I’ve been meaning to set up a SEP IRA for a while now. I want to be able to contribute more to retirement than just the standard IRA, especially now that we have Tim’s check back.
But it’s always just seemed like too much. Not too much work per se (though I always assumed it’d be a hassle), but just one of those tasks that seems too big and scary to start.
It got even worse when I found out that the SEP would actually need to be through my business. So I can’t just take some of the money from savings and throw it in. At least not without paying into the company, which just makes things more confusing.
Still, I knew I needed to do it. Or at least do something.
So I decided to break it down. I decided that I’d take the smallest possible step: find out the minimum for starting a SEP account. That seemed doable and not (too) scary.
I dialed the number, was on hold for all of about 30 seconds, then was connected to a polite, helpful woman. And by “helpful” I mean that she very kindly, very patiently described everything that went into having a SEP. She even went so far as to do a comparison to an individual 401(k) for me to check which one was a better fit for me.
She made everything so simple and easy that I was able to set up an account right over the phone. Then I just had to log in and finalize a few details, like entering my bank account information and setting up my first draft.
In other words, I now have $500 in a SEP IRA. And it was easy! And just in case that sounded too shill-y, just know this post isn’t sponsored by Vanguard. I’m just that relieved by how easy it was and how much they held my hand.
Now the next big scary thing is to transfer my IRA from my bank to Vanguard where the fees are much lower. I’ve been meaning to do it for, oh I dunno, years but I’m busy/preoccupied/too freaked out by the squishy, uncomfortable situation of asking a company to liquidate my IRA so I can go elsewhere. Not that they’ll take it personally but just try to convince my anxiety of that, I dare you.
Another thing I finally got around to was calling around to CPAs to get my business taxes done. I tried using TaxAct for my return, but there were terms I didn’t understand, and I messed something up and couldn’t figure out how to go back and fix it. So in the end I needed a CPA, and I only have another month until my extension runs out. But finding a tax preparer has just seemed so big and overwhelming.
So I decided to just take the first step and go on Yelp to look for well-reviewed firms. I planned to get a couple of names and deal with them another day. But the phone numbers were just sitting right there in front of me. So I picked up the phone and dialed a few to get estimates for business returns.
The results stung. The cheapest ones started around $500. Some started at $700. My return is simple — one employee, no property to depreciate, very few and very basic expenses — so it should stay on the low-end. But man the low-end seems pretty high!
So after a day or two of indecision/wanting to hide under the covers/seriously considering trying to do the returns myself (until I looked at the returns and my head swam), I decided to go with H&R Block. The low-end there is still $500, but at least it guarantees accuracy. I have an appointment in a couple of hours.
Once I get the return in my hot little hand, I’ll have to talk myself into baby steps doing our personal taxes. Since I’ll be using TaxAct, I think it’ll quickly snowball into getting done all at once. But it’s best if I plan for small, bite-sized chunks of action. And hey, our modest return should help defray (though not cover) the cost of the dang business return.
Do you have to break things down into small steps? What have you recently tricked yourself into getting done?