Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

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Topic Author
ShakaWaka21
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Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2021 1:31 pm

Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by ShakaWaka21 »

Hi All,

I'm a green 24 year old (M) investor meaning I've taken investing seriously this past year. I'm in the public finance/accounting field and on track for CPA for next year. Recently, I've been doubting where I'm at and where I should be. Mainly due to relocating states soom (FT remote employee) and perhaps settling down long term with a current partner who is older and more successful in their career and finances.

For context, I grew up broke in a single mother household who worked 4 jobs. She taught us the value of saving and working hard. Personal finance is what I've had to learn on my own late to the game. Thankfully, had a full ride to college and got a solid job with plenty o upwards mobility a year and half after.

Current stats/portfolio

Salary: 52k base + 8k OT (based on 2020, will go up this year with a raise/promotion)
EF: 5 months (5k)
Cash: 8k +(12k after selling one of my trucks in the next week)
401k: 20k (Vanguard TDF 2060), on track to max this year. 5/25% Traditional/Roth Split
Roth IRA: 14k (maxed past 2 years, will continue doing so; 100% Equities (75/25 Domestic/Foreign)
HSA: 6k (same as Roth IRA)
Taxable Brokerage: $16k (75/25 VTI/VXUS)

No debt in any form - credit card, medical, auto, or student loan. Expenses are less than $1500/month on the high end.

On paper, I know I'm doing fine. But part of me feels behind because of that ingrained immigrant mentality I grew up with. To always keep grinding. But as I mature my views on life have shifted - I'm moving to a small town near the mountains in Colorado (higher rent of course) and want to be closer to nature. Of course I'll continue to advance my career virtually so that's not a problem.

But the idea of purchasing a rental property has recently popped into my head as I'd like to start early and looking at my finances I feel like I'm not ready for that and considering I'm moving. I know my income will grow in the next several years and I'm not even close to my peak earning years. And having been getting serious with a partner who is far more successful than I am, I'm starting to grind even more to 'make up' for it knowing full well I'm 5 years younger than her and in a different field entirely. She of course has no qualms about me making less and vice versa - I think she just drives me to grind even more, unbeknownst to her.

I'm also second guessing my move that is in 2 weeks since I'm moving to higher COL and wondering if I should stay in my LCOL to prioritize building wealth. The flip side to that is I chose the new city due to more year round recreational opportunities since I'm always outdoors and I want a cooler climate. It's only a year to start so I can always move again. And I'll still be on track to hit my savings goals for this year with the move. It's more Quality of Life move at this point but again that nagging voice in my head to just move to a super LCOL and grind it out for 5 years and build wealth is ever present.

So that brings me to my dilemma - am I overthinking this? I'm happy in my life. I've been seeing a therapist in the past year and frankly have worked through a lot of stuff that for the first time in a while, I have nothing to complain about. Relationship is fresh but going really well. Work is going well. Personal life is great. Fitness and health are my daily priorities. Spiritually feeling whole. But theres this piece as it relates to financial standing that I'm working on reconciling.

Would love to hear from the wiser folks and how you've worked through this.

Thank you.
Last edited by ShakaWaka21 on Wed Jun 16, 2021 9:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Makefile
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by Makefile »

ShakaWaka21 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:25 pm So that brings me to my dilemma - am I overthinking this?
Yes. Relax.

You're ahead of someone who did a bachelor's followed by immediate master's and then enters the workforce at 24.
How many people at 24 have even heard of a Roth IRA, let alone have multiple years' contributions in it already?

A rental property? No. One, do you really want to delay buying a place of your own so that you can carry mortgage debt for a rental property? Do you really want midnight leaking water heater calls in your 20s?

Get settled into your new location, target max 401(k)+IRA as it becomes affordable with higher salary, maybe revisit a rental property if you really want one and find fulfillment in being a handyman once you're a millionaire or at least halfway there.
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David Jay
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by David Jay »

You are doing great. A 401K and a Roth (plus no debt!) at age 24. I made my first 401k contribution at age 30, I wish I had been as "with it" in my 20s as you are...
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius
alex_686
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by alex_686 »

ShakaWaka21 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:25 pm I'm also second guessing my move that is in 2 weeks since I'm moving to higher COL and wondering if I should stay in my LCOL to prioritize building wealth.
You are 24. There is no way you could be behind, and you are far ahead of most.

This is what you want to do. Take a clean sheet of paper and figure out your goals. Try not to compare yourself to your past self, your partner, siblings, parents, etc. This is hard to do.

Why do you want to build wealth? Financial security? Note, many people confuse having a large pile of assets with security. Money makes most people irrational. Big house and fast cars? Early retirement?

