I'm 27, been working full time the past 6 years, summer jobs off and on for 5 years before that, and I've just recently realized that I have basically no idea what I'm doing when it comes to my retirement savings.
Ever since I got my first job, my older brother encouraged me to contribute the max contribution limit to a traditional IRA CD each year, or at least as much as I could afford, so that's what I've been doing most of the years that I've worked. I haven't really been keeping track of these accounts at all, though. I've just been lazily throwing my bank statements in a box. Sometimes renewal notices come in, and I don't even bother to see if I could be moving that money into a higher-yield account. They just go right into the cardboard black hole of shame, lol.
Anxiety/depression is mostly to blame here. I'm working on that, too. Dealing with money still does cause me quite a bit of anxiety, but only in the sense that I feel like I'll have to justify all of my financial decisions to other people. This may make early retirement a more difficult decision for me.
I realized a couple of years ago that I had never looked at my 401k, either. I think my contribution was set at like 1-3% by default, so I bumped that up to 12%.
I just recently realized I can contribute a lot more than that, up to $18,000 a year, which I could easily afford to do. I guess I should just shoot for the maximum, or maybe put that money in an index fund instead? I don't really know.
So, I'm making my way through the box of shame right now, trying to figure out what to do going forward. My portfolio is as follows:
$36,000 in IRA CDs (some of the returns have been pathetically low. I'll need to figure out how/when/where to transfer these)
$31,000 in my 401k (90% stocks, 10% bonds right now. I just set it to whatever Vanguard recommended)
$40,000 in a money marking savings account (it earned, uhh... $2.50 in interest last year :/ )
$100,000 in my primary checking account (yikes :( I need to do something about that NOW)
The debit card number associated with that account was stolen last year, too, which makes this my #1 priority. Fortunately, my bank caught it very quickly, reissued a new card, and I lost nothing.
Annual salary (before tax): $76,000
Annual spending $36,000
Never been in debt, and no plans for a mortgage any time soon. I'm renting an apartment now, and plan on renting a house soon.
I just recently got my first secured credit card, so I can start building credit, like adults are apparently supposed to do, lol.
There's some kind of gamified incentive point system that my health insurance company is doing, and I've been missing out on that free money for years, around $800 per year. I'll have to do better about that, too and finally get around to finding a primary care physician.
Spouse/kids? Nope, never had any desire for either of those things. Hey, what can I say, I'm a Single Pringle :P
I'd like to retire as early as possible, but I'm not really sure what age range I should target, what kind of nest egg I could reasonably expect to have, or what my worst-case scenario of potentially high medical expenses and all-time low stock returns would look like. I've tried plugging some numbers into various retirement calculators, but it's hard to know what inputs to use. For instance, Vanguard thinks I'll need 85% of my income in retirement. I just can't see my expenses ever being that high, but I guess it depends largely on cost of living, medical fees, house payments, etc.
I have a lot of post-retirement plans: travel, mountain biking, freelance software development (possibly for profit, and on a "whenever I feel like it" basis), writing music (just for fun, not necessarily for profit), volunteering at nursing homes, more travel (btw, "a lot" of travel for me would be like 3 to 4 weeks out of the year, usually camping or visiting relatives)
I think I'm doing pretty well in my savings right now, I guess, but it just stresses me out not knowing what exactly I'm doing with my money, or how much I'm losing out on by not investing it. I really wish I were taught this stuff in school. I think I would be a lot less confused right now.