traditional retirement


Hey, how often do you think about being an old person? As someone with a deep, persistent fear of dying alone and penniless, I think about this a lot. I can solve the “alone” part with a lot of cats, but the “penniless” part is a little trickier. I can’t count on the fact that I’ll be able to work forever, and as a freelancer I don’t have a pension or an employer’s 401k plan to sustain me. I’m CERTAINLY not counting on Social Security to bail me out, and neither should you.

This is where Individual Retirement Savings (IRAs) come in! I haven’t seen much advice about this geared towards artists, so I thought I’d write a post about it. You can start saving at any age for your future comfort and happiness, and there’s no blood sacrifice or mystic knowledge required! What is required is a basic understanding of how IRAs work, and the willingness to sign up for one and start saving. If you are earning money, don’t have a retirement savings account, and can spare a chunk of cash each year, start now!

So, the basics:

There are few different kinds of IRA, but for simplicity’s sake I’m mostly focusing on Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. Each IRA has the same goal, to allow you to save money for retirement, and to let your money to grow tax-free in the time in-between. You can set one up for yourself so long as you (or your spouse) have earned income.

What makes IRAs different from a regular savings account? IRAs can generate a lot more earnings over time because you don’t pay taxes every year!

IRAs are typically composed of investments (in mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc.) so your gains will fluctuate year to year depending on the financial landscape and the kind of investments made–but you can expect to earn around 7% over the long-run, which is way better than the average savings account interest rate of 0.06%. That’s not to say that a savings account is bad. If you have a savings account, THAT’S GREAT. If you have extra savings and you’re willing to wait 30 or so years to take it out, open an IRA to take advantage of the higher growth potential!

You can open an IRA through most large financial institutions–banks, mutual fund companies, and brokerage firms, any of which can offer a variety of investment options. The fees and fee structure for each institution can vary however, so it’s good to compare. (You can start by searching on google for “where to open a Roth IRA” or “where to open a Traditional IRA”)


Who can contribute to an IRA?

In a Traditional IRA, anyone with earned income of any amount can contribute, but you must be younger than 70 ½. In a Roth IRA, you can be any age, but you must have a modified adjusted gross income of less than $131,000 if you’re single, or a modified adjusted gross income of less than $193,000 if you’re married filing jointly.

How much can you contribute per year?

In both plans, you can contribute up to $5,500 each year, or up to $6,500 if you’re age 50 or older. You don’t have to contribute the max amount, and you don’t have to contribute every year. The max amount is increased every so often so it’s a good idea to check into the current maximum contributions allowed (just google “maximum IRA contribution”)

What’s the deal with taxes??

The big difference between Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs is when your money gets taxed. With a Traditional IRA, when you CONTRIBUTE money you don’t have to pay taxes on it, but when you WITHDRAW money you have to pay income tax on it at that time.

In a Roth IRA it’s the opposite–when you CONTRIBUTE your money you pay taxes on it, and when you WITHDRAW the money it is entirely tax-free.

Simplistically, this means that if you are currently in a high tax bracket and think you will be in a lower tax bracket by the time you retire, a Traditional IRA may save you more money. If you are in a low tax bracket right now and anticipate that by the time you retire your income taxes will be higher, the Roth IRA will be a better fit. You can also have retirement savings in both kinds of accounts (though your total contribution per year still maxes out at $5,500/$6,500), and/or roll over one kind of account into another down the line.

One big tax caveat: If you or your spouse have the ability to contribute to an employer sponsored retirement plan (i.e. 401k) you can still contribute to a Traditional IRA, but depending on your income level you may not get the tax deduction. This is referred to as a “non-deductible IRA contribution”, and it affects “pre-tax” IRA accounts, like Traditional IRAs. Employer sponsored retirement plans have no effect on your contributions to a Roth IRA account though!!

There’s a 10% penalty if you withdraw money from your IRA account at the wrong time. So WHEN can you withdraw your money without penalty?

In a Traditional IRA, you can start withdrawing your money at the age of 59 ½, and MUST start taking minimum withdrawals at age 70 ½. (I don’t know why the half-numbers are important, but them’s the facts!)

In a Roth IRA, there are no mandatory withdrawals, and you can start withdrawing your money at the age of 59 ½ – if your withdrawal is at least 5 years after your first contribution was made. (So, if you start contributing to a Roth IRA at age 56, you wouldn’t be able to withdraw your earnings without a penalty before the age of 61. This isn’t an issue if you start earlier!)

