All your investments are turnin’ sour.
Kinda spoils your happy hour. “
~Bonnie Riatt (Hell to Pay)

My first retirement account was set up while I was living outside the country. My parents met with their financial adviser, determined a game plan in the “best interests of my financial future”, and sent me papers to sign. I was 22, far away, and confused; I signed the papers without fully understanding what was written. To this day, I’ve still never met that adviser, and the statements are still mailed to my parents’ address, two states away.

About a year ago, my parents had a meeting to discuss their finances, and they also asked about my account. The adviser told them that the wrong type of account had been set up for me and should be changed immediately, as it would be most beneficial to me in the long run. This time around, I had enough knowledge about retirement accounts to understand why the change should be made, although I still do not understand why the account wasn’t set up right to begin with. Absent from the meeting, I didn’t have the opportunity to ask questions, so again, I just signed the papers and mailed them back.

Fast forward to yesterday. I finished my taxes! And I owe money! A lot of money. Nine. Hundred. Dollars.

My Traditional IRA, where taxes are paid upon withdrawal, was converted to a Roth IRA, where taxes are paid before deposit. I grudgingly admit it makes sense that I owe taxes. It does not make sense that this wasn’t clearly spelled out a year ago, so I’d have time to set money aside. In the near future, I will be firing my parents’ financial adviser.

But first, can I borrow some cash?


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There is a Chinese Proverb that states: "A bird does not sing because it has the answers. It sings because it has a song." This is my song. I don't pretend to have the answers.

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