In case you didn't know, last week was the deadline for filing your tax return. You did know that, didn't you? If you didn't maybe you were under a rock or something? Under a rock, because you're hiding? Hiding from IRS Agents who are coming to take you to jail?
Well, this year, for the first time ever in my adult life, I actually owe taxes. There are a couple of reasons for that. One is because I did something stupid, finance-wise that I'm not going to discuss on the intermanet. The other is that DOMA got overturned, so, yes, in fact, there is such a thing as a "marriage penalty." I'm getting taxed extra, because I've got civil rights (-ish), now. Pfft.
So, faced with a tax bill, it's occurred to me that I really, really need to start getting my money in order. There are a couple of those money things on my list. I need to do some things to save money (and those are in process, by the way). But I also need to start contributing to my 401(k) plan.
At my last job, there was an employer-match for my 401(k). Meaning, I put some of my money into the retirement plan, and then my employer matched that contribution on a dollar-for-dollar basis (up to a point). Well, my new job doesn't have any match. Which kinda sucks. But they do have a 401(k), and even though I'm not getting extra money for participating in the 401(k) plan, there are still good reasons to do it.
For example, the money that goes into my 401(k) plan will be taken from my paycheck before taxes are taken out. That effectively lowers my take-home pay, which sounds like a bad thing, because who doesn't like take-home pay, right? Well, yeah, but by lowering my take-home pay, I'm also decreasing the taxes I pay. While the money I put into my 401(k) can accrue for years, withdrawals are taxed when they are taken out during retirement. So, I'll pay taxes on that money later--when I'm old and senile and won't know what's actually going on ninety percent of the time. Paying taxes won't sting so much when I'm a doddering old idiot! See? Problem solved.
Anyway. The point is that I signed up for my 401(k) last week. So that thing's crossed off my list! Hoo-ray!