Roth IRA BONUS: Roths allow you to withdraw your previous contributions at ANY TIME without penalty, provided you don’t take out the interest your contributions earned. (So if you contribute $10,000 over time and your Roth IRA earns an additional $8,000 in interest for a total of $18,000 in your account, you can still withdraw that original $10,000 at any time, no matter when or what age you are)


It means that young freelancers are in an ideal situation to start contributing to a Roth IRA account. If you are just starting working, it’s likely that you are in a lower tax bracket right now than you will be later, so Roth IRAs can be very beneficial. The longer you have your money in a retirement savings account, the more time it has to grow–$5,500 a year may sound like a lot to contribute at first, but you don’t have to contribute the full amount and you don’t have to contribute every year. If you can only contribute $1,000 a year, contributing ANYTHING is better than nothing, as long as you start sooner rather than later. Also, because Roth accounts let you withdraw your original contributions at any time, if you find you need to use some of that money for an unexpected expense you can always take it out without penalty.


There is MONETARY RISK involved in contributing to any IRA. Since all IRAs are investments and investments can fluctuate, there may be some years where your account experiences losses instead of gains. Sometimes there may be less money in the account than what you contributed. This is to be expected, and the longer you are able to let your account grow the greater your overall gain will be, despite any fluctuations along the road. This is another reason why starting as soon as possible is best.

Other situations to consider:
If you already have a 401k account from an employer, you can also open your own IRA in addition. If your employer matches your 401k contributions, do that first–that’s free money! If you max out your employer contributions and want to contribute more, you can put the rest in your own IRA (but it may be considered a “non-deductible/after-tax contribution”. See “One big tax caveat” above)

If you are self-employed (or a small business owner) and you would like to contribute more than $5,500 each year to an IRA, consider the SEP IRA. The SEP IRA functions very similarly to a Traditional IRA, but you can make higher yearly contributions–up to $53,000 per year! There are other rules that govern this, though.


Artists, if your cost of living can support it, start a retirement savings account now if you don’t have one already. It’s the best thing you can do for your future-self.

Full disclosure: I’m an artist, not a “wealth management professional” and if you have any questions about retirement savings accounts you should talk to qualified persons. I’m just scratching the surface here–I speak only from my own experience & simplified understanding. I’m happy to have a Roth IRA account with Morgan Stanley/Smith Barney and have been contributing since college, my uncle works there and is my financial adviser. I wrote this because I have seen very little income-allocation advice geared towards artists, and I feel fortunate to have benefited from my parents’ and uncle’s experience. Contributing a little bit to your future security is easier than you may think.

anonymous asked:

do you have any early scenes from radio silence/heartstopper/solitaire that never made it into the book??? those are always so cute PLEASE publish

I’ve got loads! Might as well give you one. It’s 1am. Why not.

Here’s a chapter that was very painful to cut out of RADIO SILENCE. It’s called ‘The Most Beautiful Shade of Blue’. I can’t remember exactly where it’s set, but it’s around Christmas, when Aled has left. In this version of RS, Aled briefly returns during the Christmas holidays, and in this scene, he finally talks to Frances and Daniel.


Needless to say, this does contain major spoilers for Radio Silence, so only read on if you’ve read Radio Silence.

Also, this is unedited, so it’s not up to my published standard of writing.

Keep reading


The weekend in a few pictures.

#1 Scruffy making buttermilk fried 🍗 for dinner. I’ve been missing my old fast food fried chicken sandwiches I can’t really get anymore since GF.

#2 I’ve been getting more interested in investing past the traditional retirement/stocks type of thing. Bitcoin is the next thing I’d like to try and figure out.

#3 A little dessert of sugar cookie topped with strawberries and whipped cream Scruffy put together. We had a free box of sugar cookie mix from a GF expo I went to. And, processed sugar on top of natural sugar…yes please.

#4 Text of Scruffy being at work and me not being at work.

inoneearandouttheother  asked:

Howdy! I'm young and I have a pretty good retail job at a home improvement warehouse that cannot be named. I have a 401(k) where they match the 3% contribution I give in my paycheck. I diversified with some money in a mutual fund set to mature when I retire, a higher risk fund, bonds and some common stock. What else can I do now (at 21) to ensure a bright and early retirement future?

If you want to retire early, you will need to open a brokerage account in addition to your 401(k). You cannot withdraw the money from your 401(k) until you are 59.5 years old without incurring a 10% penalty in addition to full income taxes on that money. Which would essentially mean giving up almost half of every dollar you withdraw early.

So, step 1: open a brokerage account. You can put money in and take money out of brokerage accounts whenever you want, as often as you want, with no penalties. A brokerage account allows you to invest like your retirement account but keeps that money under your control rather than locking it up. Why have a retirement account at all? Well, most are tax-advantaged, so it makes sense to max those first usually.

