It’s safe to say that few people really know Roth Ira. He comes off as an enigma; he has a fancy name and, from a distance, sounds exotic and complicated. Once you get to know him, though, he’s actually pretty likable. In fact, if you give just a little to your friendship, he’d do almost anything for you.
I first met Roth Ira when I was in my early 20s. I was just starting my career, and my employer didn’t offer a retirement plan. I walked into Security National Bank and, as luck would have it, Roth Ira happened to join me in the meeting with my financial advisor. It turned out we had a lot in common. We both felt we had only started our earning potential, we both didn’t want to pay a lot in taxes when we retired, and we both preferred a little more flexibility in our retirement options, especially when it came to estate planning and saving for our kids' education.
And that’s when our friendship was born.
In our first five years, Roth Ira and I had our ups and downs. At times it was easy to match his steady energy, and my annual contribution to our friendship was priceless (but, on paper, was exactly $5,500). There were other times, though, when life got in the way. Still, I gave what I could each month, and as time and finances would allow. He never complained, and happily welcomed what I gave him. Roth is nice like that.
As I grew my family, income, and career, Roth Ira grew along with me. He was always on the sidelines as my safety net. His growing influence helped me purchase my first home. The bank liked the fact that I had a strong relationship with friends like Roth who they knew I’d have long into retirement. In fact, Roth himself offered to withdrawal up to $10,000 towards my home purchase with no strings attached, and I almost took him up on it, but my financial advisor and I determined it was better to save it for a later time. Still, it was nice to know the offer was there.
I think my favorite thing about Roth is his wholehearted belief in paying it forward. I know he’ll be there for me when I turn 59 1/2, ready to uncork the champagne bottle of early retirement with no taxes or penalties. I also know can keep investing in our friendship long after I’m 70 1/2 if I keep working at it—at least part-time. I know that whenever I decide to retire, he will be there to top off all of my other retirement friendships without cramping my style or my tax bracket. I also know that when it’s my time to go, he will continue to provide those benefits for my children with that same tax-free, unconditional reward, as long as they make sure to use it wisely during their lifetimes (and I’m sure they will).
Everyone deserves a Roth Ira in their lives. I am so grateful for mine.
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