Note, time is not fungible. You can either work 80 hours a week and never enjoy life or you can slack off your entire life. I can't tell you which one you want to do, but be cognizant of what you chose.

HCOL verse LCOL areas is almost more of a lifestyle choice. I would select the HCOL because it tends to be more exciting. It may offer better job prospects. But it is down to a lifestyle choice.

Why do you want to get into real estate? It is a path to wealth creation but not the only one. Doing real estate is a job. What makes you think you would be good at it? I have known people who have had middling performance, great success, great failures, and success and failures.
Former brokerage operations & mutual fund accountant. I hate risk, which is why I study and embrace it.
MoonOrb
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by MoonOrb »

Yes you are overthinking this. You can build long-term wealth/financial security and still prioritize important things like living where you want to live, having access to nature and activities that restore you and support your mental health, etc. It is not a zero-sum game.

Live below your means. Invest. Prioritize your health and well-being with the money that you do spend.

Reconsider whether you want to build wealth using a rental property when it is so much easier and hassle-free to do it by investing in the markets. If being a landlord gives you great pleasure, then go for it. But if you're looking at it as just a way to build wealth, there are ways that will let you do that without all of the effort that being a landlord entails.
Topic Author
ShakaWaka21
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by ShakaWaka21 »

Makefile wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:39 pm
ShakaWaka21 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:25 pm So that brings me to my dilemma - am I overthinking this?
Yes. Relax.

You're ahead of someone who did a bachelor's followed by immediate master's and then enters the workforce at 24.
How many people at 24 have even heard of a Roth IRA, let alone have multiple years' contributions in it already?

A rental property? No. One, do you really want to delay buying a place of your own so that you can carry mortgage debt for a rental property? Do you really want midnight leaking water heater calls in your 20s?

Get settled into your new location, target max 401(k)+IRA as it becomes affordable with higher salary, maybe revisit a rental property if you really want one and find fulfillment in being a handyman once you're a millionaire or at least halfway there.
Good points, I like to minimize my stressors as much as possible so I'll reassess the rental property for something to do down the line. I don't necessarily want to delay my own mortgage.

Thank you.
Topic Author
ShakaWaka21
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Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2021 1:31 pm

Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by ShakaWaka21 »

David Jay wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:40 pm You are doing great. A 401K and a Roth (plus no debt!) at age 24. I made my first 401k contribution at age 30, I wish I had been as "with it" in my 20s as you are...
Thank you, I just hope I make the "right" decisions.
daheld
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by daheld »

The fact that you're 24, will soon be a CPA and have zero debt means you're way ahead of nearly everyone your age. It honestly doesn't matter what you make right now. I know it doesn't seem like that to you, but you have upward mobility and your salary will grow. You already make a good salary for someone at 24.

Don't buy a rental house.

Keep grinding, keep saving, keep it simple, and don't worry about what you perceive that other folks your age have. Perceptions aren't reality.

Reiterating: DO NOT buy a rental house. See above about keeping it simple.
alex_686
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by alex_686 »

daheld wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:12 pm Keep grinding, keep saving, keep it simple, and don't worry about what you perceive that other folks your age have. Perceptions aren't reality.
I will modestly take the other side.

I know a few CPAs who ground and ground and ground. 80 hour weeks, desire to make partner, etc.

I know other CPAs who put in 40 hours weeks. Maybe 80 hours for a month during crunch time, but they also have 3 to 4 weeks off during the slow period. Buy a nice middle class home, raise a nice middle class family, and retire comfortable to a middle class lifestyle with a few million in their retirement accounts.

I know more happy people in the second bucket than the first.

I mean, yes, keep on striving. Slow and steady wins the race. Keep those skills fresh. Look for new and exciting jobs. But grind?
Former brokerage operations & mutual fund accountant. I hate risk, which is why I study and embrace it.
SubPar
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by SubPar »

OP, have a decade on you. I started in public accounting at a similar comp, earned the CPA, yada yada. 10+ years in, I've left for greener pastures, significantly increased my earnings and am quickly making up ground on my own slow start (side bar: you're way ahead of where I was at your age, FWIW).

During my earlier years, I struggled with my ambition outpacing my rank. My career trajectory has accelerated as I've built up my skillset and grown more confident. My advice? Use that grind mentality to your advantage, but try to see the long-term picture, continue to maintain a balance, and enjoy the ride. You're still in the nascent stage of your career. Put yourself in as many positions to learn/develop as you can. Opportunities (and compensation) will follow. There are always going to be those who make more than you. Don't let comparison be the thief of joy (this is something I, and with many others, struggle with as well).