Step 2: figure out your number. Most people calculate the number they need to retire (early or not) by using some multiple of their current salary. Let’s say your current salary is $40,000 - traditional wisdom says you’ll need at least 25x’s that to retire, or $1,000,000. That’s a very quick and easy shortcut to the question “how much do I need to retire”. (you use 25x’s because history tells us you should be able to withdraw 4% annually and not deplete your principal during an average retirement)

Now, while that’s a good shortcut number, it’s not necessarily the best number. Instead, I would focus on how much you SPEND every year, not how much you make. If you only need to spend $2,000/month to cover expenses and have some fun money, or $24,000 annually, you don’t need to save $1,000,000 before retiring, you only need to save $600,000 (assuming the same 4% withdrawal) - way less than our shortcut provided.

Or maybe you’re making $40k a year, but spending $45k (going into debt every year to cover all of your expenses). If that’s the case, you need $1,125,000 to retire - more than our shortcut provided.

Hopefully that illustrates why it’s more important to focus on spending, not earning, when calculating your retirement number.

Step 3: research various investments. Know what you’re getting into. Know the pros and cons of every investment you buy. Each person invests differently, and for the most part, that’s okay, as long as you understand the risks and rewards and then shape your plan around those risks and rewards.

Me personally? I favor income-producing assets over equity assets. I like investments that pay me a dividend or royalty check every month/quarter vs a stock price that rises. I understand that over a longer period, on average, my income-producing investments will appreciate at a slower rate when compared to equity assets. But I also understand that over a longer period, on average, my income-producing assets will have less volatility. That helps me to not panic sell, that helps me to sleep better at night, and so I’ve traded a little bit of reward for a little bit of lower risk. That’s how I shaped my plan.

My plan won’t work for everyone. Someone else may want to be all equities and think I’m silly receiving dividends every month. They may not blink at 10% gains and 10% drops in the same week. You should do what makes sense for you and your plan.

There have been numerous studies done that show it doesn’t really matter too much what you invest in, so long as you are diversified, don’t panic sell, and stay invested. The vast majority of wildly different portfolios will usually end up in about the same place over a couple decades as long as you buy and hold. Period.

If you’re not sure what to invest in, but want to get your money into the market now (the old saying is “time in the market is better than timing the market”), then just buy a target date mutual fund from Vanguard. This is a great investment. The lowest fees anywhere. You are instantly diversified with thousands of US and global stocks and bonds. Every year Vanguard rebalances the mix for you automagically and over time they move you from mostly equities to mostly bonds, so your target date fund gets less risky as you get older. It’s the single best placeholder - and for a lot of people will be the only investment they ever need - while you do more research on other investment options.

Finally, step 4: If you plan on retiring super early (in your 30s or 40s), I highly recommend you set up some alternate sources of income. This is usually called passive income, though it’s rarely truly passive. This can come from a hobby (making and selling things on etsy or ebay), a royalty (designers and musicians make money every month from work they did in the past), a part-time gig (“job” sounds not-retired, so let’s use gig) that you love doing and happen to get paid for, etc. The 4% safe withdrawal rate is usually only applied to traditional retirements, those lasting about 20-30 years max. If you want to retire at the age of 30 or 40, one would hope you plan on living longer than 20-30 years and therefor you need to make your money last longer.

Having some sort of (even really small) income to supplement your investments will help a lot. For example, if you can rent out a spare room in your house, or cut lawns if you like being outside, or work at the library if you like being inside, etc making just $300/month, that’s the same as having an additional $72,000 invested in a fund paying a 5% dividend. When you think of small income drips in that way, you can see how powerful even “gig”ing a few hours a week can be.

Hope that helps. Please let me know if you want any more information on any of the above. Walls of text don’t go over well on tumblr, and believe it or not, this is the short version of all this. So ask away!

