27 from Boston
Hi all -
I'm 27 and living in the Boston area. I work at an investment management firm. I'm currently in an Operations role, but am pursuing the CFA and would like to start a part time MBA in Fall 2013, with the ultimate goal of working in investment research.
I took a couple years off after college to travel and 'find myself', so I feel a bit farther behind than some of the folks I went to school with. Currently, I have:
18k Retirement (2.5k of which is Roth)
(31.5k) Student Debt @5%
(5.2k) Credit Card @ 6.75%
I just started a new job @50k per year. Bonuses generally run 15%-20%, and the company puts 15% of your 401k at the end of each year. I'm contributing at 10%, so my annual contribution should be 12.5k (and will hopefully move up over the next several years). A great perk is that I can go for the MBA part time and get fully reimbursed for tuition, fees, and books, up to 16 credits per year. I'm eligible after 1 year, the MBA is 64 credits, and I'm fully vested at 5 years, so it looks like I'll probably be at this company for at least 5 years. The work life is also very good, so it's an ideal place to be if I'm working and going to school.
So, of course, there are other thoughts that I'm playing around with, or rather, questioning. In order to break into a role as an investment analyst (particularly equities), it's ideal to go full time to the best MBA program you can get into. I think that my test scores, grades, story, etc, could get me into a competitive program. That said, I would emerge at 30-32 with enormous debt, especially as I'm already in the red. I talk about this a lot with friends who are making the same types of decisions, and it's a very personal decision, but I think I'm at the point where I don't want the risk associated with that level of debt. Instead, I would rather the risk of emerging from a part time MBA (at Boston University probably) with a less than dream job. But, I would be in a much better financial position and would not be trapped by debt (i.e., have no choice but to work 60 hour weeks, as the jobs that offer the money necessary to pay my loans require it).
I think I'm digressing. Anyways, that's where I'm at. For the near future, I'll probably just continue investing as I have been. Once I learn a lot more about investment analysis, I would like to put the riskiest portion of my portfolio, or perhaps a side 'fun fund' to work picking my own stocks.
I want to retire early because I have had some great experiences traveling, jumping around from activity to activity, etc., and would like to do that again, but would like to do so in a sustained fashion and I think that the time to do that (after college, of course) is retirement. I'll travel over the next 25 years, but I'll have to do it in 1-2 week spurts.
To be honest, I'm not even certain that I'll retire early. I really enjoy work. I hope to do well, learn a lot, and make a difference at whichever organizations I work at. However, I want to take the steps now to make sure that I have the ability to retire should I decide at that point that it's what I want. I've browsed a bit and look forward to learning more from everyone here. It's nice to have a place like this to learn and to discuss a topic that's a bit taboo while hanging out with friends at a bar.