I promised I would show you how to set up a Roth IRA in my Quick & Dirty post, but first I have one request of you. Before you read any more of this, please, please, please promise to YOURSELF you will take the steps outlined below to set up this account in the next 48 hrs. Years later when you have retired, you can send me a thank you note (check is optional). Also, this is foolproof; I had to go through it myself.
The Best Multiplied Four Times Over!!!
After doing what I outline below for you, you can say that you own one of the best retirement accounts available (the Roth IRA) in one of the best no-load mutual fund indices available (The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund: VTSMX) at one of the best, if not the best, mutual fund companies in the world (Vanguard) for one of the absolute best prices available to investors (a dirt cheap expense ratio)!!! Remember my one request of you, please do this now for yourself (don’t wait until five years from now). In an effort to keep this extremely high yield, I am outlining the steps in this post and my following post will have the reasons why.
Your Step by Step Guide To Setting Up Your Roth IRA:
Click “Transfer From A Financial Institution” & “Continue.”
Now set up your account with Vanguard. This will take a couple steps and you will need to fund your account at this time as well as determine the account type: choose the Roth IRA. The money you transfer will be placed in a money market account initially. This takes a couple of days to process. Next is where the magic happens!
Once your account is opened & funded, you are ready to Roth, I mean ready to Rock…
Now, on your new account homepage click the Menu icon at the top left.
Click “My Accounts”
Click “Buy & Sell”
Click “Buy Vanguard Funds”
Click “Add Another Vanguard Mutual Fund”
In the dialogue box enter “VTSMX” and click “Continue.” See my second post as to why I chose this one for myself.
Fund your new Roth by entering in your amount in the dialogue box and clicking “Continue.”
Now Go Read!!!
There really is no way around this. Read, read, read and read some more! You have to read about these topics now. You can’t just trust me on this one, unfortunately. I mean, I guess you can, but if you are like me you need the answers yourself or months later you are likely to think that the grass is greener. Without the knowledge of these topics, you are never going to know what is good or bad in terms of investments and that WILL set you up to fail.
You need to start learning now. Keep your eyes on the look out, my post “What Is A Roth IRA” is coming out soon. In that post I will outline why I set you up the way I did and why I set up my own Roth IRA the same way!
Have You Started Yet?
Starting early in investing is a surefire way to developing passive income (i.e. money that makes you money while you do nothing). Passive income coupled with compound interest is an absolute true recipe for success in your financial journey, but it takes years, so start early.
Albert Einstein considered compound interest the 8th wonder of the world. He said of it, “He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.”
This is true, but Bitcoin is also crazy hot right now. Should I invest now or later and in which? What if the answer was yes and yes and yes? Yes to now, yes to later, and yes to Bitcoin hooray!!! But please for the love of all things holy less than 5% to Bitcoin… Keep reading to learn why.
Invest now, invest later, and invest in Bitcoin?
I guess the above approach would leave everyone winners in the short term, but I don’t think it is a long term winning strategy. Why? Stocks are at all-time highs, this is true; stocks also have been at all-time highs for the past five years. There are people out there still holding onto lump sums of money from the crash of 2008 waiting for the next crash to reinvest. They are losing money thanks to inflation. If they were one of the few to have left their money in the market during that scary time, not only would they have received back all of their money by this point in time, but it also would have doubled. In the last year alone the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund has returned investors roughly 20% back on their invested cash. If you are invested in a Roth that interest is tax-free!
VTSMX or Bitcoin? Hhhhmmmmmm….
The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX for short) is one of the best investing funds available. It is also one of the cheapest. I share that with you to encourage you to start your road to a better future of freedom sooner rather than later. Like… RIGHT NOW… rather than later sooner… If I were given a windfall of 10K I would put it right into VTSAX and let it sit. I would sit it and forget it! But Bitcoin is crazy hot right now, why am I not invested in it? There is just no track record for it, if you must invest in it use your play money (<5% of your portfolio). Just don’t leverage your house for bitcoin investments. But now lets talk stocks.
Should I Invest Now Or Later?
