An investor stepped up to the plate this past week and invested his entire retirement savings into The PittMoss™ Development Company and he knows it’s risky. My 401k funds arrived to keep the cash flow healthy while we continue to work toward sustainable revenues. Matt, VJ and I celebrated the new infusion of cash by paying our landlord the two years of rent we owed him. Two crisp dollar bills changed hands that day at Johnston Greenhouses, and sadly, I borrowed them from VJ, who also paid for lunch at Jodi B’s. Anyone see my wallet?
Once I decided to make the jump from full-time employment to full-time entrepreneur, the cashing out of my 401k became a nearly full-time distraction. I watched the market like an exaggeratedly engaged cat watches their prey, over-reacting to any sudden movement, or any shift or transfer of weight. I worried the whole system would crash before I could hold a check in my hand and finally take total control of my future.
If you recall the last six months were a minefield of market altering events, sequesters, Fiscal Cliffs, deadlines, and each of them triggered a call or email to my financial advisor. Can you blame me? Anyone remember 2008? Hell, the commercials about investing in gold as a hedge for the “coming global economic chaos” caused me panic attacks. So I apologize for all that high maintenance behavior Brian. You did give me some excellent advice.
From January 1, 2013 until I cashed out earlier this month, my mutual fund’s performance just about washed the 20% federal tax from my withdrawal. So, in your face Tax Man and a sincere tip o’ the hat to my moneyman. You just can’t believe though how happy I am to be out of that cluster muck.
While I got lucky exiting the market on a high note I honestly could have used that extra 20% to purchase supplies, a critical piece of bagging equipment or hire an additional employee. Please don’t get me wrong; I’m happy to pay my taxes and always have since the age of 12. I am just thinking out loud in terms of stimulating the economy and getting people back to work. Don’t our elected officials always talk a good game about those two goals? Isn’t that always the justification for stimulus spending, large corporate tax abatements or to lure a Hollywood movie production to town?
Average Americans are sick of only being thought of as taxpayers and grazing herds of consumers. We tire of being encouraged to spend to support our increasingly feeble economy. I know it can’t just be me. Federal, State and Local government seem to understand incentive is important for the big company developments, so how about incenting us, the people, the small business people? After all, U.S. Small business employs about 50% of all American workers and represent a third of all export value so it makes sense to stimulate that sector of the economy too.
American workers have nearly $10 Trillion dollars invested in 401Ks and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Can you imagine the dynamic growth that could occur if a tenth of that money was divested from Wall Street and invested on Main Street or the nearby industrial parkway? Now I know people will say, that kind of money leaving “Wall Street” would be devastating. Devastating for whom? The mutual fund managers who celebrate massive layoffs as good management practice and whose outrageous fees destroy our ability to accumulate wealth? Devastating for the publicly traded giants who would rather use our retirement savings, while they sit on nearly $2 Trillion in cash reserves? Oh boo, freaking who!
Can I be the only one out here who has worked and saved for 20 years, yet constantly dreamed of starting a business? NO! Hell no! I don’t believe that. It seems like we’ve run out of ideas to rev up the economy and create new living waged jobs, especially for young adults and minorities who have limited educations and experience. Unemployment and underemployment of those young adults is a national travesty and no one wants to talk about it. That’s shameful!
Why not give 401k, early withdrawal, tax abatement a shot? It is a risk, of course, and businesses often fail. However, older, more seasoned entrepreneurs have better success rates than their younger counterparts, sorry it’s a fact, and can put decades of retirement savings to work along with those young eager workers. Wouldn’t that be an incredible thing to do?
For Additional info watch The Retirement Gamble from Frontline; http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/retirement-gamble/
Small Business Statistics
Big Business Cash Hoard