Did you do it?
When I started saving – or investing – people said to me, “Why are you saving all that money? Enjoy life, you can’t take it with you when you die.
People in America don’t save. We blow everything instead like idiots.
Most people don’t save because they want to consume to fill the void within themselves. I’ve also noticed that when people save, they put their savings in the crappy financial vehicles that are nothing more than storage.
“Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.
—James W. Frick
Before we get into the best places to save your money, let’s be clear: “saving” and “investing” are not mutually exclusive terms.
They mean the same thing.
The only difference is that a traditional savings account is the worst way ever to store your money. Everything you withdraw from a savings account is 0.5% to 1% APY, while banks use your money to exponentially multiply their earnings.
They fuck you and they won’t even offer you dinner afterwards. Please do not register. Invest instead.
To get your net worth, add up all your savings + anything you consider an asset (car, house, stocks, slaves, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, retirement accounts) and subtract it from your liabilities (debt, y including student loans, mortgages, medical bills and back taxes).
It’s your net worth.
Don’t worry if it’s low or even negative. It’s normal, too bad.
Meanwhile, the number you need your money to grow each year is more than 10%. Why 10%? Because it’s slightly above the current rate of inflation.
In case you need a reminder: inflation is a hidden tax on your money and it affects the middle class and the poor the most; the same group who are also the least financially educated.
When there is more money flowing into an economy – i.e. stimulus checks, government programs, or money printing (brrzt) – but fewer goods, the value of your dollars goes down. Descent. One dollar = less stuff. Because of inflation, a single dollar will one day be treated as a penny.
Inflation = Less Goods + More Dollars
Alright, with that out of the way, here’s what it should look like by age.
Median net worth: $0 or less
If you are a student, your net worth is almost certain to be lower than that of the average person. Student loans are equivalent to an indentured bondage because you cannot declare bankruptcy like a normal debt.
(Good idea America to burden your youngest people with the most debt!)
Many people end up with less money when they graduate from high school or college because there are so many expensive things chasing after them. This is why it is best to learn impulse control during this period of your life.
Americans cannot save money due to poor impulse control and easy access to credit cards; both = mountains of predictable debt.
Be aware that everyone and everything is trying to get you to spend more money…and I hope my generation is the last to be scammed by the 4-year-old snake oil salesman!
* Incidentally, we are looking at median net worths and not averages, as averages are skewed by extremely wealthy people (e.g. the average net worth of 50 year olds is $1 million, while the median is $200,000).
First, the only finite resource in life that cannot be replenished is time. As corny as it sounds. Time is limited and running out as we speak, so managing your time well is life well spent. Your resume will be filled with challenges, not things that were handed to you easily; so try to take the time to learn something new (i.e. writing, learning a language, investing).
Second, build good credit by paying off your student loans on time and not borrowing more than you need. Determine what is an asset in your life and what is a liability (stocks = assets, financing a new Tesla = liabilities)
Third, It is NEVER a bad time to invest. Imagine if you were living in January 1995. You might not invest because the market was at record highs. Well, look what happened: the market kept going up for five years!
Invest as much money as you can as soon as you can at all times – given that you have debt, an emergency fund and short-term goals (rent) all taken care of.
Fourth, invest in your financial literacy. Books like “Falling Down the Bitcoin Rabbit Hole,” “I Will Teach You to Be Rich,” and “Dollar Crisis” reshaped my approach to money. (Good books=assets)
Median net worth: Less than $14,000
Just don’t go into debt and have enough to afford canned tuna.
Your late 20s through 30s is when you build a financial foundation. You should invest, whether aggressively with stocks or cryptocurrencies or cautiously with exchange-traded funds like the Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF.
Creating wealth is a state of mind and an impetus. So don’t fall into this trap:
1) Have a permanent defeatist bearish mindset
2) Let personal mistakes and failures reinforce the bearish pessimist’s beliefs
3) Repeat forever
4) To die poor. (F that)
“Investment promotes impartiality. Markets effectively separate emotional investors from their money.—Naval Ravikant
First, aim to establish a credit score between 700 and 750. A credit score is the closest thing to modern slavery. If you mess up once, you could be fucked for life. Don’t wait to find out. Pay your credit card statement at the end of each month.
Second, do not make 401(k) contributions. Go ahead, beat me in the comments. My old company did a 401,000 match, but I pulled out because I didn’t like the nature of custody and the vague promise that some guy you’ll never meet will manage your investments. I would rather be in charge of my own destiny by investing in things I actually believe in, whether safe or riskier assets.
Conversely, if you need a secure long-term investment strategy – as opposed to more volatile assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum – make contributions to the Vanguard Target 2055 ETF or Vanguard 500 Index Fund for life. You are not smarter than this allowance; or you can always consider investing in a Roth IRA which offers the best tax benefits of any retirement account.
Third, take calculated risks in your portfolio. It’s easier to make gains on a smaller portfolio than for a Wall St. institution to beat the market (7%+ return)
And fourth, don’t save — invest. It bears repeating.
Median net worth: $91,300
The power of compound interest is a magical thing.
It will do wonders for you in your 40s, 50s and 60s! And all it takes to harness that strength are a few simple decisions that can be made when we’re younger – like investing more than 20% of your salary every month from age 24 or 25 (or sooner! )
Pro Tip: Although your investments may fluctuate negatively throughout the year, just hold on – or hodling as it is called in the crypto community — almost always guarantees you a good return. It is the best investment strategy.
First, the best thing you can do for yourself is to be wise and invest in different sources of income: stocks, retirement accounts, crypto, real estate or precious metals.
When shit hits the fan — like a pandemic or war in Ukraine — you don’t want to depend on the government to get through. You want to have as many income pillars as possible.
Second, understand that 40 is a crossroads for many people. It’s about the halfway point of your life, which means you can consider this a major turning point in the momentum of your wealth…or your debt.
Third, maximize your retirement accounts each year. Stay safe.
Median net worth: $150,000+
Warren Buffett has earned 99.7% of his money past the age of 52. He makes this painting very funny —
Compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world, and it’s Warren Buffett’s best friend. He became incredibly rich because he started investing when he was 11.
As the old saying goes: “Whoever understands it wins it… whoever doesn’t understand it pays for it.”
Around age 50, compound interest is so strong that it begins to grow your money faster than you can contribute to any of your accounts. For example, if you had a 15% ROI on investments totaling $200,000, you would earn $30,000 per year in passive income.
First, save at least 5-8 times your annual income. Having an HSA and an emergency savings account is paramount at this age as well. Just in case you fell and couldn’t get up.
Second, start planning for retirement. Your retirement plan shouldn’t just keep you drunk all day from Irish car bombs. You should seriously think about how you are going to spend what is considered the “autumn of life”.
Third, protect yourself and your loved ones. At this age, you can become a pillar of your family, spiritually, financially, and otherwise. It is important that you take care of yourself and your family by hiring a family lawyer, planning your estate and writing a will. Just in case someone brutally murders you in the face.
(Don’t worry, knock on wood for you)
Financial literacy is like a dance.
You need to be confident on the outside and maybe a little scared on the inside. Either way, you have to actually participate in it. There is no wisdom in watching others invest or make financial decisions for you.
These rules stated in this article should not be used in a dogmatic way, but should be useful guidelines to know where you are in life.
At any age, you can go back and live a whole new life. Morgan Freeman didn’t start acting until he was 40.
Never get lost. You can always start over.