Ally Bank Talks to Philip Taylor of PT Money About His Retirement Strategy

Retirement planning is something we discuss a lot here on the Straight Talk Blog. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be talking to some of our favorite personal-finance bloggers about how they’re preparing for retirement. We’ve already spoken with Meg Favreau of Wise Bread, and today we’ll hear from Philip Taylor of PT Money.

Taylor, a self-described “husband, father, blogger and entrepreneur,” is the mind behind the 2011 Financial Blogger Conference, where some of the best-known financial bloggers and experts came together for a weekend of discussions about personal finance and the role bloggers can play in helping consumers make better financial choices.

When did you start saving for retirement?
I started saving for retirement about three years after college. I was told I’d save about $500 on my taxes if I opened and fully funded a traditional IRA. So I invested the money and saved on my taxes.

What kind of products do you use to save for retirement – a 401(k), IRAs, CDs, a mix of these and others? What made you decide on each one?
I started with a traditional IRA, then I switched to using a 401(k) at work. The 401(k) was great because it allowed me to reduce my current-year tax burden and save over $10,000 each year.

After a few years, I opened up a Roth IRA and started contributing additional funds there. The Roth IRA is great because you can contribute there while participating in the 401(k). It’s also great because it opens up a whole bunch of other investing options, like index funds.

Now that I’m self-employed and no longer have access to a 401(k) at work, I’m opening up a Single 401(k) so I can continue with my retirement savings efforts while being my own boss.

How do you envision your retirement? When will it begin? How will you spend your time?
I want to be financially independent as soon as possible. I’m in my mid-thirties now. I’d like to have total financial freedom by the time I’m 50. I’m self-employed right now and love it. I will probably still be tinkering around with some business long into traditional retirement years. My time will be spent with my wife doing whatever we want.

What advice do you have for someone who needs to begin saving for retirement but isn’t sure where to start?
Just start with something. Something is better than nothing. Even if it’s $25 automatically contributed to a CD each month, that’s wonderful. Over time you’ll learn more about retirement investing, and you’ll pour more effort and money into the plan. But please don’t wait to start. Just get going by saving some of your money automatically each month.

Many thanks to Philip for opening up and sharing his plans for the future. Philip joins a growing number of future retirees who are looking for ways to make money during their later years. Don’t forget that it may be wise to consult a financial professional whenever you manage your IRA and 401(k).

Which products do you use to save for retirement? What advice would you have for someone who hasn’t started saving?

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  1. 3
    Neal D.

    If you have children, also consider funding a 529b savings plan for their college education. Again, many options abound and you are NOT limited to plans sponsored by your home state. For instance, you can live in Ohio but purchase a 529b plan from the state of Georgia and still use it to attend an accredited institution anywhere in the country (but read the fine print before investing — don’t take my word for it). My favorite flavor of these plans, if you can find it, is tuition pre-pay. You purchase a year of tuition at today’s rate and you are guaranteed a year or tuition (or the monetary equivalent if your child chooses to attend an out-of-state or private school) when you child enters college. Given that college tuition has far outpaced inflation and today’s paltry interest rates, this is a heck of a deal! Now if you child doesn’t attend school, you can either transfer the fund to another family member or you can take a 20% penalty and cash it out.

  2. 5

    Thanks for new info – opening a “single” 401k and ability to use Roth IRA while still participating in a company 401k. But too late for me.

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