The heat has been brutal here on the East Coast though so I am looking for a break from that. It seems that the Summer heat has also translated into a bull market with the S&P 500 making some big gains compared to the beginning of the month. There was the Brexit vote at the end of June, which may have put a damper on July earnings but the market has since come roaring back. My portfolio is still fairly tiny to truly be affected by the market but it will be interesting to track my IRA the rest of the year now that I’ve finished making contributions.
Over Memorial Day weekend, my girlfriend and I spent a long weekend cabin camping at Stokes State Forest. We spent a total of three nights here, and we both wished that we were able to stay longer than we had. The park is located in Branchville, NJ up in the Northwest corner of New Jersey. There are three separate camping areas in the park: Shotwell, Steam Mill, and Lake Ocquittunk. Neither of us had been to this park before and we wanted to spend more time exploring rather than setting up, so we decided to go with renting a cabin instead of a campsite. This post is a Stokes State Forest review, particularly the cabins in the Lake Ocquittunk camping area.
I’m continuing to go through the Summer with higher spending, as I went on vacation again during this past month of July. I was hoping to be able to keep other spending down though to balance that out, and I think I did pretty well with that. There were also no surprise expenses or anything out of the ordinary, which is always a good thing. Not having to pay student loans and only needing a ‘smaller’ contribution to my Roth IRA this month also gave more flexibility to keep spending down. I plan on modifying my budget in the coming months so hopefully I’ll be able to keep things more consistent after those changes. For this month though I’m going to be using the same template that everyone is probably familiar with by now.
We’re now smack in the middle of Summer, and it’s time for my second net worth update. The temperature is really heating up here, but what about my savings? This has been a month of higher spending for me so far, and I will break that down further in my budget review later in the month. Despite the higher spending, I was able to make solid gains when it comes to increasing my net worth. I honestly haven’t been paying close attention to my net worth previously, so it will be interesting to see what exactly a “baseline” update looks for me. This is the first month for me to be tracking the actual changes so let’s see how it looks!