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Old 06-21-2013, 02:04 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Acworth, GA
Posts: 219
My Ride: 2010 Infiniti G37
Originally Posted by iloveyou View Post
Just started my first real job and I need some advice on what to do with my money.

I'm definitely gonna open a Roth and a 401k can't do that until I have been with my company for a year.

Now I have heard conflicting things on savings account. Some people have said to get your 6 month of savings before investing any money in retirement or anything else for that matter. Also should I put my savings in a savings account or something else with a higher return ?

And finally what types of investments should I invest my extra couple hundred bucks a month in ?
First off, congratulations on getting your first real job!

Now, on to the fun stuff...

You have 1 year until you can start your 401(k). Obviously, not knowing your personal financial details makes giving specific recommendations impossible so here are some generic ones. Save at least 2-3 months worth of expenses as fast as you can and put this in a liquid account. I recommend (especially for people who haven't yet been able to really "live outside their means") that a person aim to spend no more than 50% of their gross income when starting out. If you can do that, or get close to it, then you will be setting yourself up for financial success in the future. Not to mention, 50% of your gross with your first real job is still probably an upgraded lifestyle from what you had before then.

So, assuming you can do that, we'll assume the rest after taxes is 100% of your "total savings". Of that, initially put all of that away for your emergency savings. Doing so should let you get to 3 months of expenses saved within 6 months. Once that is established, switch to 50% of your total savings going to emergency savings and 50% going to a Roth IRA (assuming your first job isn't in a 28% income-tax bracket). When you get to 9 months put away in your emergency savings (easily done by the end of year two if you can follow this advice), then raise your retirement savings to 90% of your total savings and continue putting 10% in your emergency savings (this is to account for making it grow to ensure you can handle setbacks/problems in the future and cover increases in pay over time).

When that 90% maxes out your tax-advantaged retirement accounts eventually, then you just put in your maximum tax-advantaged amount and start investing in your own personal brokerage account with half of what you can no longer put in and you put the other half towards increases in lifestyle.

Similarly, when you get a pay raise, since you are using a percentage of your income then 1/2 of that raise will go to lifestyle increases and 1/2 will go towards investments/saving. Until, of course, you are no longer investing/saving half because you have maximized your tax-advantaged contributions.

This is very generic because of lack of details available, but is a solid foundation. Specifics (like whether to invest in a 401(k), Roth IRA etc) are situation dependent and I don't know your situation's specifics so I can't give you advice on that at the moment.

As far as "where" to allocate investments, here is a very basic primer on selecting allocations for limited fund plans (such as most 401(k)'s etc)

Here is a spreadsheet to help with that if you choose to use it:
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