Updated: Nov 11, 2019
See how I would start making money if I were starting from scratch knowing what I know now
1) Putting Financial Ambitions into Motion
First, and of the highest priority, I would figure out where all my money is going. Not only is this a first step it is also a MUST MAINTAIN step. On any given day I want to be able to tell someone how much money is coming in and how much is going out at what rate too.
2) Create Positive Cash Flow
From my research on budgeting I'd want to make sure that there is more money coming in than leaving, otherwise there's a big problem. It's going to sound silly but there are two ways to manage this. Make more or lose less. To make more I might want to take more shifts, find another job, or work on a side hustle. To lose less I recommend credit card churning (If there's not a problem with credit card debt!), sticking to a budget, and dropping expenses.
3) The Foundation
From that point on I would aim to create a comfortable foundation. I'd like this to be enough money to cover my regular expenses for 3-6 months just in case something terrible where to happen and I need the money in the short term.
For this I would research high interest credit unions near where I work, where I live, and used by any relatives (I have found this method to be the best balance for high interest rates and access to cash, if needed. See our article here). Although these credit unions are great they are often limited and probably would not meet my minimum for the expenses. Lastly for the foundation, I'd find a high interest savings account like the ones in our article.
4) Investing - Employer Matched
Most employers offer a retirement fund that even match your contributions to a certain extent (And hopefully a Roth option for the younger readers which we love to use ourselves). Often times we are asked how much we should put in and the answer is:
The maximum contribution to a 401(k) is $19,000 a year (as of 2019).
Your contribution is = $19,000 / # of paychecks in a year
Naturally we understand that this in a lucrative number to try and attain so what I would do is revisit the budget and see what is a comfortable number to lose out on each paycheck. After a couple of months if I were still feeling comfortable I would raise it by a percent and continue to do so until I feel the strain and lay off the increases. Through working more and eventual raises/promotions we hope to hit this magic $19,000 number and move on).
5) Investing - Individual IRA
Once comfortable with $19,000 a year I would open an investment account (our favorite is Vanguard for the low fees) and ideally open a Roth IRA. As of 2019 the maximum contribution is $6,000 a year and we would aim to contribute this amount as close to the beginning of the year as possible so as to front load the fund.
Front Loading is the act of investing earlier in the year rather than later, or in small amounts during the year, so that your money has more time to compound interest.
6) Investing - Index Funds
Given that we've done all the other steps and we still have money to invest we would open a brokerage account with Vanguard and put everything towards the S&P500 index (VFIAX). It is important to note that all the other steps would be done in this order because of matching or tax incentives.
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