“I know I need to invest, I know stocks are at an all-time high, when should I invest and how should I invest? What would you do?” The answer is not a concrete one and no one should tell you “Oh, invest when the market drops this many or that many points,” or “You know, wait until next year when things smooth out.” They might as well be palm readers.
When you ask the question “When should I invest and how should I invest?” you are asking what you should do with your money, fair enough? But the reason you ask is because investing requires a stock market and you don’t know what the heck that thing is, or how it works, or when to invest, or what to invest in, but you know you don’t want to get burnt, and you are pretty sure you would like to make money and not lose it. And probably you are reading this article now because it had the work Bitcoin in the title and you thought it would make you rich! Well, let you and I talk long term 15-20 year wealth with track record and I think we will be on to something in this post.
You Need To Ask Yourself Some Harder Questions First Before You Bitcoin Power Up!
The truth is you need to tell your money where you want it to go and how it is going to get there. No one else can do that for you. Writing up a plan is the best thing you can do for yourself and your future. It helps you learn about these interesting topics and also steady the course for you in the future. Putting pen to paper and determining what is the best route of action for your invested dollar is just a smart thing to do. Some people call it an Investment Policy Statement, others have named it an Investing Policy Statement, or even an Investor Policy Statement. I have named mine something different because I can.
Please enjoy Thy Investment Personal Statement (IPS for short.) I have named it that for several reasons. First off, I have written lots of personal statements throughout the years (probably somewhere north of a 100) while applying to scholarships, medicals schools, residencies and so on, so a personal statement just feels like home to me, and loads better than a policy statement. The word policy makes me think of meetings, and I loathe meetings.
The Intern’s Investment Personal Statement
Keep costs low, be happy accepting market returns.
Invest in Vanguard low-cost passive index mutual funds.
Lifelong buy & hold strategy with a fixed asset allocation.
Invest monthly; separate and automate accounts.
Be financially independent as soon as possible. 10 years outside of residency Lord willing. This includes student debt, house payments, and sizable nest egg retirement savings while Traveling Wisely and seeking New Experiences as a couple.
At this point in our lives, our risk tolerance is quite high and can remain so until post-residency at which time we will reassess.
Fixed Asset Allocation:
90/10 Stocks/Bond & REIT ratio
90 % Stock (75% US and 15% International)
5 % REIT & 5 % Bonds (3% US and 2% International)
Separate and automate savings and retirement accounts.
Early IRA contributions for longer market appreciation.
Maximize tax deductions in IRA, 401, 457, & HSA if possible.
Invest monthly & over the long-term. Never react to the market.
Expect a 20% drop bear market approximately every 3 years.
Expect a 10% drop correction approximately every year.
Expect these drops to scare you, but be faithful and don’t react.
When assets drop, it is a great time to buy.
Within my IPS you find several elements of who I am. I am quite cheap, I am very comfortable with long commitments, and I am pathologically passive, or at least I have been told so. Just playing, I am not passive, I am actually quite active with these things. Passive people get herded into actively managed funds with crazy fees by financial advisors.
My IPS Dictates My Investments Decisions… Sorry Bitcoin…
My IPS tells you about my life and my comfort concerning risk: I like to travel and place a high value on experience over stuff. I am young and am comfortable with a more aggressive asset allocation, which I have determined as a fixed asset allocation. This means I don’t time or react to the market. I don’t buy or sell based on the market conditions. I invest monthly and have determined my stock to bond ratio to be 90% stock and 10% bond.
Within them there bullet points you see that I am serious about my financial independence and that I don’t pass the buck to tomorrow, or next year, or to when the market drops, or to when that smart guy tells me to invest. Rather, I have established where I want to be in X amount of years (set some sort and long term goals for yourself,) I have told my money where I want it to go (separate your investing cash from your day to day checking and saving accounts so it’s out of your hands as soon as the check clears,) I have told it when to get there (set up monthly automation,) and through asset allocation I have even set guidelines for how it behaves (If you are risk averse, increase your bonds. Like a wild ride? Go stocks).
Please feel free to take it and use it for yourself if you like. Send me a message or leave a reply if you have questions. This seems like complicated stuff, but it really isn’t that bad. Start learning about it now and start using the tools that God has given you. Remember all these things are on loan, aren’t they?
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.