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51, single, a little late to the party, but not out!
Old 04-25-2014, 07:57 PM   #1
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51, single, a little late to the party, but not out!

Hello to all the ER-enthusiasts out there. I just found this place a few weeks ago and have been avidly reading as much as I can ingest. Thought I might as well bite the bullet and introduce myself.

Iím a single 51-year-old woman (no kids), living in the Chicago area. Iíve been with my current Megacorp for almost 21 years, and Iíll admit it Ė close to burnout, and no interest in finding another place to w*rk. Iíd rather be done with it all. Iím trying to pick an ER target and with that to focus on, the next few years can be spent getting things in order.

Iíve been the ultimate lazy investorÖ outside of my current 401k, I have accounts all over the place that Iíve let sit because I didnít really know what to do with them. Ok, beyond lazyÖ admittedly more than a tad irresponsible. Now that Iím trying to get my financial house in order, I need to figure out how to consolidate and more intentionally deal with them. I have a current 401k at work, an old 401k with Fidelity, a current stock purchase plan acct with Computershare, an etrade account for an old stock purchase plan, a tIRA, an online savings acct, regular savings acct. Fortunately, thatís still gotten me to about $650k in total assets (not counting the house with another $200-300k in equity). Add the defined benefit pension Iíll have and Iím not in an awful place. Dumb luck, I say!

As much as I'd love to retire today, or even within 5 years as a goal, I've also been slapped in the face recently with the fact that there are things I have to do before I even realistically work through that analysis.

My immediate concerns/priorities are:
1) Get my accounts in order. Consolidate where I can. Iím thinking about opening a taxable account with Vanguard to put some of the savings acct dollars in, and get the tIRA, old 401k and etrade account stuff moved. To start.
2) Figure out how to figure out the tax implications of all of this. I have been trying to go through literally years of neglected stacks of statements, etc., to try to identify cost basis for various things. More sorting to do there. I also tried putting IRA and 401k accts in Quicken so I can see the whole picture, but have quickly lost my patience with that. Iím a smart cookie, I just need to find a better way to approach it. (And the good news is that I have been tracking detailed expenses for years, so have a pretty good handle on what/where I spend now and what I might need in retirement.)
3) Probably do something with company stock. I have $30k in my 401k (no new investments) and almost $100k in my ESPP (15% discount, but have never sold any of it). Absolute solid company that I am not concerned about, but still should think about moving, once I figure out #2 above.
4) Look into the whole backdoor Roth conversion. Again, dependent on #2.

Anyway, I already thank you all for being so candid on these forums. Iíve picked up many things to chew on and look forward to many more.

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Old 04-26-2014, 07:40 AM   #2
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Other than the tax implications from the sale of company stock for diversification of risk purposes, there shouldn't be any tax consequences unless or until you decide to convert your pretax accounts to a Roth. Conversion may be a very good idea, however you might think about waiting until you retire to convert over several years in low enough amounts to keep your taxes minimal. Moving a taxable account from one institution to another involves "in kind" transfers and is not a taxable event. I would think that the cost basis would have been tracked by that institution and be reflected in the latest statement. You can then establish that cost basis with the new institution.

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Old 04-26-2014, 08:30 PM   #3
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Thanks. I'm finding cost basis easy to find in a few cases, not so easy in others. With my current ESPP, looks like I have about $25K in capital gains (found transaction details for the past 12 years on our web site and calculated via Quicken). None of the other accts have cost basis on the statements, and with one that I have online access, it says purchase price was 0. So just need to call and figure things out. But the amounts for those other accounts are significantly less than my ESPP, so I don't think it will be material.

I opened one account with Vanguard today (an IRA to rollover one 401k and transfer another IRA), and have to say they were amazingly helpful. If a few other companies had been open today, I could have had more of the consolidation done. But Monday will come soon enough And will have a second (brokerage) account open by then, assuming we can get answers about a few of these other accounts.

Getting there.
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:12 AM   #4
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Don't forget to UPDATE ( or NAME) beneficiaries in your new Vanguard accounts!!!

You should be able to do this online very easily.....

And...if you don't have one, get a will!!!

When you have a bunch of accounts out there, you loose sight REAL fast of the beneficiary component....( ask me how I know.....IRAs, 401K, HSA, pension, local and online bank accounts, credit union accounts, Computershare TRESOP account from 35 years ago!!!, annuity, life insurance policies house and vehicles!!!!!)

Most bank and credit union accounts have no means of naming a CAN have joint tenancy or joint accounts set up, BUT-that money is treated in different ways if the joint holder is sued or goes into a nursing home...which is NOT the case with a named beneficiary who gets the assets after you die. Something to consider.

Also-beneficiaries trump a will. In most cases, the beneficiary gets the asset, without probate, and without argument.

At least when you added all your assets up, it sounds like you found you can retire soon, so that is a good thing!!!!

But having ONE account in a big brokerage, like Vanguard or Fidelity, makes thing so much easier....

Plus, in my case with Fidelity, all the other services like a debit card, credit card, ability to transfer money easily from the "old" banks to the new, makes it REALLY efficient.

I'm a single woman too...I made sure ALL my financial stuff is in one place, where someone I trust knows where to find it, and I got rid of all the confusing stuff-old unused checkbooks and statements from the accounts I no longer use....

Think in terms of: " if I died this afternoon........" ...Not too pleasant, but I think for single people it's more critical to have everything organized!!!!!

Good Luck!!!!
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:50 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lcountz View Post
Don't forget to UPDATE ( or NAME) beneficiaries in your new Vanguard accounts!!!
You're so right. I do tend to put that sort of thing off, just because it's not top of mind. Good thing to check across the board. Thanks for the nudge
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