I have two investment vehicles established for retirement, My Roth IRA and my 401K. I don’t play favorites with these two accounts and if it was within my control, I would contribute to them equally (unfortunately the federal government puts a cap on Roth contributions). If you follow my net worth updates at all, you’ll notice both accounts perform pretty similarly. When my Roth goes up, so does my 401K. When my Roth goes down, my 401K follows suit (although to a lesser degree since the employer match helps mitigate my losses).
Don’t tell Girl Ninja, but I am madly, deeply, and passionately in love with my retirement accounts. If all goes according to plan, they will literally make me a millionaire. Ah yes, one day I’ll be sipping a non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri on the beaches of the Washington coast with my beautiful wife (can’t travel too far otherwise we won’t stay millionaires very long).
Am I the only person kind of excited about being super old?
Even though I have equal affection for my two retirement accounts, if the you-know-what hits the fan, I’d definitely treat them differently. That my friends is called a double standard.
Girl Ninja and I have saved up some pretty serious cash over the last year and a half, so barring some major medical catastrophe, we shouldn’t have a need to dip in to our emergency fund. One day, however, we will have bought a home and Girl Ninja will likely be a full-time mom. In a few years, we probably won’t have the cash reserves we have now.
So what happens if an emergency comes along that exceeds what we have set aside (currently $10,000) for rainy days? I’ll tell you what. I’d raid my Roth IRA like a college student raids his parent’s fridge.
I like to think of my Roth as a quasi-savings account. You put money in to it (with after tax dollars) and can take those contributions out at any time without penalty. That perk alone makes it the freakin’ Swiss Army knife of the financial sector. It combines a savings account, retirement account, and emergency fund in to one sexy product. Tell me that doesn’t get you all hot-and-bothered?!!? If I pulled my from my 401K, however, we’d be faced with tax obligations AND a ten percent early withdrawal penalty. Definitely not sexy.
Have you ever thought about treating a Roth IRA like a quasi-savings account? If needed, would you pull from a Roth or 401k first? Anyone else want to make sweet, sweet financial love to their Roth IRA?
p.s. don’t pull from your retirement accounts for things like new cars, kitchen renovations, or buying a house. The point of saving for retirement is saving for retirement, not buying shiny things that give you artificial happiness.