roadmap to success
You do NOT need a financial planner!
If you can use a calculator and navigate the internet, you can reasonably perform any and all tasks related to your personal finances. Knowing your usernames and passwords for your retirement and bank accounts is key.
Save, Save, Save
Most experts recommend that you save 15-20% of your income in retirement accounts. This refers to your gross income, not your net income. Your gross income is your income before taxes and other items are removed. Your net income is what you take home. For someone who makes $50,000 a year before taxes, they should be saving $7,500-10,000 annually for retirement.
Figure Out Your “Number”
How much do you need to have saved before you can retire? It’s easy. Simply determine how much money you’ll need per year in retirement, and multiple that figure by 25. Would you like to live off of $50,000 per year in retirement? You’ll need $1.25 million to retire. Is your number closer to $30,000 per year? You’ll need $750,000. This simple equation is based on a 4% annual withdrawal rate, which was determined in the Trinity Study.
Get Out of Debt, Quick!
Your low interest rate mortgage is fine, as long as you didn't buy too much house (i.e. keep your mortgage balance less than 2x your annual salary). Get rid of the car payments, the student loan payments, and—most importantly—the credit card payments!
Set your retirement account with your employer (i.e. your 401k, 403b, etc.) to autopilot and automatically save 15-20% on every paycheck. That money should never even hit your bank account. Does 15-20% of your annual salary exceed your 401k/403b limit ($19500 for 2020)? Max out your Health Savings Account (HSA) next. Don’t have an HSA? Max out your an IRA instead. Still need to save more? Open up a brokerage account at Vanguard or Fidelity and deposit regular, monthly amounts until you hit your 15-20% goal.