Major life change, not sure what to do with my financials

Congrats on the job. Here would be my suggestion.

  1. Identify your required obligations. The three main ones are taxes, healthcare, and housing costs. Let's assume no deductions for sake of simplicity and let's be a bit generous with the numbers.

$13k - housing; $20k - taxes (general assumption); $4k - health (pay check plus potential visits)

You have $32k remaining.

  1. You actually have a fund your future.

Put as much money as you can starting today in your retirement. Tons of reasons why earlier and more is the best.

$5.5k is the max for Roth IRAs. $18k is the max for 401k.

I would advise on maxing IRA and at least 6% of base salary on your 401k. I know you don't have a match, but you may if you jump.

That will total to somewhere around $10k annually. That leaves you with $22k.

  1. Emergency savings - 6 months of total expenses.

$10-15k range for you. Park that signing bonus into emergency savings, and save the remaining $10k ASAP.

Once you are done with that emergency savings fund, continue to save the same rate into an index fund.

You are at $12k remaining now.

  1. Car Payment + Gas/Insurance and Repairs

All are probably in the $350-$400 range per month.

That's basically $4.5-$5k a year. Now you have $7k remaining.

This is why people suggest getting a used reliable car in cash that gets good MPG - no monthly payments, cheaper insurance, cheaper cost to operate.

  1. Avoid lifestyle creep and push to save more.

So with $7k remaining, can you live off of $550-600/month after your rent, car, retirement, etc payments? That's basically $115 per week on food, booze, general shopping, etc.

If the answer is yes, then can you live off less and pump more into your retirement? If so, do it.

Lastly, you may start receiving annual bonuses and salary increases. Think of those earnings to help pay out your retirement debts - not to increase your personal expenses.

  1. It's okay to splurge a moderation.

If you want to go on a vacation, do it wisely. Enjoy the experiences. Saving money should enable you to do it with confidence. Just be smart about it.

/r/personalfinance Thread