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19 years old, just getting started
Old 04-16-2013, 07:35 PM   #1
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19 years old, just getting started

Well, hi! I have checked in on the site before, but never spoken. I'm a very shy speaker, so I'm not sure how much I'll post, but I thought it might be good to try and get involved with a community of savers to inspire me along my life journey.

My boyfriend and I are both very big savers, and would like to get a level of FI in the future to really enjoy doing what we want without the major worries of large disasters.We're in a great position to do so without having to pay for our own healthcare, aside from copays, for 3 more years for him and 7 more years for myself before we're off of our parents' plans, so we really plan on buckling down and saving until then.

Currently, we've got $12,000 in emergency savings, $7,000 in CDs, $5,000 in my ROTH IRA, $10,000 in his ROTH IRA, and $3,000 in cash. We each took $500 back in 2011 to put into stocks and try our hand and individual trading, and I am negative( ) while he's stayed around the same place, so that leaves around $900 there.

Monthly spending is $1,500 give or take, and monthly income varies between $2,000 and $6,000 depending on the month, averaging around $4,600 a month according to one of our bank's automatic budget trackers.

I have no current specific goal except for save, save, save. I've got my end of 2013 goals to add $5,500 to each of our ROTHs, $4,000 to emergency savings, and $1,000 to our general cash. As far as my retirement goal, I'm not exactly sure what that is. I see a lot of people want to retire, but still work at a job they like, but gives them the flexibility and time to do as they please, and our job is already very similar to that.

We work from where we like, when we like, so we travel as often as we sit around in our pajamas all day, and I really do love this life. So the main reason I want to save so badly for retirement as early as possible is so that I can continue living this way even if our work dries up.

I figured joining a community of people farther along in the process than I am would give me good ideas on where you all went, or feel you should have gone, to get off to a good running start.

So hello, again!
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:31 PM   #2
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Welcome! Pretty impressive savings and a great attitude for a 19 year old. A+ for Roth. Stay away from individual stocks and stick to mutual fund - you would just do fine. All the best and nice to see young folks like you serious about savings.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:43 PM   #3
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Here a great book to get:

The Investor's Manifesto: Preparing for Prosperity, Armageddon, and Everything in Between.

Good luck!
FIREd at 46, 8/31/11
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:50 PM   #4
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Great start. No details on education, so I would suggest your first investment be in yourselves with a quality education. As Ben Franklin said
"Genius without education is like silver in the mine, and An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

You are off to a great start - keep the mindset of living below your means and you will find that by starting at age 19, you will be "most of the way there" by the time you are 35....maybe even sooner!

Find a job or work that you love to do and are passionate about and you will likely succeed beyond your wildest dreams.

Then FIRE and enjoy life.
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:56 PM   #5
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It looks like you are on the right track. Welcome to the forum.
Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:20 AM   #6
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Very impressive. At 19 I wasn't thinking about much more than booze and girls. Mostly girls.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older. This is not what I expected.
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:02 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Arifriekinel View Post
... I figured joining a community of people farther along in the process than I am would give me good ideas on where you all went, or feel you should have gone, to get off to a good running start. ...
With your attitude and understanding, at your age, you've got it made!

I'm "further along in the process" (aka old) so here are some things I regret that I'll pass along:
* Carried credit card debt (until I got married & DW cut up the card!)
* Was too conservative in investment choices when I was young.
* Invested in individual stocks.
* Invested too much in high-fee, managed mutual funds.
* Borrowed against my 401k.

Good luck!
"It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating". Oscar Wilde
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Old 04-17-2013, 09:07 AM   #8
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Thanks for the welcome guys! Papadad, as far as education goes, I've been choosing world education over collegiate.

I left my parents house at 17 and went right off to college, and spent a few thousand student loan bucks for a semester where I performed terribly. I hadn't done well in school since elementary school, and the only reason I got in, honestly, was because of an incredibly high SAT score and merit scholar status, because my grades were nothing to smile at.

After going for a while, once I started doing my own work, networking, and gaining experience, really excelling outside while doing not-so-much inside, I sat down and discussed my path with a few people, and came out of it thinking that an education from work was the route I'd prefer to go. I'll have to be the one who applies with the 'or two years of equivalent experience' qualifier if I do ever have to work for someone else, but I sure hope I don't.

