This year has been full of fiscal ups and downs. After making a solid salary at a full-time job, I was laid off in February and ended up picking up part-time gigs which, while paying great by the hour, didn’t cover enough hours to meet my prior salary. And then I interviewed for a bunch of jobs and got a few offers. In the end, I landed a six-month contract with very strong hourly pay.
It’s almost funny how just a year ago I was writing about how what I was making then would give me so much extra to save, and then I quickly found that I while I had money to save, the cost of doctor’s bills and life kept my savings per month low. And now, looking at the next few months of income, I’m more excited than ever about helping my networth move out of being stuck in $35k. My goal, by the end of 2010, was to have a networth of $50k. Now, I’m aiming for $75k.
What will that take? Mostly, being amazing at my job, which I plan to do. Also, I can’t look at the number I’m taking home and get as much out of my bank account into savings accounts before I have a chance to get near a mall or travel website.
I’m not going to complain about how much I will make because I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to save for grad school and a house (MBA, here I come), but it makes savings a lot more complicated. I don’t know how many of you can relate because there’s a chance this year I’ll hit six figures. I’m not sure it will happen — I will only really know for sure next winter. It’s certainly possible for the first time in my life.
With that type of income I move out of the average American household and hit what many people in America would consider rich for a single person. In the least, there’s a chance I will make over the limits for a Roth IRA. For the past five years my Roth IRA has been my primary retirement savings vehicle. I’m not really sure where else to save money for retirement. I might be able to set up a 401k but it’s going to be kind of messy to do that since I’m a contractor. None of the companies I’ve worked for in the past have had 401k funds, so if I am able to participate, even without a match (there won’t be a match), I will. I probably should put a good amount of my monthly income into a 401k if I can open one. I can always max out my Roth IRA at the end of 2010 if I don’t end up making the higher end of my potential earnings. Or a traditional IRA if that makes more sense. I also may put a lot more into my 529 plan for grad school, though I’m nervous about putting too much in that account as there’s a chance I’ll never end up going to grad school. I do want to have children, so I’d like to think if I don’t spend my 529 plan for me, I can pass it on to my children one day. But that’s a long time off, it’s tough to put more than $100/month in that account without worrying about wasting money on that account. I can always take it out for something else, but I’ll have to pay a fine. And in my state the money put into that account is only tax deductible on the federal level, not state. Still, it’s probably worth it this year to put a larger amount than normal in that account, since I may not have access to a Roth IRA.
It is hard to plan when the amount you may make over the year is not set in stone. On one hand, it’s kind of exciting. It makes me want to work extra hard to prove myself and earn as much as possible. As I grow in my career, my blog title becomes more and more misleading. I’m not going to be overconfident with this as so much is up in the air. When I’m 10 years out of undergrad (in 2015) I will write a post on how my income fluctuated over the years. I’d love to know what will be in that post, but I like being surprised by life too.
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