Monthly Archives: September 2015

Top 5 Financial Successes in my 20’s

For many, your 20’s can be considered lost years. Aimlessly trying to figure out the overall direction of your life. This is the era where mistakes are made and lessons are learned.

Earlier I detailed the top 5 financial mistakes I made in my 20’s. Let me tell you, it was difficult to whittle the list down to 5. As I wrote that post I reflected on those mistakes, but also realized that I had some great successes in my 20’s as well. It was the decade that I set a foundation for financial success for the future and I’d like to share the top 5 financial successes in my 20’s.

#1. Started Early

Looking back, I wish I would have had my parents open a custodial IRA account for me at 17. My first paychecks from making pizzas would have been much better spent in an IRA than on a knock-off sound system for my 1990 Chevy Corsica… yikes! It pains me to think about my financial priorities as a teenager.

Luckily for me, I took a couple of finance classes in college and realized early on how powerful compound returns are in building net worth. Albert Einstein said it best, “compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… he who doesn’t… pays it”.

I knew long before I started earning a respectable paycheck that I needed to prioritize saving and investing. Taking advantage of a long-term mindset to build net worth has served me well.

#2. Established a Retirement Plan

I remember my first finance job in college was as a Finance Intern at a chemical distribution company. I’ll use the term “finance” loosely as I was usually tasked with restocking the company fridges and snack drawers when I wasn’t doing data entry.

One thing that stands out was the company’s policy of automatic enrollment in their 401K plan. I remember it because I recall opening my first paycheck and asking, “What’s this money being taken out for a 401K?” Not my proudest moment, but I had to google a 401K to figure out what the heck it was!

That initial 401K was eventually rolled into an IRA and I’ve never looked back. I began reading as much as I could on retirement planning and I mapped out a retirement plan in my early 20’s. Take a look at how my wife and I invest our Roth IRA portfolios for retirement. Continue reading Top 5 Financial Successes in my 20’s

5 Steps to Open an Investment Account

So you’ve decided to start investing… now what? Well, you’d be surprised how simple it is to get started. Just like many things in life, getting started is half the battle.

Let’s take a look at 5 steps to open an investment account so that you can start your journey to financial independence.

#1) Select Your Brokerage Company

Nowadays, there are so many options out there. Brokerage companies are all competing to manage your money and hold your accounts. My best advice is to take 3-4 of the most reputable companies and research them. Take a look at their FAQ page, look at their reviews, and get a general understanding of each company. There are pros and cons of each, and in a future post I’ll be doing a comparison of a couple of the major companies.

I currently use Fidelity for our retirement accounts. However, I’m a big fan of Vanguard as well and I use Capital One for our taxable investment accounts. There are benefits and downfalls of each, but for retirement, I think Fidelity and Vanguard provide a great service. I’ll be using Fidelity as the example for setting up an investment account because it’s what I’m most familiar with, however the steps are very similar to establish an account at any brokerage company.

So for this post… Fidelity it is! Go to and choose ‘open an account’ at the top of the screen.

#2) Determine the Type of Account

Are you starting a portfolio for retirement? If so, then a traditional IRA or Roth IRA will be the type of account for you. Are you saving for your child’s college tuition? Then the 529 account would be a great fit. Are you interested in general investing and just want a no-strings attached account to set up your investment portfolio? Then a standard brokerage account will work. There is even an option to open a “Managed Account” which means that an experienced finance professional will actively manage your investments. My personal opinion is to avoid actively managed accounts, become a financial superhero yourself and save the fees that a financial professional will charge.

Here’s a look at the account options you have at Fidelity. Continue reading 5 Steps to Open an Investment Account