Just up the street from the front entrance of our condo development is a Dunkin’ Donuts. My dietary weaknesses tend to run more towards the salty rather than the sweet (popcorn, cashews, chips, etc.), but to the extent that I ever salivate over sweets, doughnuts are always at the top of my cravings list. I am embarrassed to admit that I once ate my favorite plain cake variety with a glass of a day-old-opened bottle of Caymus cabernet sauvignon. Ah, the vagaries and indescritions of a 40-something man. But I digress (or is it digest?)…
When I saw the Dunkin’ Donuts on my first visit to the condo after we signed our lease, I did silently wonder whether this place would suddenly become, in the words of a personal injury lawyer, an attractive nuisance. I am a man of average weight with just the touches of a middle-age pot belly. I exercise regularly and eat very healthy meals because — luckily for me — Gorgeous has a passion for gourmet cooking with lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and grains. Nonetheless, I am concerned about how much of an influence this nearby den of iniquity will be. I promise to keep you posted on that.
Of course, it isn’t just the calories. A Dunkin’ Donut costs .99 each. I know statistically speaking that there are only a minority of you reading this who are able to say that they can walk in and just buy only one. I know I can’t. With absolutely no statistical sampling or research to back up this claim, I will venture to guess that the average doughnut eater buys at least two with each visit to the shop. Add a small coffee and tax, and you’re looking at a $5.00 or more daily habit in the making. Note to self: Try and stay inside the development on those morning and evening walks.
This all got me thinking not about calories, but rather my savings. For 31 years of my career, I regularly added to my 401(k) each time I got paid. For at least 20 of those years my contribution was 15% per pay period, and I also received a 5% match from my employer. So I was lucky to have an approximate 20% contribution from each paycheck for the majority of my working years. Luckily, my former employer offers a variety of different stock and bond funds from which to choose for investment, the largest of which emulates the S&P 500 Index. I chose to have the lion share of my distribution be in that specific index fund. I also have small percentages each in international and small cap funds respectively, along with an equally small amount in a government bond fund. For the current year of 2014 my return has been just under 12%, about which I’m very pleased given the unstable record of the stock market since the recession.
For now I have decided to keep my money in my former employer’s plan. I may later take it out and roll it over to an investment firm, but at the moment my inclination is to keep it there and take advantage of the very low fees they charge compared to private mutual fund companies. Since I am no longer contributing to it, all that I can do is manage it through intra-fund transfers for balancing purposes at the end of the year. I am decidedly not one of those people who log in and moves funds around at the drop of a hat when there are big movements in the market. I am pleased with what I have accrued and saved in spite of the fact that I had to give up a sizable chunk of it to my ex-wife, per our divorce decree. I am thankfully too young to make withdrawals from it yet, so at least with this pot of money, I just need to monitor it and make very small adjustments as necessary.
In future posts, I will want to discuss other investment and savings plans that my wife and I have. If you are retired, I’m very interested in what your own 401(k) management strategies are. Please share them in the comments section below.
Now, however, I suddenly I feel like going on a walk. I wonder if the afternoon baker is on duty?