So... my here and there reading online just turned into a most useful information session. I was led to ING's new offer - easy and cheap investments available through an automated account. We need to do something about our retirement planning!!
That led me on to double check the contribution limits -- $5000 per person for a Roth IRA this year, even for a minor as long as they have actual earned income. And on to Vanguard to see their Roth offerings. And then to a couple of useful articles about Roths for children in Kiplinger and Forbes. That has only increased my determination to get my girls working and contributing before this school year ends. It's the best gift I could give them for their future. (Yes, even better than Hollister shirts.) I didn't know that you can withdraw $10,000 from a Roth tax-free for a down payment on a home. That's just a great savings vehicle for them then!
From there, I started to wonder how much earning potential my writing could have. A check of average advances shows that I can expect about $5000 for adult fiction, maybe $20,000 advance for my nonfiction project, and children's books come in at around $3,000 to $8,000 split between the writer and the illustrator. I also discovered a very active, very close professional society of children's writers. So clearly my next step there is to join them and begin to learn from their expertise and publishing contacts.
I think if I spend even an hour a day on my children's stories, I can finish 6 - 10 per year, with a really well-written, revised and honed product. It seems like the potential return there is almost $1000 per month. Or in other words, my goal from here on out is to devote enough time to my children's works to fund our Roth IRAs for each calendar year. That lets me know that I have to focus on my grant writing business for the other investment/savings income we will need for the next few decades. Yeah. It's a lot, but it's very doable.
The start is something I'm not that good at - STOP doing something. STOP buying so much stuff and instead START saving in an active way. I probably need to make the saving more tangible somehow. I might even need to start transferring the money on a daily basis until I build the habit. Yeah, that's not a bad idea at all!!!
Let's see - $3000 per month is about $100 per day. So every day I should call the bank and put $100 from our checking account into savings. What? Not possible to do right now? Well then now I know that I have to earn enough for that money to be there in the first place!! Actually, we do have some emergency savings tucked away in one account. Maybe I'll just move them into the other savings. And designate it for the future. Yeah. That's a good plan isn't it? The money's still liquid, it's there for a true emergency, it's not taking away our daily needs funds from checking, and yet, it's making a small positive DAILY action to focus me on my goals.