Wizarding World + Creative Careers AU
  • Writers having charms on their books that change the mood of the room the reader is in to suit the mood of what part they are reading
  • and illustrators having little drawings moving along the bottoms and corners of pages
  • or even having a double spread to themselves to draw and entire motion scene
  • Non-fiction books with pop up drawings
  • Like a book about the muggle olympics and when you open to the figure skating page a wispy figure on ice skates glides around your page and then disappears, or on the swimming page the figure does the butterfly stroke, disappearing into the paper before popping right out again
  • Painters being able to paint on a kind of canvas that when hung up in a gallery, a viewer can walk into it and it’s almost as if the painting is an actual room, and they can walk around the painting
  • However actually painting this is time consuming, so it becomes traditional for a retiring painter (not that painters ever stop painting) to paint one for their last ever painting. This is the one usually displayed in museums for years to come.
  • singers are pretty much like muggle singers, but wizards have different instruments to muggles on top of access to muggle instruments
  • and cooler music videos with cooler effects
  • Dancers, in both videos and out of videos, have people off stage to levitate them into the air for extravagant jumps
  • Ballerinas using apparation mid-twirl, mid-leap etc. for great visual effect. Choreography often incorporates apparation, levitation, transfiguration etc.
  • Fancy costumes that change colour and have super pretty moving patterns and catch on fire like katniss everdeen’s dresses for the dances
  • And also in real life. Fashion designers designing women clothes with one small looking inside pocket which is bottomless, so there’s still a pocketless look despite the fact that someone has two books and a purse in their jeans
  • But also designing really unnecessary clothing that is just meant to look pretty like tight robes that act like the start of a dress then descend into a cloak
  • Pink cloaks with black lace
  • Ball gowns that change colour depending on what the person you’re dancing with is wearing so you can always match with everyone
  • Costume design on sets just consisting of an array of over the top clothes and then simple robes
  • Actors once again having aids from levitation and transfiguration on set
  • Animagi and metamorphmagi playing more than one role
  • Actors ‘preparing for roles’ by literally becoming animagi. They even take classes to alter the form of their patronus so they become a certain type of animal
  • Metamorphmagus models with a certain trademark so consumers always know it’s them. Like they suddenly have blue short hair and wings, but that small heart on their cheek indicates that they’re so and so
  • And super cool photography that work as boomerangs on instagram, except they take form in magazines
  • As well as extreme photography angles, consisting of photographers charming their cameras to take a picture whenever they clap or whatever (kind of like a bluetooth camera) so that they can angle the cameras in really odd positions or really close up
  • Eye contact cameras. You have to whisper a certain spell to take the picture but it has the exact same view as you do with your own eyes so you know exactly what you’re taking a picture of
  • Although those are really expensive…

A Traditional Rice Store.


Star Wars: AU NOS

Wedding Party

Word Count: 1354
Characters: Satine Kryze, Padmé Amidala, Anakin Skywalker, Breha Organa, Rex, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Bail Organa

Pure poly-shipping fluffy crack. With a brief bit of plot to set up the scene. (Three people? Nah. Let’s try seven.)

One rule Palpatine had failed to learn was never underestimate the people who aren’t in positions that are openly powerful. He might not have found himself voted out of office, and hounded out of the Republic that way.

He also might not have found himself dead, but that’s a story for a different time.

There were many options, as the Senate saw it, for potential Chancellors in the wake of Palpatine, though it took them three attempts at electing a new one to find someone who didn’t turn the position down. Onaconda promised to give Padmé an appropriate gift for nominating him, and Bail an equally appropriate one for seconding the nomination.

He recieved several suggestions that throwing a lavish wedding party for their entire group would be ideal - expensive, entertaining, and an excellent way to watch more than one person turn into a ranting, flustered mess. Though there was some argument whether it would be jealousy, embarrassment, or sheer outrage, depending on who was being discussed.

When inquiries were made as to how many were included, there were reports that the new Chancellor spent most of a week randomly smiling to himself, after having laughed himself hoarse. No one could quite figure out why, at least not until he publically congratulated the Jedi on being open-minded enough to let not one, but two of their best exercise their legal right to make personal contracts outside the Order.

It takes another three weeks for the media to find out who’s involved, and where they’ve hidden themselves. And another three for those who are brave enough to go find them to clean themselves and their equipment of salt, sand, and blaster scorch marks. Only one of them thought the experience was worth it.

A few asked if there would be a change in Senator for Naboo, those who knew the tradition of retiring from politics to focus on family that every Senator from that planet had adhered to in the past. Padmé smiled serenely at the reporter who asked that of her, and asked them if they thought she wasn’t capable of adding mother to the list of things she could do at the same time.

“If they’re that foolish, they deserve the embarrassment.” Satine looks over from the game board on the table between her and Anakin, politely pretending to ignore the argument between him and Rex on how to best win this round. “Were they one of those who tried to take pictures while we were on our holiday?”

“No, a new one.” Padmé smiles, putting another pin into Breha’s hair as she coils it into one of the more fanciful styles they’ve been exchanging. “It’s still a tradition of Naboo, and if they want someone who is still single for their Senator, I’m willing to step down in their favor, but I’m not going to stop being a politician simply because I’ve an openly acknowledged marriage.”

