I just graduated college and received a job offer from a great company. I’ll be making $40,000 to start. I have no problems budgeting, as I have lived off campus in college since sophomore year. The concerns I have are my retirement plan, health insurance, and saving money for a variety of things (trips, house, friends weddings). Any suggestions?
First off, congratulations on finishing school and landing a job. Your email didn’t go into great detail, so some of the things I will suggest may not apply.
Financial Advice for 20 Somethings: Retirement
First, Your 401k Plan
To begin, find out if your company matches on the 401k plan. They may match anywhere between 3-5%. Whatever the match is, contribute that amount. When it comes to investment selections, look for a fund that invests in the market as a whole. An S&P 500 index fund or a total stock market fund would be ideal. If those are not available, look at a large cap stock fund.
If you are comfortable with a little more risk (and you can be since you won’t need this money for 40 plus years), look at small cap stock fund. This fund will be a little more risky, but since you are just starting out, you can afford to take the risk. Always remember, the sooner you start saving for your retirement, the better.
One note about the above: pay attention to the fund expense ratio of the mutual funds being offered. The higher the fee, the more it costs you. There is no relationship between a higher fee and a better performing fund. In many cases, the opposite is true – lower fee funds tend to perform better since they are trying to match the return of the market.
At the end of the day, the fees you pay for a large cap stock fund should be at or below 0.50% and for a small cap stock fund, at or below 0.75%. To understand more about how fees effect your returns, I highly encourage you to read this post. [Read more…]