Friday, December 18, 2015

Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try.

I imagine most people are out enjoying the new Star Wars movie that was recently released to theaters. Me? I am updating this blog. The time has come for me to get serious again about my weight. I will be updating this blog with my weight loss journey.

So, it is confession time. With my previous blog, I was always brutally honest about my shortcomings. I am finding it hard to write this though because I had lost close to one hundred pounds. Now, I have gained it all back plus some. My current weight is 356.4 pounds. When I started my previous weight loss journey I was around 350 pounds. I won't make excuses. I did this to myself.

Where do I go from here? Well, I started drinking soda again. That ends tonight. I have always loved soda and it has always been a weakness. In addition, I plan to start doing daily step counts again. To get started, I am going to set those counts very low. Not only am I heavier than when I started last time, my knees have been hurting a bit. I am getting started with just 2500 steps a day. I know that is a very low step count but I want to ease into it. I will ramp it up as I go along.

Naturally, I will be eating healthier as well. I have fallen back into eating out, eating late, and eating too much. I am not saying that I will not eat out anymore. I just need to cut back. I remember that when I first started trying to lose weight, I always felt like I was hungry. I remember going to bed many times with my stomach growling. Well, I will just say that I have not had that happen in quite awhile.

I will be weighing every fifth day of the month. I always found that if I weigh in weekly, I lived like the devil immediately after weighing in because I always felt like I could make up for it later in the week. With five days, I really don't feel like I have that temptation. So, with that said, the next weigh in will occur on December 20th. Yikes! That means I have to weigh in Christmas morning. Guess I will have to be good on Christmas Eve.

On a completely different subject, I am moving blog posts from my old gaming blog site. Feel free to check them out if you like. Some of them are a bit dated and please understand that I wrote that blog kind of tongue in cheek. I would like to think that I possess a sense of humor. You are welcome to disagree. Check back soon for new posts. Goodbye for now!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What Is An IRA?

With every passing year I am getting closer to retirement age. Hey, we all are. I am at an age now where it feels like I should have started setting money aside when  I was younger if I want to retire a millionaire. I can dream, can't I?

Since I have had to figure some of this stuff out on my own, I thought I should share some of what I learned. I imagine everyone has a basic idea of what an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is and what it can do for you, but just in case, here is a quick overview. I will discuss in future posts the differences between the different types of IRAs. Also, please excuse the analogies that I share, I tried to make them different than the books that I have read on the subject so that I am not copying anyone (I hope).

An IRA is kind of like a grocery bag. At grocery stores, they used to ask if you wanted your groceries bagged in paper or plastic. Nowadays the options are probably more like plastic or the reusable shopping bags. Similarly, IRAs are offered with either pre-tax or after-tax benefits. As I mentioned above, I will present more on the different types of IRAs and their specific benefits in future blog posts.

Typically, grocery bags are used to store items that you have purchased. This makes them easier to transport until you reach your destination. Similarly, an IRA is used to store your investments until you reach your destination (retirement). An IRA can store many different kinds of investments. You can own stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, and even savings accounts inside an IRA. I will most likely discuss each of those types of investments in future blog posts. For now, just know that an IRA holds the different investments that you choose to place in it until you reach retirement.

Why not own some or all of these investments outside of an IRA? You could certainly choose to do so and it might even be beneficial. The primary reason to store them inside an IRA is due to tax treatment. This is likely a gross oversimplification, but pre-tax IRAs provide a tax savings now, grow tax-deferred, then taxes are paid on the investments when they are sold and income is taken at retirement age. After-tax IRAs (taxes were already paid on this money prior to entering the IRA) provide tax-free growth and no taxes are paid when the investments are sold and income taken at retirement age.

I hope that this blog post was helpful. If you notice any mistakes or would like clarification on anything, please leave me a comment below. I may edit this post with more concise information in the future, but for now, this should suffice. Thanks for reading and I appreciate your feedback.