Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

Everything’s Different Now February 12, 2016

Filed under: Pregnancy,Uncategorized — Stephanie @ 8:52 pm
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I’ve been a bit MIA on the blog.  Partially because I didn’t feel like I had much to say.  But partially because I was nervous to blog about my pregnancy.

So, the good news is:  I had a baby!

My husband and I are overjoyed!  And also exhausted.

The pregnancy definitely had ups and downs, including a few moments when doctors thought things might be wrong with my baby.  But in the end, we have a healthy baby and couldn’t be happier!

In the words of Mabel from Gravity Falls:  Everything’s different now.

I’ve been unsure about blogging my birth story because a) I’m not sure anyone would actually care to read it and b) maybe it’s just a bit too much oversharing.  Let me know if you’re interested in reading it (or think I should skip it).

I’m not sure how much I will continue blogging.  There are bound to be things to write about (we’re still house-hunting, and of course there are lots of money things to discuss when it comes to raising a child) but I’ll look to you guys for feedback and thoughts on what I write.  As always, you can see my thoughts about baby farts and naps by following me on twitter.

 

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Where should you open your IRA account? April 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephanie @ 9:47 pm
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This blog post is more of a survey for my readers and a reminder (to open/fund their IRA) than advice.  But I hope everyone who comments has some great insight!

Here’s the deal.  I’ve been obsessed with personal finance since I graduated college in 2006.  I opened a Roth IRA in 2007 and have fully funded it every year.  My fiance and I have also been together since 2007, and he’s read all of my posts about IRAs (Opening an IRA:  No excuses, Should Everyone Contribute to a Roth IRA? and even How often should I contribute to my Roth IRA?).  But he never opened one.  And until we were engaged, I thought “well, that’s none of my concern” and barely nagged him about it.  But now that we’re in this for the long haul, I realized I need to amp up my nagging and get him to open and fund an IRA before the April 15th deadline for 2013 (yes, that’s right, you can fund last year’s IRA up until this year’s Tax Day).  As a note, for 2013 and 2014, the contribution limits for IRAs is $5,500 (or $6,500 if you’re 50 or older).

I thought he had all the information he needed.  But he came back with one more question:

Where should I open my IRA?

It’s a valid question.  There are lots of companies out there.  Most banks, credit unions, and discount brokerages offer an IRA.  But they all have different fee structures and funding options.  Some will waive fees if you set up automatic contributions.

Unfortunately, I don’t actually have the answer for what company to go with.  I opened my IRA at Fidelity mostly because it was a company I had seen my parents using in the past, and it was a well-recognized name.  It later worked out that my new (current) job runs their 401(k) through Fidelity, which proved to be convenient for a number of reasons:  only one login to remember, and I could analyze my entire portfolio in one place.

I put out a quick tweet to seek advice for where to open an IRA.  From DQYDJ, I heard Fidelity, Scottrade, T. Rowe Price, and Tradeking.  Jeff Rose seconded the advice for Scottrade. (Then Scottrade chimed in with a link to an incentive to open an IRA with them).  My (real life!) friend Brian says he has his IRA with USAA, holding Vanguard funds (I agree with the Vanguard funds, I’ve heard really good things about their low-cost index funds).  Then the Debt Free Guys said they like their Schwab account.

So, I don’t know if that helps at all.  Unfortunately, my best advice is to shop around at different companies and see what sort of fees they have, what kind of funds they offer and what (if any) minimum investment requirements there are!  Some funds have very high minimum requirements, though the minimums may be waived if you sign up to auto-contribute to your account.

Lastly, check out the comments as they (hopefully) come in.  I’m always looking to friends for advice, and this is no exception!  Tell me what companies you like (and don’t like) for retirement accounts!  And share your insight for what else to look for in a company!

 

Next step on the personal finance path October 27, 2010

Filed under: Personal Finance,Uncategorized — Stephanie @ 11:31 pm
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So, now that I’ve paid off my car loan, it’s time to re-examine my personal finance goals.

First, a fun fact:  When you pay off your car loan they send you the title to your car.  So I got my title in the mail last Thursday!  Even funner fact:  my roommate got her title in the mail the same day!  What are the odds?

My next debt to tackle:  Student loans.

Changes I plan on making to my finances:

Every month, I had paid my car loan with an automatic transfer from my ING checking account.  I’d also transfer a slightly higher amount into that ING checking account every month.  So I’d be slowly stashing a little bit of extra money into savings.  Now that my loan is paid off, I’m going to set the monthly transfer to go to my Down Payment Fund instead.  This means I earn a little bit extra interest-wise.  Plus I’m still keeping the money out of my main spending account.

As is customary in personal finance, I’m now going to pay the amount I paid on my loan each month towards my student loans.

Overall, this means that a different account gets my monthly savings transfer, and a different account gets my monthly loan payment.

Technically, all the money will be leaving my main checking account now (just the way things are in my current system).  But this means I’m still putting money towards a down payment, while paying extra towards my student loans.

Is this the wrong approach?  Should I be working harder to just eliminate my student debt instead of saving for a house?