I’m a planner. I think this is one of those things you either are, or are not. I have dear friends who are also planners (I once planned a playdate three months in advance with one of them), and I have dear friends who are decidedly not. (One such set rarely knows their Thanksgiving plans more than a week in advance. I cannot live like this.)
I don’t really understand how people can function without a plan, but I suppose to others I may be a bit anal, or at least overzealous with my scheduling.
There is one exception to this rule of my lifestyle, however: my 401(k).
Are you paying attention to old 401(k) accounts
Make that my long, lost 401(k). I have one, started at the very beginning of my first, not high-paying job out of college. I dutifully rolled it over to my next, only-slightly-higher-paying job after that. Then we moved, and the job I took to help put my husband through business school did not offer such a plan. It’s been floating in financial cyberspace ever since, going on 15 years now. Oops.
I’ve started playing ‘What would Clark say?’ in my head a lot lately, and I can only imagine the head-shaking that would ensue if he were to hear my story. I’ve rationalized it in my head by saying that, relative to what Tim and I have set aside from his salary for our retirement, it’s peanuts. I mean, if we’re lucky, it would possibly cover a year of high school tuition, or, more likely, a nice vacation. Not that we would do that with the money, considering the tax penalty!
Read more: Top 5 reasons not to borrow from your 401(k)
Given that the future really is unknown, it’s best to plan for all scenarios regarding retirement and beyond — and a few thousand dollars could make a difference somewhere. Furthermore, if it’s invested correctly, it’ll amount to more than we think.
So let’s assume I manage to track down my money. (We actually have pursued this before, just never managed to get the deed finalized.) I am no longer employed, so what do I do now? Roll it over into an IRA. Then mentally congratulate myself for checking one more Clark Howard-inspired item off of my To Do list — such lists are must-haves for we planners.