+1 for "you're overthinking it."
Last edited by SubPar on Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Meg77
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by Meg77 »

A few thoughts:

1. Financially speaking your move may be a little bit of the worst of both worlds. In your 20s/early career, it typically makes the most sense to move to a city/HCOLA to be at headquarters, expand your network, get facetime with managers and mentors, make lifelong friends with the other entry level colleagues, etc. Working remotely in order to get a much lower COLA can make sense once you're established in said career. But you're moving to a higher cost area to work remotely...I love nature and get all that, but your sense that this may not be the best thing for your income/career is likely correct.

2. Financially speaking you are definitely ahead of the game. No student loans, degree with great income earning potential, big retirement savings head start, and low expenses. You are definitely overthinking that part. You have all the basics covered including an emergency fund. From here it's just a Monopoly game - how far do you want to go and how many zeros do you want to add to the base you've established? Consider that many retirees have less invested/saved than you do and live happily off social security. Not saying that's a goal - just reiterating that you're more than fine.

3. Plenty of truly wealthy people (see - thousands of posts on this forum) fret about not having enough and overanalyze their financials every single day of their lives - myself included. Trust me when I tell you money doesn't cure this condition. Plenty of others never have a care in the world and float through life spending without a detailed long term plan. I don't know how they live; they don't get how I (we) live. But your inclination to oversave and overthink is a condition to be managed and balanced with giving and conscious values based spending plans (some people need to rely on a budget to boost spending rather than saving). In all likelihood you'll need more encouragement and practice enjoying and using money rather than to optimizing and growing it. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum.

4. Skip the rental for now. Save your money for your first home, engagement/wedding, travel, additional education, cross-country moves, or any of the other big changes that often arise suddenly in your 20s and 30s. I started buying rentals in my mid 20s so definitely am all for it, but only once you have a lot more savings for the personal stuff. Which does matter and is OK to prioritize.
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin
mrsgoldilocks
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by mrsgoldilocks »

Totally no need to grind. As a 24 years old, you're doing a lot better than a lot of your peers, so you should give yourself a round of applause. I wish I have be seriously on learning how to invest and actually putting my money to work when I was 24!!

Don't think too much about HCOL or LCOL. If HCOL area is a better fit to your life style and good for your health, just go. You can always make/save money, but I'm really think one should not delay all fun and enjoyment just to save more $$. With the way you go, career-wise and that you're already serious about investing, in no time (actual time frame really depends on market and your input), you will have > $1M, then 2 and then 3. By then, you will realize, having another M under your belt will not really bring you a lot of happiness.

As for rentals, sites like biggerpockets and youtubers and blogs make it sounds like the best way to achieve wealth and FIRE. While receiving a phone call in the middle of the night for water leak is not part of my experience of being a landlord for 8+ years, one thing I realize is that you need a deep pocket to operate rentals. For example, I had a squatter in my property from July 2020 to Jan 2021, not a single penny, while I am still paying the mortgage/tax/repair etc etc, and at the end, my tenant owed me $20,000 including all the back rent + repairs in the house + trash to take away + overdue utility that's linked to the house (if I don't pay, there will be lien on the house). Not to mention all the headache/stress. And this is not even the worst case scenario. I am just saying that if you do want to be a landlord, you better have your own home first, so you will have some idea what kind of expense can throw into your way with home ownership.
wetgear
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by wetgear »

You are doing great! Couple of minor tweaks that might help a little.

1) Fully contribute to your 401k every year before making more taxable contributions. It's great that you are on track to do this this year.
2) You may want to contribute more to your roth 401k than you currently are vs the traditional. Contribute just enough to traditional to keep you in the 12% tax bracket and the rest to roth 401k.
3) Keep your roth space 100% equities
4) As others have said delay and likely skip getting a rental property unless being a landlord/property manager/handyman as a part time job would be enjoyable for you.
Broken Man 1999
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

OP, you are really hard on yourself.

At age 24 my daughters were hardly out of school with their graduate degrees in hand.

Me, I graduated from HS in 1971, and I was 27 before I had earned my undergraduate degree. My goal was to go to our 10th year HS reunion with a degree in hand, and I did.

I didn't have a white collar position until I was 26. Earned a graduate degree at age 40.

You are miles ahead. Your earnings trajectory will be just fine.

Your 24 year old self is way, way ahead of my 24 year old self.

Congrats on an awesome start!

