I’m a recent college graduate and have been working as a government contractor for the past two years. I have saved about $15,000, which I have mentally divided into thirds: travel/fun money, emergency money, and long-term savings money. I have about $4,000 in Stafford Loan debt leftover from college and no consumer debt.
I recently procured my first real job (score!), and have come up with a basic budget and blah blah blah. Beyond that though, I do not know what I should be doing to get started at Being A Real Adult Who Makes Good Money Decisions.
OK, I am a young professional with a good job that I got in 2008 after graduating college. Since my hiring, I’ve managed to put away about $12,000 into a savings account, and a few months ago my parents gifted me another $20,000 because they gave up on me ever having a wedding.
I don’t have any retirement savings. I had precisely one opportunity to sign up for a 401(k), after I’d been working for a year at a grocery store (it was Portland), but I thought I was quitting soon, so I didn’t sign up. I stayed for another year.
I have a somewhat specific and possibly stupid question: I found your posts on 401(k)s and IRAs really helpful, and while you gave great advice about traditional IRA vs. Roth, I’m not sure how to choose between 401(k) and Roth IRA?
Why you need to know this: A Roth IRA is the retirement account financial planners say all young people should have.