My Personal Finance Journey

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A Cheat Sheet for Millionaires To Be

Contributed by mm | August 13, 2004 8:46 PM PST

While I usually take so-called "expert opinion" with a grain of salt, this nicely written piece from CNN Money on a laundry list of tips for millions-to-be still aroused my curiosity and I cannot help but draw a comparison between my comparison and what is recommended:

How much should I save?

Guideline: In addition to maxing out your retirement plans such as your 401(k) or IRA, try to save at least 10 percent of your take-home pay for other goals, such as an emergency fund, college or a new home.

My Personal Practice: After maxing out my 401(k) at around $13,000/year (before company matching), I save another $25,000 (or more) per year -- this is around 25% of the take-home pay of my family.

How much house can I buy?

Guideline: If you're buying a home and don't want to feel stretched over hot coals for years to come, the home shouldn't cost more than two-and-a-half times your gross income.

My Personal Practice: Yes, my home is close to the magin number of 2.5.

How much debt is too much?

Guideline: Your total monthly long-term debt payments -- including your mortgage, credit card payments and loan payments -- should not exceed 36 percent of your gross monthly income.

My Personal Practice: I have no revolving credit card balance nor auto loan. My mortgage payment is around 12% of the gross income.

What's the most effective way to pay down credit card debt?

Guideline: Allocate a fixed amount each month to the task, and have it withdrawn automatically from your checking account, if possible. Your priority should be to pay off your high-interest rate debt first, while continuing to make at least the minimum payments on your other bills.

My Personal Practice: I have no revolving credit card debt so this does not apply to me.

What should my net worth be?

Guideline: According to the bestselling book "The Millionaire Next Door," if you're interested in being a "wealth accumulator" your net worth should equal your age times your pretax income divided by 10. That number, minus any money you inherited, should be your net worth for your age and income.

My Personal Practice: I am way behind this formula but I don't think it applies to the 20s either; it is like to expect me to save every penny I have every earned in my life.

How much should I have when I retire?

Guideline: As a ballpark estimate, your nest egg should be roughly 20 times the annual expenses you'll have but which won't be covered by pension or Social Security payments. That should enable you to withdraw 5 percent of your savings each year without tapping much of your principal.

My Personal Practice: I am looking to around 16 times my expected annaul withdrawal in my exercise "Is $1,000,000 enough?" I may be a little bit optimistic (I love the $1,000,000 as a round number) but also I didn't include any social security income in my analysis.

How much life insurance should I have?

Guideline: If you're married with kids, you need a policy that covers far more than that provided by your employer typically two times your salary.

My Personal Practice: My current coverage is around four times of my gross income.

This Post Has Received 34 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


financeblogger Commented on May 4, 2006

Just wondering how old you are? I'm also in the same boat and its good to know how much other people have acculumated in your age bracket. I'm 23 and dont have nearly as much Net Worth as you do.


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