Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Need a little exercise?

Try jumping through hoops! That's what I've been doing today while trying to set up a retirement account.

The concept of saving for retirement is one that is drilled into us incessantly by banks and financial advisors. We must put money away for the future because the government can't afford to take care of us anymore, after paying them to do so for our whole working lives, we're just being selfish to expect any of that hard earned money back one day. So get an IRA - but don't put away too much money [the government regulates how much you're allowed to save] - we don't want any one to be too rich when they're old. No, no.

I'd like to save money for retirement [soon to be a fantasy concept the way things are going] just as much as the next person, but I have some far out requirements that pose unique problems for banking institutions.

1. I'm not already rich. I know - how dare I want to save only pennies a day? It seems most places I've looked have minimum balance requirements for opening an IRA. The most reasonable - $250 - the most outrageous $25,000 [I laughed at the woman over the phone when she told me that.] Honey, if I had $25,000, I'd be paying off my bills with it.

2. I want to make contributions. Weird right? I mean, employer run IRAs make contributions for you, put what happens if you're self employed? Some instutitions want to open a new account every time you make a contributions, so you end up with hundreds of individual accounts with small balances - way to save on paying interest, right?

3. I don't want to trade stocks, bonds, pig belly futures or commodities. I'm not interested in day trading. All I want is to put my money somewhere safe until I need it.

4. I don't want to pay someone to hold my money. This is the biggie - I mean who am I to expect a financial instiution not to try to bleed me dry, right? If I'm already losing money in a stock based account, why wouldn't I also want t see my balance trickle away with maintenance fees as well? Losing money a little at a time is almost as much fun as hiding it under the mattress and hoping moths don't eat it.

Ah well, back to my work out. At this rate, I may not have any money for retirement, but at least I'll be really skinny from jumping through all these hoops and since skinny people never get sick, I can just keep working and forget about retirement completely.

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