Broken Man 1999

ETA: I would think hours doing CPA stuff would bring you as much as a rental unit, with less stress also. Less physical even if you are capable of doing a lot of rental activities DIY.
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go." - Mark Twain
Topic Author
ShakaWaka21
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by ShakaWaka21 »

alex_686 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:47 pm
ShakaWaka21 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:25 pm I'm also second guessing my move that is in 2 weeks since I'm moving to higher COL and wondering if I should stay in my LCOL to prioritize building wealth.
You are 24. There is no way you could be behind, and you are far ahead of most.

This is what you want to do. Take a clean sheet of paper and figure out your goals. Try not to compare yourself to your past self, your partner, siblings, parents, etc. This is hard to do.

Why do you want to build wealth? Financial security? Note, many people confuse having a large pile of assets with security. Money makes most people irrational. Big house and fast cars? Early retirement?

Note, time is not fungible. You can either work 80 hours a week and never enjoy life or you can slack off your entire life. I can't tell you which one you want to do, but be cognizant of what you chose.

HCOL verse LCOL areas is almost more of a lifestyle choice. I would select the HCOL because it tends to be more exciting. It may offer better job prospects. But it is down to a lifestyle choice.

Why do you want to get into real estate? It is a path to wealth creation but not the only one. Doing real estate is a job. What makes you think you would be good at it? I have known people who have had middling performance, great success, great failures, and success and failures.
I have to reassess my reasons for feeling behind and why I want to get into real estate. As far as being good at it- not sure. I like what others are saying - own a home first before venturing into rentals. Which makes sense. - I'm pretty handy and enjoy working on/building various projects so I could manage that. But again I have to look at it holistically and reading the responses, it doesnt make sense now given my inexperience.

Ill have to sit down and do more thinking on my long term goals since I'm sort of floating considering I'm making a move to a small town.

Thank you.
Topic Author
ShakaWaka21
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by ShakaWaka21 »

daheld wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:12 pm The fact that you're 24, will soon be a CPA and have zero debt means you're way ahead of nearly everyone your age. It honestly doesn't matter what you make right now. I know it doesn't seem like that to you, but you have upward mobility and your salary will grow. You already make a good salary for someone at 24.

Don't buy a rental house.

Keep grinding, keep saving, keep it simple, and don't worry about what you perceive that other folks your age have. Perceptions aren't reality.

Reiterating: DO NOT buy a rental house. See above about keeping it simple.
Noted - this is the general consensus and after more thinking, something I don't want right now as I am still unclear about long term goals.
Topic Author
ShakaWaka21
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by ShakaWaka21 »

SubPar wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:41 pm OP, have a decade on you. I started in public accounting at a similar comp, earned the CPA, yada yada. 10+ years in, I've left for greener pastures, significantly increased my earnings and am quickly making up ground on my own slow start (side bar: you're way ahead of where I was at your age, FWIW).

During my earlier years, I struggled with my ambition outpacing my rank. My career trajectory has accelerated as I've built up my skillset and grown more confident. My advice? Use that grind mentality to your advantage, but try to see the long-term picture, continue to maintain a balance, and enjoy the ride. You're still in the nascent stage of your career. Put yourself in as many positions to learn/develop as you can. Opportunities (and compensation) will follow. There are always going to be those who make more than you. Don't let comparison be the thief of joy (this is something I, and with many others, struggle with as well).

+1 for "you're overthinking it."
Yeah, I think part of feeling a bit behind or complacent almost is that I've been in corporate tax/fixed asset world for 2.5 years now and an eager to move around since it's getting mundane. Looking at ITAX or consulting as my next move but want to knock out the CPA first.

Thank you, I need to stop comparing and also stop beating myself so much as it relates to this.
Topic Author
ShakaWaka21
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by ShakaWaka21 »

Meg77 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:43 pm A few thoughts:

1. Financially speaking your move may be a little bit of the worst of both worlds. In your 20s/early career, it typically makes the most sense to move to a city/HCOLA to be at headquarters, expand your network, get facetime with managers and mentors, make lifelong friends with the other entry level colleagues, etc. Working remotely in order to get a much lower COLA can make sense once you're established in said career. But you're moving to a higher cost area to work remotely...I love nature and get all that, but your sense that this may not be the best thing for your income/career is likely correct.

2. Financially speaking you are definitely ahead of the game. No student loans, degree with great income earning potential, big retirement savings head start, and low expenses. You are definitely overthinking that part. You have all the basics covered including an emergency fund. From here it's just a Monopoly game - how far do you want to go and how many zeros do you want to add to the base you've established? Consider that many retirees have less invested/saved than you do and live happily off social security. Not saying that's a goal - just reiterating that you're more than fine.

