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20 Year Guy's Plan for Sucess!
Old 12-09-2014, 06:10 PM   #1
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20 Year Guy's Plan for Sucess!

Hey everyone, I have been lurking for a while on here, and I thought I post just to see what you all think. Sorry the post in long, but it feels good to talk towards like minded people.

I know I am way too young to know what the future will hold, and I also know I am a ways away from retirement. However, I am not too young to set myself for a hopefully comfortable retirement. I am currently a college student studying Mech Engineering. Hopefully going for masters, as the university partners with local companies to pay for the tuition. Many of those partnered companies offer engineering grads 90k+ jobs out of college. I am quite frugal unless it's something I know I need, or really want. I am very good at not needing the latest and greatest. I shop at goodwill, and I do most shopping online to get the best prices.

Financial details:

College: I have been quite fortunate and unfortunate at the same time. Most of my college is paid for using life insurance money my mom split between my sister and I and put into 529 savings plans. It is unfortunate that I lost my dad in order to pay for college. This should pay for most of my degree. I have had to pay for some things yearly out of my own pocket. When I get to my junior and senior years, I'll have to do a co-op each year to get credit. Minimum hourly wage is 15.00, and most students bank between 25000.00-45000.00 by the time they get their bachoelers degree. If the co-op offers it, I'll put into a 401k and roll it into a Roth IRA when I'm done there. If not, I'll dump it into mutal funds and possibly buy myself a newer used car. We'll see how my cars are in two years.

Taxable Income: 6800.00 yearly

This comes from my main job. I work full time when I'm out of school at one of my family memberís store. It is hard work, but I enjoy it. I am 9.00 hourly and soon to get another .50 raise. I work 15-20 hours weekly during the school year, and about 38-50 hours a week during the summer. It is a dry marina, so itís more seasonal work.

Nontaxable income (or at least not reported): 4500.00

In this I include gift money, I donate my plasma, little and odd jobs for some people. I also include the education tax credit I get back (1000), and what I get from my tax return (500-900). My mom is just above the threshold of making too much, and it makes slightly better financial sense for me to file separately. This also allows me to feel more "independent" and have better control over my own life.


Roth IRA: 11500.00

I started one when I turned 18 and have just finished maxing it out for my second year. I use most of the money I make at work to fund this monthly. It has done well the past 2 years. I am invested in vanguards healthcare fund, S&P500 fund, and a NASDAQ heavy fund.

Taxable brokerage: 14000.00

As soon as I turned 18, I also opened one at Vanguard and currently have most of that money in their S&P 500 funds, and I also have some money in their retire 2060 funds. This account on average since I have had it returns roughly 500-1000 yearly.

Savings: 4000.00 - some money I have sitting around just in case the car decides to throw something my way, or to pay for other things.


I own two, both 15 years old and do all of my own maintenance and repairs. Bought both for great prices and they have both been very reliable. I got my car when I turned 16, and faced one Michigan winter in it. When I was 17, I bought a cheap 4x4 that still gets me through our snow just fine. Both bought with cash.

I bought at a steal, 2000 under actual value, and I love it! Not bad to insure, and this is my getaway from life and stress activity. Also bought with cash.


I currently have not debt besides my credit card, which avergaes between 50-200 a month I put on it to maintain my credit score. I pay it off montly. I don't know why, but I was given a 15000.00$ credit limit when I got the card at 18. Kind of scarey that a bank would give a 18 year old that much spending power! A few months ago, it was raised to 18000.00. My credit score is 745, which is very good considering my age.

Health Insurance:

I'm on my moms very good blue cross blue shield plan until I'm 26, or until I get that full time job. They offered this even before the AHCA was enacted.

I know that working a ton is bad for you, but I do love to work. I try to implement work and fun at the same time. I also do get a few weeks off every year to travel with family.


I am going to be a sinlge inheritor in 20-30 years for my aunt, who has no children of her own. we are very close, and I am the executor of her estate when I turn 21. She makes very good money, and has a nice house. I will inherit half of my mom's estate, and split the other half with my sister. hopefully atleast 30-40 years away. Mom is very financially well off, saved most of her life, and owns everything she has. She also has long term care insurance, life insurance, and more than enough in savings for her retirment. I expect no costs in the future from her.

I would love to retire by age 55, and as long as the economic system doesn't collapse for good, long periods of stagnation don't happen, or we all blow ourselves, I should be fairly well off when I come close to retirment. I will max out my 401k when I start out workingm and continue to max out my Roth IRA. I will put extra into taxable accounts, and build up my liquid savings all when I land that first salaried job.