I feel that, while I'm making a name for myself, and a decent amount of money, building a portfolio of coding, a network of peers, and a rising list of clients and references, I'm doing what's best for me at the time.

So, I'm not getting a more traditional education, but I'm getting one that benefits me on a personal level. I may have continued college if I had any momentum but downwards, but instead I'm going where the most growth for me is at the moment. If I do ever choose to go back, I hope it to be in motivated circumstances, where there's a reason I need that degree. I won't be so happy not to be working for myself any more if that becomes the case, but I'll be a different person by then, most likely

As for right now, self-education is my way to go!

And racy, I hope to never carry credit card debt! I paid off my student loans last year, which helped me start some credit (and seems to be the only way to start nowadays!) and get a credit card this year, which I charge up to 10% of its balance, because I hope to be able to get a good rate on a mortgage when (if) my boyfriend and I are done traveling and ready to settle down and buy a home one day.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:05 AM   #9
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Many challenges lie ahead. Always save, even if it is a little. Enjoy life while you are young.
"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do" --Bob Dylan.
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Old 04-17-2013, 12:34 PM   #10
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You are obviously way ahead of the curve when it comes to your finances. I would however consider finishing your college degree. Unfortunately in the world we live in today, you will top out pretty quickly when it comes to salary with no degree. Employers often can't quantify "experience" without that piece of paper. On the relationship end, be cautious about combining your finances with your boyfriend. Alot can change in your 20s, and you don't want a huge financial mess on your hands if you ever break up. Until you are married, just keep things separate, that way there will be no conflicts over who gets what.
Other than that, welcome and you are off to a great start!
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Old 04-17-2013, 01:46 PM   #11
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You have a great attitude and some good tools to help you in your financial life. Retirement is a long way off for your, even ER, so you should set yourself some nearer term goals like maybe buying a home and paying off the mortgage. So You don't seem to have 401ks yet so a good goal might be to improve your job benefits. Finally I'd stay away from individual stock gambling, sorry investing. Educate yourself about low cost mutual funds and check out firms like Vanguard and Fidelity. You don't mention where or how you have your ROTHs invested, but make sure you have an AA appropriate for your age and goals and that your fees are as low as possible
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Current AA: 75% Equity Funds / 15% Bonds / 5% Stable Value /2% Cash / 3% TIAA Traditional
Retired Mar 2014 at age 52, target WR: 0.0%,
Income from pension and rent
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Old 04-17-2013, 02:52 PM   #12
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tkopel- We keep most of our accounts as separate as possible for those very reasons A few are combined, like our business accounts, because we're both one combined corporation. We just pay ourselves whatever salary is the best for taxes at the time, and keep what we don't pay ourselves in the joint business account. But our $12k emergency savings is split evenly between our two personal accounts to make any break up as simple as possible. Everything we own is 50-50 really, because there's no real way for us of measuring who has done what.

I'm definitely not writing a degree off for the future if I ever have to work for a company not interested in my portfolio, and I graduated high school only one semester away from an AA thanks to testing, and then promptly failed trying that semester by going to another school. My main asset right now is my network, which includes a large amount of business owners more interested in a portfolio of what I can do than a degree. I think the best part of being independent is that I've been judged on the quality of my work, getting me in consulting circles with some incredible executives, which'll also really benefit me if I do decide to get a degree and work for someone

nun- Thanks! Getting a home is definitely something I want to do in the future! I think saving for a nice, juicy downpayment is one of my newest long term goals. I'm so afraid to stop traveling. I live in Florida, so there is a ton to see around here, and we're going to start our first international tour next year, which I am just so excited for! I also want to have a very large emergency fund for the future, as I hope to have and adopt at least two children, as well as own a house.

Do you recommend a self-employed 401k? Our CPA recommended ROTH IRAs for us because we're an S-Corp, but I don't have a whole lot of knowledge on opening our own 401k, and the company I worked for before running off on my own didn't offer one. My own ROTH I mostly trusted to a banker who has handled a couple of friends' finances in the past. I'm not clear on a few of the details, since I wanted to get started as early as possible. It's a very recently opened American Funds roth with $2,500 in a Capital Income Builder Class A and $2,500 in a New Economy Fund Class A, both set to reinvest dividends. I've got the papers on all the info, so if there's anything more specific, I'm happy to peek at it for ya to give you more info if you've got any improvement tips. I'm doing as much research as I can, but I let the banker take the lead, because nothing beats experience right now.
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