The argument across from Satine stutters to a halt for a moment, and she can see the bright smile Anakin has for Padmé - and when he notices Satine paying attention, he turns it on her for a moment before at least attempting to return his attention to the game. It’s endearing, if sometimes a little disconcerting.

“Whether or not a new Senator is appointed for Naboo, you should talk to the Chancellor about being the primary diplomat the Republic sends to peace talks with the Confederacy.” Breha smiles at Padmé in the mirror, and Padmé tilts her head in acknowledgement. “At least this one will send suitable assistants.”

“And bodyguards.” Anakin’s sappy smile from earlier is gone, and Satine finds the fiercely protective expression he’s wearing now far more comfortable.

“I have my blaster, and I have you and Obi-Wan and Rex.” Padmé gives Anakin a long look before turning her attention back to finishing with Breha’s hair. “I need someone who’s a little more accomplished using their words to complete negotiations. I’d ask Satine, but Mandalore has it’s own problems.”

“And it’s own seat at the negotiating table,” Satine adds, looking down at the game board as Anakin makes his move. It leaves him vulnerable, but she doesn’t trust the easy win she can see - five moves, and a lost piece - but the first move she can see leads to more than one possible path to victory, some more hard-won than others. “I have to negotiate on behalf of all the neutral systems, not merely Mandalore.” She glances up at Rex a moment, a smile quirking the corners of her mouth. “And quite a number of new official citizens to find places for.”

“You didn’t have to.”

“Of course I did. You should never have been denied that in the first place, and I don’t know what the Republic was thinking, to insist you weren’t anything more than soldiers.”

Rex draws a breath, as if to start the argument they’ve been having off and on for the last eight weeks, before letting it out in a sigh, shaking his head. Not today.

“We’ll discuss it later.” Padmé puts the final pin in Breha’s hair. “Where are Obi-Wan and Bail?”

“I thought Bail was helping Obi-Wan with his clothes.” Anakin nudges another piece into place, and Satine counters the move with one of her own. “Though he went to help almost two hours ago.”

“Then why don’t you go make sure they’re ready?” Padmé stands up, straightening her gown, then making sure the back of Breha’s is draping right. “We shouldn’t be late to our own wedding party.”

Anakin give the board a mournful look before patting Rex on the shoulder as he stands. He doesn’t bother to tell Rex to win the game, and Satine is fairly certain that half the reason he hasn’t lost yet is Rex’s interference. He does seem to do better when there aren’t rules to constrain his strategy.

Satine is making a move in response to Rex’s when there’s a yelp from the other room, followed a moment later by muffled laughter. She bites her lip, holding back her own amusement as she watches the door to the hallway. Anakin reappears with red still flushing his cheeks, and a smug smirk on his face.

Bail and Obi-Wan follow him shortly, and Obi-Wan gives Anakin a brief glare before pointedly walking over to Padmé to put a lightsaber hilt in her hands. “Anakin misplaced this. I thought it might be in better hands if I returned it to you.”

Padmé blinks, and looks over at Anakin, who shrugs, still smirking.

“I wasn’t going to go in there.” Anakin comes over, reaching for his lightsaber, only to look confused as Padmé reaches behind her, handing the lightsaber to Breha. She shakes her head, reaching up to cup his face, kissing him gently.

“You can have it back when we get to our party.” Padmé smiles at him, before taking his hand, while Breha tucks the light saber into the more voluminous sleeves of her dress.

It doesn’t take them long after that to be ready, piling into a waiting hover car, with another clone - Commander Cody, from the scar on his face - waiting for them, and a third that Satine doesn’t reconize at the wheel. And Ahsoka, who is grinning almost as much as Anakin.

The flight to the venue the Chancellor has rented is filled with cheerful chatter and gossip, and they can see the party is already well-attended by the time they arrive, with Cody and Ahsoka going ahead of them to make sure the Chancellor knows they’ve arrived, and so they can be announced.

“The end of the our leave.” Obi-Wan’s mouth twists in an expression that seems caught halfway between relief and disappointment, and Satine chuckles, lacing her fingers through his on one side, while Rex does so on the other.

“There will be more opportunities.” They’ll make them, if they don’t occur on their own.

Obi-Wan lets out a brief sigh, before smiling back, and moving forward with them toward the grand double-doors of the hall.

Headcanon 01:

Munch gets depressed on the anniversary of his first divorce (from Gwen), so every year Olivia goes over to his place and watches movies with him so he won’t have to be alone.  He always picks old movies with convoluted plots she can’t follow (things like Blowup and 8 ½), and every year she falls asleep on the couch well before the film is over.  This tradition continues after John’s retirement from the NYPD.