A question I often get from people beginning their working careers is whether they should wait for the market to cool off a bit before they get started investing. For the new investor, my response is always the same – ignore whatever the market is doing and just get started now. Of course, I totally […]
Now that I’ve recently changed jobs, I’m once again trying to figure out what to do with all of my old retirement accounts. Luckily, I’ve got a little bit of experience in this area. I’ve switched jobs twice in a little over a year – first leaving my biglaw associate position to work as a […]
I’m always on the lookout for tools that I think can make investing easier for people. While we personal finance writers think of investing as really straightforward, the truth is, the logistics of investing really isn’t as simple as we make it out to be. It’s easy for us because we’ve spent hundreds of hours reading and learning about money and investing. Tell me to put my money in a total market fund with Vanguard and I can do that pretty easily. But tell your average person to do the same and I guarantee they won’t understand how to do that.
In an ideal world, investing would be as easy as opening up a bank account. Your average person could just go online, open up an investment account, and then walk away without having to make any decision other than deciding how much money to put into their account.
My brother has a knack for making and saving money. At just 28 years old, he’s managed to build up a sizable net worth – far higher than mine or many other young financial bloggers. If he was involved in the financial blogosphere community, he’d be one of the success stories out there. At his current rate, he could probably be financially independent by his mid-30s (although he isn’t familiar with the concept of financial independence).
What makes his net worth growth really astounding is that it pretty much happened by accident. While he’s always been good at making and saving money, my brother has never been so good at actually knowing what to do with that money. For a long time, he just parked his savings in a regular savings account. When he finally did start investing, he pretty much just walked into a random bank, gave his money to some banker, and asked him to invest it for him. Naturally, that money ended up in expensive, actively traded mutual funds. After all, the banker needed to justify his fees and how could he do that if all he was doing was just putting that money into boring, old, index funds?
I’ve often lamented about getting a late start in the savings game. Unlike many of my peers that went into the workforce at 22 years old, I opted to head off to law school (and goofed off for a year before doing that). Choosing this path meant that I had to take out nearly six figures worth of student loans and made it so that I earned essentially no income for the majority of my twenties. By the time I started my first job, many of my friends had already been in the workforce for 4 or 5 years.
When it comes to late starts though, I don’t think anyone can beat my wife. She spent five years in college, another four years in dental school, did a one-year general practice hospital residency and is now currently in year two of a three-year specialty residency. For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 8 years of post-college training! And unlike medical residencies, most dental residencies pay nothing or offer their residents a tiny stipend (usually a few thousand bucks a year – my wife made about $4,000 total in 2016). By the time Mrs. FP earns her first real paycheck, she’ll be 32 years old. Oh, and she’s also got a healthy six figures of student loan debt to boot. Quite a position to be in at 32 years old.
For me, 2016 will go down as the first year I began aggressively saving for retirement. It sort of bums me out that I’m getting into the savings game so late. At 30 years old, I’m way behind my more financially literate peers, some of whom have already retired or established huge treasure troves of savings. See folks like Millennial Revolution, Money Wizard, and Fiery Millennials.
A part of it is a byproduct of me entering a profession that requires years of extra schooling and a ton of student loans. While most people start their first job at 22 years old, most lawyers won’t start their first job until they’re 26 or 27 years old.