When I do go to purchase my first house, it will be modest and affordable. I'll save up enough to make atleast a 10%-20% downpayment and pay extra monthly. Mom did this, and paid her house off in 17 years on a 30 year.

This is my plan for future financial success. Replies and criticism are very welcome. Thanks for reading such a long post!

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Old 12-09-2014, 06:30 PM   #2
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Not sure what many here could add. You are doing extremely well and seem to be applying more brainpower than about 99.99% of college students, me and my kids included. Carry on...

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Old 12-09-2014, 06:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mrmoney View Post
I would love to retire by age 55, and as long as the economic system doesn't collapse for good, long periods of stagnation don't happen, or we all blow ourselves, I should be fairly well off when I come close to retirement.
AWAY, blow ourselves AWAY

Sounds like you have a great plan. Best of luck in getting that $90K/yr job right out of school.
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Old 12-09-2014, 07:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mrmoney View Post
Hey everyone, I have been lurking for a while on here...
And paying attention, too. Go get 'em, mrmoney.

A few comments:

If you approach it the right way, the chance to learn from real-world engineers in the co-op program will be very valuable to you both personally and professionally. I'm over 30 years into my engineering career, and I think back to some of my intern experiences with both fondness and appreciation.

Finding a partner will probably be in your future. Having similar values and objectives on lifestyle and children is important. A similar attitude about money is not the only criteria, or even the first, but it's important.

Have fun along the way. Take the job with interesting assignments over the grinder with the highest pay. Live where there are broad variety of people and activities. Don't be afraid to change course a bit once in a while - moving through life toward a retirement goal on a straight line isn't a life well-lived.
No doubt a continuous prosperity, though spendthrift, is preferable to an economy thriftily moral, though lean. Nevertheless, that prosperity would seem more soundly shored if, by a saving grace, more of us had the grace to save.

Life Magazine editorial, 1956
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Old 12-09-2014, 07:08 PM   #5
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Well done, Mrmoney. The only advice I have is to remember that life is long. You don't have to stick with the first job, or even career, that you land in. If it is not making you happy, don't be afraid to try something else. LBYM from the start will serve to maximize your options (i.e. - you won't be handcuffed to a job you don't like just for the money.)
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
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Old 12-10-2014, 08:29 AM   #6
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Great job so far! I am also an engineer, and paid my own way through school by working part-time during school and full time during summers at Engineering jobs to gain some skills and insight into what engineers do in real world. I call it my J-O-B scholarship. This enabled me to graduate essentially free from debt and able to start getting ahead sooner than if having that debt around my neck for many years. It also made me be on the 5 year plan since never did summer school and also did some co-op experience with time off school. I worked full time since 15 years old and part time all through school. Don't be afraid of hard work, it helps you realize what it takes to make some money and appreciate what you have.

Stay for the master's, that seems now what a bachelor's was back in my time approx 30 years ago. I was tired of being poor and broke, so while I had the acceptance and even stipend for MS, I chose to go to work instead. Not necessarily bad, but remember once you have that piece of paper, it can benefit you throughout your career. It is yours forever and it does carry some weight when being compared to others. I think $90K with an MS when you graduate is a realistic figure and plan.

I see similarities with you having two cars and motorcycle, I also had that at approx same age as you. For me the motorcycle was more of convenience for parking at school but it was also fun. Nothing wrong with upgrading your cars if needed, just avoid brand new and be smart about it. My current daily driver is 18 years old now, although my wife's car is only 7 years old.

You have more money invested now than most people with 10 more years than you have! That is great, and with your financial smarts and the power of compounding over time, I am very confident you will be able to retire by 55 if not sooner. Keep up the good work, you are off to a great start.
I used to have a handle on life....... but it broke!

Semi-Retired 7/1/16: working part-time (60%) for now
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:03 AM   #7
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Under that plan you will be in a high tax bracket upon FIRE. All the money you've put in a traditional 401k, plus decades of growth, will be taxed at ordinary rates (maximum taxation!). In that scenario, instead of maxing your 401k contribs, consider contributing only up to the employer match, and take the rest as salary for investment in growth stocks that pay no dividends. Let those growth stocks do their thing for decades, and when you later sell you'll pay tax at the cap gains rate, historically lower than ordinary income rate. Barring tax law changes, you'll have more after-tax wealth with that approach.
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Old 12-10-2014, 10:31 AM   #8
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You are doing great! Wish I had done the planning and analysis you've already accomplished when I was 20!

You are on track to FIRE if you keep it up....much earlier than 55 I suspect

Two pieces of advice:

- Remember to have fun. You can do this without spending a lot of money; enjoy life

- Find the right partner. Don't rush this - I waited until I was 40 - an I absolutely found the right Lady

Best of luck!!!

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