Early Roth IRA distributions without penalty

On Monday, I answered five common questions about Roth IRA’s. Today I thought we could dwell on one aspect of Roth IRAs, namely, the rules governing Roth IRA withdrawals. In fact, there was one comment from a reader on that post asking for more clarification.

5 Questions about the Roth IRA

The topic of saving for retirement and all of the attendant tax issues can be a complicated discussion. For me, the issue is one of those that just does not stick in my head. I can read all about Roth IRAs and Traditional IRAs and 401Ks and then forget everything I learned five minutes later. Today, I want to just talk about the Roth IRA and give five of the most important aspects of this particular retirement savings vehicle. A Roth IRA is when the retirement contribution is considered to be after tax, in other words, the money that you pay in has already been taxed. The advantage of a Roth IRA is that  future distributions will be tax-free – at least most of the time.

Spare Change 1st Edition

Sometimes I have random personal finance thoughts that are too short for a post. I type them into a document in my Blackberry and save them up until I have enough for an article. Maybe they will spark a thought or two in your mind –

A grocery store is almost always cheaper and healthier than a restaurant. The difference is simply laziness . . . at least for me. Pour your own water!

Does Scripture demonize money?

Today’s post is a guest post. I am interested to hear if there are any responses or comments:

How to Save and Live Through Christ Simultaneously

Perhaps one of the most prevailing misconceptions in our modern society is that the Bible is vehemently against money, in all its manifestations. Many self-styled “Christians” advocate that in order to truly live through Christ, one must give up all material possessions, since that is what He taught. While I can understand this line of thinking, I truly believe that Christ did not–nor would not today–demonize money as some have mistakenly done in America and elsewhere in the world. There is this image of Christ as a “socialist,” and to me, this is an absolutely sickening portrayal of Christ, if only because this interpretation seeks to superimpose politics on our Lord and Savior, who transcends any man-made political or ideological system.

Financial threat advisory system

Several years ago, our government instituted “terrorism alert” levels. The various levels roughly corresponded to various colors and were intended to indicate to summarize the immediate danger of a terrorist attack – sort of a civilian DefCon warning system. The color advisory system was limited and although intended to make things clear to everyone, it really was not useful to the average person. The color system worked better as a means of telling public servants – security, police officers, intelligence gatherers, civil authorities – to what extent they should be on alert and what assets to have at the ready. All-in-all, the color advisory system was not really a failure and not really a success either.

Sometimes a little child labor is good for kids

My father used to say that the only reason that he had “kids was so he could have slaves”. We believed him. Sometimes while working on a project with my dad, I would request payment and he would say “you should be paying me”. Until recently, I never really knew what he was talking about.

How much do you spend on your hobby?

The dictionary defines a hobby as:

An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.

I originally took up blogging as a hobby. It still is a hobby for me, but the business side of this hobby is growing all the time. I earn a little income now – at least enough to have to report to the IRS. And, from time to time, I am required to meet a deadline or two. Is blogging still a hobby for me? I suppose, since I still enjoy it and I blog “outside” of my regular occupation, so I guess it still qualifies. My mom’s hobby is quilting, I am not sure how many she has made in the past ten years, but the number has to be quite large.

Expenses to cut when you are unemployed

No matter how you lose your job, whether your plant closed, your business relocated to another country, or you were laid off, forced to resign or if you were fired directly, being unemployed is a nerve-racking place to be. Hopefully you have an emergency fund in place that can support your budget for at least a few months. It is interesting how the conventional wisdom on emergency funds has changed just in the past few years. In 2005-’06-’07, personal finance advisors often recommended a three month emergency fund. Then it was six months and now, it is prudent to look at having nine or ten month’s budget saved up for the event of job loss. People are taking longer and longer to find work.

Losing your job might be a good thing

his week at Gather Little by Little, we have been discussing a person’s response to job loss. On Monday and Wednesday, I listed a dozen moves to make. I once had a supervisor from whom I learned a great deal about business, management and leadership. He always used to say that he wanted our meetings to be “solution-oriented”. Meaning that while there is value in taking time to review and analyze, too much of that kind focus can make skull sessions degenerate into griping, complaining and worry. He wanted us to spend our time focused on solutions and he welcomed any positive suggestion. Not all suggestions were put into practice, but by the end of our time, we always created a list of possible theories or strategies to research and one of them was bound to work.

6 more moves to make after you lose your job

On Monday, I gave six moves to make should the unthinkable happen. Here are six more suggestions:

File for unemployment benefits

My “big picture” political view is that unemployment benefits make the problem of unemployment worse – however, I do not begrudge anyone taking advantage of the money to which they are entitled. While I would rather that the tax money used for the purposes of unemployment benefits will create more jobs if not removed from economy in the first place, the reality is that we, especially those of us with children, need to accept help from as many sources as possible.

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