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Staying the retirement course

May 21st, 2015 at 11:36 am

This is the third time I am trying to do this post. I keep losing it. Retirement savings isn't about amounts, but it helps to save more. What does help is staying the course. CCF mentioned savings, we've had a few good years but staying the course helped the most. This is our retirements savings 12/31/....

2005 - $6457 - only my IRA since DH wasn't eligible until now

2006 - $34,782 - $8k IRA, $15k 401k, $2947 401k match = $2378

2007 - $67,785 - $8k IRA, $15.5k 401k, $6079 401k match = $3424

2008 - $74,245 - $10k IRA, $15.5k 401k, $6172 401k match = -$25,212 (big loss)

2009 - $117,055 - $10k IRA, $16.5k 401k, $6951 401k match = $9359

2010 - $196,368 - $10k IRA, $16.5k 401k, $7438 401k match = $45375

2011 - $232,524 - $10k IRA, $16.5k 401k, $7385 401k match = $2271

2012 - $302,841 - $10k ira, $17k 401k, $8318 401k match = $35,009

2013 - $443,762 - $11k IRA, $17.5k 401k, $8099 401 match = $104,322 (best year ever)

2014 -$514,544 - $11k IRA, $17.5k 401k, $8967 401k match = $33315

2015 - YTD $577,571

Our contributions have been $94,493 IRA and $147,500 401k = $241,993/514544 = 41.89% contributed. The matches have contributed $62356/514,544 = 12% of retirement. So our "contributions" in all have been $304,349/514,544 = 59.15% and we've "gained" about 40% of our money from returns. I think that number will start to skew soon towards returns. Also the match is the only thing that kept us positive for MANY years. Even without it though we would have kept on investing aggressively and I think having the first few years our money go down made us able to buy more.

I suspect that having the market tank when we started investing was better for us. Now if we can "retire" and pull out when the market is going up and hitting a peak we'd probably have "Ideally timed" the market.

There has been a few good years but in the beginning honestly it was pretty flat. My contributions and that was it. I would say it would have been easy to stop contributing and say what a waste. But staying the course was harder and more worth it.


And MM - If we contribute nothing for another 15 years and "retire" at 50 with an average of 6% returns we'd have $1.4M. With our current investment amounts we'll have $2.2M. I think we should be set to not save more, but we probably will.

6 Responses to “Staying the retirement course”

  1. SecretarySaving Says:

    You have done a great job!

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    That match makes a huge difference!! The military doesn't give a match, but there is a pension after 20 years...just another 8 to go.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    So true!

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    P.S. I look back and now realize all those years I thought we were doing the "bare minimum" were the "heavy lifting" years, for us. We've consistently averaged 12% of gross income into retirement vehicles, since graduating college at 23. We were just kind of doing the minimum of what we thought we should do. 15 years later and we realize it doesn't really matter if we keep contributing or not. It's surprising to realize that the hard part is behind us and compounding does most the work going forward.

  5. VS_ozgirl Says:

    That's inspiring stuff!

  6. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    CCF, decided to do run the numbers on the contributions, match, and returns. Our contributions have been $94,493 IRA and $147,500 401k = $241,993/514544 = 41.89% contributed. The matches have contributed $62356/514,544 = 12% of retirement. So our "contributions" in all have been $304,349/514,544 = 59.15% and we've "gained" about 40% of our money from returns. I think that number will start to skew soon towards returns. I think we've hit the tipping point of really making returns over contributions. If you also noticed that our match is what kept us in the positive for many of the first few years! But even without it I think we'd have kept on investing so aggressively.

    MM I didn't realize that a lot of our heavy lifting was done during the markets down years. And by constantly ploughing money in I think we managed to catch more upside for now.

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