3. Plenty of truly wealthy people (see - thousands of posts on this forum) fret about not having enough and overanalyze their financials every single day of their lives - myself included. Trust me when I tell you money doesn't cure this condition. Plenty of others never have a care in the world and float through life spending without a detailed long term plan. I don't know how they live; they don't get how I (we) live. But your inclination to oversave and overthink is a condition to be managed and balanced with giving and conscious values based spending plans (some people need to rely on a budget to boost spending rather than saving). In all likelihood you'll need more encouragement and practice enjoying and using money rather than to optimizing and growing it. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum.

4. Skip the rental for now. Save your money for your first home, engagement/wedding, travel, additional education, cross-country moves, or any of the other big changes that often arise suddenly in your 20s and 30s. I started buying rentals in my mid 20s so definitely am all for it, but only once you have a lot more savings for the personal stuff. Which does matter and is OK to prioritize.
1: so I did think about this, but I asked to go remote just prior to the pandemic and I've managed to strengthen my relationships at work. I'm also an introvert and if I dont really like being in an office at all. It's only for a year to start and I'll be studying for the CPA and will reassess after.

2. Noted, I'm aware I'm overthinking it and being to hard on myself in that regard

3. Working on this - the word enough is something I've had issues with since we grew up poor. It's improved leaps and bounds due to therapy and just daily mindfulness. But alas, still plagues me a bit.

4. Noted and will do so. Need to accumulate more cash before I can comfortably do so since I obviously am not since I am here.

Thank you for the really good points.
260chrisb
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by 260chrisb »

I love these posts!! What have you been reading or listening to that makes you feel behind?? Stop reading and turn it off. I (and thousands here) wish we had your problems at 24! Plenty of good advice to follow but relax and keep focused. You're fine and doing well.
Topic Author
ShakaWaka21
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by ShakaWaka21 »

wetgear wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:02 pm You are doing great! Couple of minor tweaks that might help a little.

1) Fully contribute to your 401k every year before making more taxable contributions. It's great that you are on track to do this this year.
2) You may want to contribute more to your roth 401k than you currently are vs the traditional. Contribute just enough to traditional to keep you in the 12% tax bracket and the rest to roth 401k.
3) Keep your roth space 100% equities
4) As others have said delay and likely skip getting a rental property unless being a landlord/property manager/handyman as a part time job would be enjoyable for you.
1) yep, 1st year that'll I'll be able to max.

2) I'm contributing 5% to traditional and my employers match is 3% so 8% total for trad. Then 25% to roth 401k. 5+3% plus my standard deduction and HSA gets me to almost all 12%

3) noted, no plan on changing

4) yeah will reassess in 5 years

Thank you
Topic Author
ShakaWaka21
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Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2021 1:31 pm

Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by ShakaWaka21 »

Broken Man 1999 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:02 pm OP, you are really hard on yourself.

At age 24 my daughters were hardly out of school with their graduate degrees in hand.

Me, I graduated from HS in 1971, and I was 27 before I had earned my undergraduate degree. My goal was to go to our 10th year HS reunion with a degree in hand, and I did.

I didn't have a white collar position until I was 26. Earned a graduate degree at age 40.

You are miles ahead. Your earnings trajectory will be just fine.

Your 24 year old self is way, way ahead of my 24 year old self.

Congrats on an awesome start!

Broken Man 1999

ETA: I would think hours doing CPA stuff would bring you as much as a rental unit, with less stress also. Less physical even if you are capable of doing a lot of rental activities DIY.
Yep, too hard on myself as I've discovered from friends and therapy. I just always thought everyone was this hard on themselves until people had to tell me to shut up and enjoy life for what it is. Mainly all aspects really - athletics, building things, at work etc. Always have to make sure everything is perfect and optimized and one little mistake and it's a total loss. Def black and white.

Great point on the CPA side gig which is the ultimate plan around 30. Thanks for sharing.

Thank you.
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ShakaWaka21
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by ShakaWaka21 »

260chrisb wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:24 pm I love these posts!! What have you been reading or listening to that makes you feel behind?? Stop reading and turn it off. I (and thousands here) wish we had your problems at 24! Plenty of good advice to follow but relax and keep focused. You're fine and doing well.
I stopped reading the forums and listening to FI podcasts. I had to unplug since it became to much of a focus and took away from actually doing things I enjoyed like cycling, hiking, and off roading. All good advice from the wise folks here. Will keep doing what I'm doing and developing myself.

Thanks
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retired@50
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by retired@50 »

I didn't know it was possible to be "behind" at 24.

If so, I certainly was, but it didn't make a difference in my life.

