This is the first guest post I’m hosting at Gen Y Wealth. We all have a different angle on personal finance that no one else has in this world. If you have anything interesting to say, and would like to write a post, let me know.
Bryan is a 25-year-old nomad. He spends his weekdays working with large companies to help improve HR processes and design and his weekends escaping to various cities across the US. He enjoys skiing, golfing, sailing, reading, personal finance, entrepreneurship and his girlfriend (in no particular order . Bryan has a knack for planning, setting goals and networking with people of similar interests. He strives to understand what is truly important in life and then designing a lifestyle to maximize those things.
An interesting concept of personal financial and retirement planning is the paradox relating knowledge and time.
When you have a lot of time to invest before you need the funds – i.e. you’re young – you typically don’t have the knowledge of how, why, when, what or where to invest. It’s a paradox. As you get older, you gain more knowledge, yet you lose valuable time. And what I mean by valuable time is just that – it’s VALUE-ABLE.
Losing years before truly actively investing for retirement can cost countless amounts of funds at retirement. It’s the time-value of money. A concept you should know and understand.
This is why I advocate, “getting set-up” at a young age. When you earn your first job (and trust me you’ll have to earn it these days) it’s the perfect time to get set-up…
- To set a personal financial strategy
- To understand how, why, when, what and where to invest
- To set yourself up for a comfortable retirement.
So, what do I mean by “getting set-up”? What are the why’s, how’s, when’s, what’s and where’s of personal finance? These are not all simple, but they’re worth understanding:
The government will most likely not be able to provide for people our age (RJ’s note: A statement I agree with) when we get to retirement age. It’s therefore your responsibility to take control of your finances and prepare yourself for financial freedom. No one else will do it for you.
I actively manage all my money by aggregating it on mint.com (RJ’s note: I use a combination of Mint and a Spreadsheet) and by doing quarterly reviews of where I am, where I want to be and put in place financial goals I want to accomplish.
Use vehicles with tax advantages, i.e. IRA, Roth IRA, 401(k), Roth 401(k) and use them to buy stocks and bonds. Talk to your company about a 401(k) and talk to your bank about IRAs (RJ’s note: A bank wouldn’t be the first place I look for an IRA. I would recommend doing it yourself).
These vehicles all have limits on contributions (which should tell you they’re a good idea) so try to max them out or contribute as much as you can. I have a Roth IRA with Fidelity and max it out each year. I also have a Roth 401(k) in which I contribute about 20% ((RJ’s note: Way to take advantage of your company having a Roth option and contributing 20%!) of my income to. I suggest sticking with Roth’s as their tax advantages are more advantageous for the young crowd.
Now! Not tomorrow, today!
Buy stocks and bonds. Stick to low cost index mutual funds. Do not try to stock-pick or other fancy day trading-like schemes to get rich quick. They don’t work in the long-term. I have a small percentage or my portfolio invested in bonds and a majority invested in equity funds where most of that is in US equity funds.
Buy low cost bond and equity index funds. Asset allocation is important. Buy less bond funds and more equity funds when you’re young. Include international equity funds as well. I primarily invest in the Fidelity Spartan Investor Class Fund. My general rule is for the fund to have .1% fees or less (RJ’s note: I’m about 90/10 stocks vs. bonds for my retirement accounts).
Thanks Bryan for taking the time to write. If you want to guest post for Gen Y Wealth, just head on over to the write for us page.