I was thinking about this post, where I recommended an investment to start early in your working life, which would make you stupid rich eventually. Then I found Scott Adams’ “Dilbert’s One-Page Guide to Everything Financial.” The list is reproduced below (click through if you want to see more.)
1. Make a will.
2. Pay off your credit cards.
3. Get term life insurance if you have a family to support.
4. Fund your 401k to the maximum.
5. Fund your IRA to the maximum.
6. Buy a house if you want to live in a house and can afford it.
7. Put six months worth of expenses in a money-market account.
8. Take whatever money is left over and invest 70% in a stock index fund and 30% in a bond fund through any discount broker and never touch it until retirement.
Some commentary: As a Christian, you are called to give joyfully, so #1 for you should be to return the tithe to your local church.
You should regard credit cards as slightly better than toxic.
Notice how #3 has “if you have a family to support” but #1 does not? Adams is suggesting that you get a will even if you’re single. As in, as soon as you graduate.
4 & 5 tell you to fund your qualified retirement accounts to the maximum but Adams does not provide an investment choice until #8. So use that. The dividend reinvestment gameplan I recommended earlier would work too. But #8 is fine, especially the phrase, “never touch it until retirement.” Huge.
That last point reminds me: this is a long-term list. Follow it your whole working life.