Regards,
This is one person's opinion. Nothing more.
Patzer
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by Patzer »

You are way ahead of where I was when I was 24, and I (currently 40) am on pace to retire at 50.
Just keep working hard, making more money, and raising your savings whenever you get a raise and things will work out very nicely.
DIYtrixie
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by DIYtrixie »

ShakaWaka21 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:25 pm perhaps settling down long term with a current partner who is older and more career and financially successful than I am.
Our society puts a lot of pressure on men to be the primary breadwinner, so don’t let that add to your self-induced pressure. You’re fortunate that you’ve found a woman who is financially successful and a saver. That matters far more than who makes/saves more.
jmch1990
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by jmch1990 »

Take it from a 31 year old who started after you: there is no such thing as a 24-year-old that is behind on investing.
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ShakaWaka21
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by ShakaWaka21 »

DIYtrixie wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:57 pm
ShakaWaka21 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:25 pm perhaps settling down long term with a current partner who is older and more career and financially successful than I am.
Our society puts a lot of pressure on men to be the primary breadwinner, so don’t let that add to your self-induced pressure. You’re fortunate that you’ve found a woman who is financially successful and a saver. That matters far more than who makes/saves more.
Yeah, I'd rather it this way than the other way based on past relationships. Other girls I've dated seriously always complained about never having enough based mainly on their spending habits and never really doing anything about it. I'm all for it and not intimidated- its moreso internal pressure like you said.
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celia
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by celia »

Right now, it seems like you should focus on being the best CPA you can be, a very good goal. However, I wonder if you will keep looking at what you learn as how it applies to you. A year from now, you might be looking at how to be an entrepreneur, farmer, fisherman, author, landlord, investor, auditor, banker, and business owner, as well as a CPA. :oops:

You may have to stop yourself and just focus on being the best "you", you can be. You may change course several times throughout your life, as we all do, but you need to identify WHY you are making a big change.

As far as growing wealth and planning for the future, why don't you keep a spreadsheet and write down the names of all your financial assets (and add liabilities later, like remaining mortgage) and put their value in a second column. At the end of each year, update your asset list and add a new column for year-end value. The goal here is to see if your net worth is making progress compared to previous years. I would only look at this chart when you are adding to it each January, so you don't become obsessed with it. Expect some "backward" years, such as when the stock markets fall, or you are out of work, or just bought a property. But over the course of 40 years (and 40 columns), you will see real progress. This is not a contest between you and your peers, but just a method to remind you that you are making progress.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by Wricha »

At 24 it is near impossible to be behind. Your financial destiny is in your potential not in your decisions like: HCOL vs LCOL, rentals vs no rentals, the optimal AA etc. People who give you advice at this level, to a 24 year old are more than likely expressing their own personal fears so ignore them. This is the time in your life to experiment, make mistakes (lots of them) have fun and don’t get rich to quick as stupid tends to hide there.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by daheld »

alex_686 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:19 pm
daheld wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:12 pm Keep grinding, keep saving, keep it simple, and don't worry about what you perceive that other folks your age have. Perceptions aren't reality.
I will modestly take the other side.

I know a few CPAs who ground and ground and ground. 80 hour weeks, desire to make partner, etc.

I know other CPAs who put in 40 hours weeks. Maybe 80 hours for a month during crunch time, but they also have 3 to 4 weeks off during the slow period. Buy a nice middle class home, raise a nice middle class family, and retire comfortable to a middle class lifestyle with a few million in their retirement accounts.

I know more happy people in the second bucket than the first.

I mean, yes, keep on striving. Slow and steady wins the race. Keep those skills fresh. Look for new and exciting jobs. But grind?
I agree completely. By "keep grinding", I guess I meant to keep doing the monotonous work of working hard and saving and being relatively frugal. I'm not a CPA, but I'm taking the whole "mostly work 40 hour weeks, buy a middle class home and raise a middle class family, retire happy" route. I admit "keep grinding" is probably not the best phrase to have used, and want to say I agree with your comments.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by toomanysidehustles »

Welcome to CO! I moved to Fort Collins from GA in 1999 at age 24 and it was the best move I ever made. I moved here with a net worth of about $6,000 (cash) and met my now wife a year later in 2000 here in CO. You are doing great, better than me at 24! We own 3 houses (2 rentals), real estate has been really good to us but it is super high right now here...even more in the mountains. One of our rentals we turned into an AIRbNb which is crushing it, we are getting 4x over normal long term rental rates so far in 2021, it was 3x in 2020 with the pandemic.

Where areas are you thinking about in CO?
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by vanbogle59 »

ShakaWaka21 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:25 pm I'm a green 24 year old (M)...4
First, congratulations. As a father of 3, it's awesome to see youngsters land in safe, productive situations.

