White still hasn’t built any solid wealth, though, and she has a savings goal of $20,000, which she hopes to reach by next summer to eventually purchase a condo and reopen her business. She maintains a budget at Mint.com and, based on her monthly living expenses, she should have a surplus of $400 each month. However, the figures don’t add up. “My savings account has been at about $7,000 for the last five or six months, White says. “I’m 41, I have no kids. I should have money in an account even if I never spend it.”
In addition to her savings, White has started investing for retirement after a seven-year hiatus. She now puts 5% of her income into the employer-sponsored 401(k), bringing her total retirement savings to approximately $44,000 spread out through five different mutual fund retirement vehicles. Three are other 401(k) accounts not rolled over from previous employers, totaling nearly $30,000; one’s an IRA worth more than $10,000 that she converted from a traditional to a Roth, which caused her extra taxation; and there’s a CD valued at $3,700.
White also indulges in a $189-a -month gym membership. Her company pays $50 of it and also pays for her public transportation costs. She also enjoys hanging out after work at meet-ups and admits to going out as many as four times in one week.
White realizes she could make some cuts and says she plans to replace hanging out after work with reading in the park because she really wants to meet her goals. “At this age, I’m seriously looking to get a home and I should have something in the bank,” says White. “I want my business again. I was proud of myself. I want to try to give it another shot,” she says.
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