Author Topic: 26yr old looking for a bit of advice and opinions.  (Read 2871 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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26yr old looking for a bit of advice and opinions.
« on: May 07, 2014, 06:48:57 PM »
Hey all you Mustachians out there. Been reading the MMM blog for a few months now, and have implemented some of the concepts in my life. Just need some opinions and advice

Income: Make $1450 every two weeks, after taxes. Also work a 2nd job on weekends that provides me $120 for 2 nights work (Bouncer) So assuming 2 paychecks a month plus my 2nd job, monthly income is around $3380 a month after taxes

Current expenses: Rent-$650
                           Car payment $1000 (My biggest debt with highest interest. I owe 15,000 left and want to pay most of it off by this year, so that's why I am paying 1000. Minimum payment is $601...this is the only materialistic item I have that I love)                   
                           Cell phone-$110 (Looking into the Republic Wireless plan soon though)
                          Food-$80 per week
                           Gas-$50 per week
                           Gym $37 per month (its on the way to work, so that and its a GREAT gym for my training plan and is pretty heap is why I still have a membership)
                           Savings account-$500 (Explain in Assets)
                          Student loan-$150 a month (Owe 20,000 but interest rate is low. Want to pay off car first so making minimum payments on this until car is paid off, then most of money I pay monthly on car will go to Loan)
                          This leaves about $300 extra per month, which I use for unforeseen expenses and entertainment (Yes I know, I could probably cut out entertainment but hard to do in a beach city and a girlfriend haha)

So far I have cut groceries in half, cut my gym membership from $90 to $37, cut out cable, even gotten my cell phone bill down by $40..Will be buying a cheap bike to get to my 2nd job and around locally. The main job is located in a "less than desirable" location (high crime rate, industrial area) so moving close by is not an option. It is currently about 30min drive away, and make the trip 4 days a week (so many vacation days I have to use that I basically HAVE to take every Friday off or lose them all...and yes my bosses are ok with this) I do NOT have kids or credit card debt so that's a plus financially.

Expected ER expenses: (optional, if relevant)

Assets: Amount & description - Savings account $4400 so far, putting between $300-$500 per month to have as "Emergency Expense Fund". Would like to reach $10,000 by end of year, so will have to adjust how much goes in to reach goal.
401k-This is where I struggle to comprehend. I put in3% and employer matches 3%. So 6% total. Current balance is just under $14,000. It is invested in 6% Wells Fargo Stable Return Fund, 30% PIMCO bond, 53% Domestic Stock, and 11%International Stock...Not sure if I should switch to something else or not. Not really experienced in these matters. Once all debt is paid off, All extra income will go into investing.

Liabilities: Car loan $15,000 left. Paying $1000 a month to pay off faster.
               Student Loan $20,000. Paying $150 per month until Car is paid off

SO basically trying to pay off the debt this year. Then excess funds will go into investing. The big thing is, I hate my current main job. I would like to find a career that would make me happier, but know the debt should be taken care of now before making any job changes (which is another reason I would like 10,000 in my savings by end of the year, to hold me over for few months while finding next job) I am turning 27 in a month, so although I started a bit late, I still feel like it is early enough to make better financial decisions to enable me to retire at earlier age Any tips or advice is appreciated

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

  • Walrus Stache
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Re: 26yr old looking for a bit of advice and opinions.
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2014, 07:03:52 PM »
$80 a week per food is still a whole lot, especially since you are also spending a lot on "entertainment." A good goal is $100/person/month on groceries. And do you want to "entertain" your girlfriend... or build an actual life with her? Your city may provide additional temptations, but that doesn't mean that it is "harder" there to find free and cheap things to do.

You are slaving away at a job you hate. Do you really LOVE that car more than you HATE your job? Sell it, pay cash for a cheap car, and find a job that you like.

Another Reader

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Re: 26yr old looking for a bit of advice and opinions.
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2014, 07:45:14 PM »
You haven't said much about the car itself or your living situation.  At $125 a month or $1,500 per year for insurance , you either have a bad driving record or you own a car that has high losses and is expensive to repair.  The $601 minimum payment seems high as well.  Did you get hit with a high interest rate?  If so, you may be able to refinance and lower your payment.  If this is a sensible Honda Civic, it might not be worth selling it.  You could keep it for another 150,000 miles and maintain it meticulously.  If this is a red Camaro, well, car love is fleeting and retirement or even a job change is a lot further away because of the car. 

Your rent sounds reasonable, especially if the beach city is in California.  Are you in an apartment or are you sharing a house?  Not knowing your location, at least a cursory examination of lower cost alternatives might be helpful.  Gas goes with the car and your commute.  Food seems high for one person, even feeding the GF occasionally.  Entertainment, well, you know that's optional and it's holding you back.  Kudos on the second job, but understand a lot of that income is paying for the entertainment.

You really need to bump up the retirement savings, especially in that nice, tax advantaged 401k.  Yeah the options may not be great but 20 years from now you will be thanking your 27 year old self.  Yes, you need an emergency fund, but ideally you will start a new job right after you leave your current job.  Maybe divert some of the savings to retirement.

However, in your shoes, my number one concern would be figuring out what I wanted to do to earn (a lot more) money until I was able to retire.  What kind of education do you have?  Do you know what career/job you would like?  What will it take to get you started down that path?  Once you figure out what you want to do and how you are going to get there, a lot of the other priorities will sort themselves out.

Overall, you are doing better than most folks your age.  I just wish the rest of your generation was as sensible.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: 26yr old looking for a bit of advice and opinions.
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2014, 07:47:47 PM »
What do you drive?


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: 26yr old looking for a bit of advice and opinions.
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2014, 08:03:53 PM »

(1) CAR: Sorry to break the news, but that car payment is just ridiculous....Your hair is on fire!! I get you love the car, and you need at least 1 car, but you will never ER unless you sell that car and pay cash for something substantially cheaper. You probably have enough equity built up in the car to get a solid used Scion Xb etc. after paying off the loan.

(2) PHONE: You could cut the phone down by 75%, easily. Republic etc.

(3) FOOD/OUT: $320/mo food + $300/mo entertainment is too high for a single guy. I could see ~$400/mo for food/drinks/eating out/entertainment - but anything more and your girlfriend should probably pick up some of the tab.

(4) GYM: I understand the situation is good, but I'd try to find a way to exercise without the gym . You live in a beach city - there has to be a good running club? Pick up dumbbells on Craigslist.

(5) 401k: I'd personally invest 90% of the 401k money in an S&P 500 Index fund, 10% stable value. Good enough for Warren Buffett, good enough for you and me.


SAVINGS = HOLY SMOKES! If you do all the changes I mentioned above, you will save....$1000/mo car + $75/mo phone + $25/mo gym + $200/mo food (+ what you're already saving as $500/mo SAVINGS + $100/mo Student loans)....$1900/mo!!! Send all the free cash flow to your loans, and your loans will be paid off by start of summer next year. That's right, debt free my friend in 10.5 months. It would be a tough road, but less than a year?, totally doable.

JOB: Do everything above and you can afford to do whatever you love. My only advice is not to jump into what school you'd enjoy, etc, and not borrow student loans. Rather take some time to volunteer and learn what is actually worth doing, maybe as a side project while you reshore your finances by method above. Maybe you'll find a profession where you can apprentice or learn on the job, that you'd enjoy. That, or just go for the money and FIRE sooner. Life is too short for not doing one or the other.

Good luck to you and be well.