As for advice, I offer this from the other side of 60:
Think of yourself 10 years ago. Are you a somewhat different person now? Mentally? Physically? Do you have different strengths/weaknesses? Are different doors opened/closed? Do you still want the same things out of life?
Now think of your 34 yr-old self looking back 10 years from now. What will he say? "I risked too much"? "I risked too little"?
Try to leave that 34 yr-old in as good or better shape than you are now. And try to create some good memories between now and then.

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Gandalf
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by HootingSloth »

When I was about your age, I was about $200k in debt. I moved to a new city for a job by putting all of my possessions into two backpacks and carrying them with me on the bus. On the way, I met with a friend to get dinner. My friend had to pay for me because I did not have enough in my bank account to afford the meal.

Fortunately, that job turned out very well. I lived below my means, paid off the debt, steadily invested in a three fund portfolio, and had reached a million dollar net worth by 33.

You are not behind, and doing the basics will work over time. Make sure you are enjoying your life so that you will have staying power in your field. You sound like you are doing great on that front, and working through things with a therapist at a young age is a good move. Sometimes the process of thriving can feel a little uncomfortable at times, and you may be riding through a patch of that at the moment. Careerwise, it probably makes more sense to look for ways to increase your salary through your main gig, rather than distracting yourself with side hustles (unless those are very exciting to you).
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by Longdog »

You're 24. You can't POSSIBLY be behind! :happy The fact that you feel that way probably puts you way AHEAD because it will inform your future decisions!
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by il0kin »

OP - I understand how you feel having fought tooth and nail to break the cycle of bad family finances. I am now in my early 30s, so I am far enough removed from being 24 but not so far so that I hope my advice is helpful.

You’re doing exactly what you should be doing. When you get too deep into personal finance forums/boards it can feel like everyone is retiring at 30 with $1M, but in reality that’s only a VERY small and VERY lucky group of people who made immense personal sacrifices. In 10 years, you’ll likely have accounts with balances >250k and be well on your way to where you want to be. You understand the basics now, so make your plan, keep learning, keep saving, and let time work it’s magic.

I had to slow down on reading boards like Bogleheads because saving/finance was taking up too much of my mental space and honestly, this stuff is pretty simple for most people once you get a handle on it, there’s only so much to read.

The thing that’s difficult for high achieving, high saving people is that these goals take a lot of time to accomplish, but they will come to fruition with patience and planning.

You’ll be where you want to be in no time. Set it, forget it and enjoy your life in the meantime.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by vitaflo »

ShakaWaka21 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:31 pm I stopped reading the forums and listening to FI podcasts. I had to unplug since it became to much of a focus and took away from actually doing things I enjoyed like cycling, hiking, and off roading.
Do not stop yourself from doing the things you enjoy. I did that, and if there's one thing I regret in life it's focusing too much on saving and not enough on living. In the end I would have been fine either way, but I wasted precious years of life just trying to "get ahead", when I would have gotten ahead no matter what I did.

Obviously this doesn't mean blowing money, but it also doesn't mean being a miser either. It's a long and slow climb to FI, not a race. Make sure you enjoy the journey.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by Williams57 »

You're doing great, so, Congrats!

I don't know where you're moving in CO, but I want to warn you CO can be really hot in the summer. In Denver it hit 101F, and I believe Grand Junction hit 110F a few days back.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by Ajcorpus »

I haven’t read the whole thread, someone may have mentioned this already. But just by the mere fact that you are on this forum asking for advice at 24 means that you are far far ahead than most of your peers. Congratulations!
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by FrugalConservative »

You are kicking butt for a 24 year old. I see a bright future for you and the hubby. Regarding the truck. F350 is a serious work truck, I was bit apprehensive to suggest it , but considering you are going down the home remodeling business path and own rentals, it will suit your needs perfectly.
Good luck!
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by hoffse »

You are doing great. Keep this up and you will die rich.

Don't overthink it or stress. Just keep doing what you are doing. The first $100K really feels like a slog and then it just rolls from there.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by Shallowpockets »

Maybe this forum is not so great for 24 year olds, Why? Because you may start thinking like a 60 year old. If you read these forums there are all sorts of questions and problems that crop up. Not even all of them financial. Don’t start thinking like a 60 year old when you are 24. You may then be adopting all the angst and concern that you should not have at your age.
You have a job, a savings, a plan, a life. No need to interject old people problems into what should be a time where you can even make financial mistakes and still recover.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by gravlax »

Put me down as another vote for "yes, you are overthinking this". I think you're poised to do pretty well financially.

I have to admit to seeing your thread title (Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind) and thinking to myself that I wish I had given myself a gut check at 24 years old. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't;'t get my financial life together until into my 30s. Even then, the 20 years (gasp!) that has passed since then has been enough time for me to save a significant, to me, nest egg. You have the benefit of time on your side if you continue saving from now.

I also grew up in poverty, but have the feeling of being very wealthy now. Not that I am actually anywhere near what most would consider very wealthy, but more that it feels that way to me. I am so appreciative of the fact that I can get an unexpected bill or expense for say, $1000, and then just pay it off and move on.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by finite_difference »

I want to say my net worth through my twenties was a very round number. And by very round I mean zero.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by bogledogle »

Dude, you are killing it at 24. You are already doing all the right things. Just set a reasonable monthly/annual savings goal and tune out rest of the noise. Focus on your CPA track and career and how to increase your income rather than save more. Move to that mountain town and go have some fun while you are young.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by Sandtrap »

Given one’s background, roots, and perhaps culture, foundation values and norms remain the metric to compare much through life.
And, in your case, the impetus for (broad and financial) success you have now and going forward.
“Feeling” behind is your motivational gift if in balance.

Stick to your long range plans and “financial” and “investment” and other strategies. Ignore other internal and external “noise”.

Everyone is different in these things per experience, culture, background, and finances.

OP: Set your goals higher if you become complacent. But not lower.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by Dennisl »

You're fine. Long time time. A lot of us didn't start investing until later in life. I got out of training in my mid 30s drowning in debt, now I'm on track for a reasonable retirement. As long as you don't make big financial mistakes, you should be golden.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by BrooklynInvest »

My net worth was zero at 30. It was negative prior.

I'm jealous ;-)
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by stoptothink »

BrooklynInvest wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:47 pm My net worth was zero at 30. It was negative prior.

I'm jealous ;-)
OP is so far of the huge majority of their peers it's not even funny https://thecollegeinvestor.com/14611/av ... llennials/. I was in a similar position at the same age, but then found myself nearly broke again at 30 due to hundred of thousands in educations costs and then divorce. Just turned 40 (wife is 35) and we could probably comfortably retire tomorrow if we wanted. OP will be in the same position in 15yrs if they just stay the course.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by pseudoiterative »

ShakaWaka21 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:25 pm But the idea of purchasing a rental property has recently popped into my head as I'd like to start early and looking at my finances I feel like I'm not ready for that and considering I'm moving. I know my income will grow in the next several years and I'm not even close to my peak earning years.

I'm also second guessing my move that is in 2 weeks since I'm moving to higher COL and wondering if I should stay in my LCOL to prioritize building wealth.
For me, by far the most significant factor in building wealth was job-hopping in my late 20s until I discovered a work context where I was getting paid at a much better rate for doing essentially the same work that I had done in my early 20s. It is far easier to save and invest when your revenue from work suddenly increases by a factor of 3x. Once you've found a profitable niche then it's just a matter of putting in the time -- provided you don't get hit with a massive dose of bad luck.

I would suggest not worrying too much about LCOL and minimising your expenses, as long as you don't let expenses grow uncontrolled beyond your means. Instead focus on planning how to advance your career & cultivating new professional opportunities - e.g. professional networking. In my niche & geography switching to contracting was a much more profitable way to ply a trade than being a permanent employee.

You're only in your 20s once, may as well make the most of it! Defer focusing too much on investing & wealth until your career kicks into gear and starts generating more cash.

It can be a useful exercise to sit down with a piece of paper and think "where might i want to be in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?" not just financially but in the various major aspects of your life. Take a longer term view. Some things take time. Note also that you won't be exactly the same person in 10 years, so to some extent you are guessing what the future version of you might want or will value -- be open to possibilities. It can be kind to give future-you more options, but you don't want to completely sacrifice present-you in order to do so.
Last edited by pseudoiterative on Thu Jun 17, 2021 6:35 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Gut check at 24 years old - not sure if I should feel this behind

Post by White Coat Investor »

alex_686 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:47 pm
ShakaWaka21 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:25 pm I'm also second guessing my move that is in 2 weeks since I'm moving to higher COL and wondering if I should stay in my LCOL to prioritize building wealth.
You are 24. There is no way you could be behind, and you are far ahead of most.
Nobody ever considered me "behind" and I didn't have a thing invested before the year I turned 29. So at a minimum, you're 5 years ahead of me.

Focus on your career and boosting your income. You wouldn't believe how much easier it is to build wealth after doubling your salary a time or two.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course
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