If You Can – How Millennials Can Get Rich Slowly, by William J. Bernstein:
Would you believe me if I told you that there’s an investment strategy that a seven-year-old could understand, will take you fifteen minutes of work per year, outperform 90 percent of finance professionals in the long run, and make you a millionaire over time?
Well, it is true, and here it is: Start by saving 15 percent of your salary at age 25 into a 401(k) plan, an IRA, or a taxable account (or all three). Put equal amounts of that 15 percent into just three different mutual funds:
- A U.S. total stock market index fund
- An international total stock market index fund
- A U.S. total bond market index fund.
Over time, the three funds will grow at different rates, so once per year you’ll adjust their amounts so that they’re again equal. (That’s the fifteen minutes per year, assuming you’ve enrolled in an automatic savings plan.)
That’s it; if you can follow this simple recipe throughout your working career, you will almost certainly beat out most professional investors. More importantly, you’ll likely accumulate enough savings to retire comfortably.
Five things that need to be overcome to succeed at this:
Hurdle number one: People spend too much money.
Hurdle number two: You’ll need an adequate understanding of what finance is all about.
Hurdle number three: Learning the basics of financial and market history.
Hurdle number four: Overcoming your biggest enemy—the face in the mirror—is a daunting task.
Hurdle number five: As an investor, you must recognize the monsters that populate the financial industry.
Good, straightforward advice.
A second bit of good, straightforward advice is from Harold Pollack, as reported in It’s time to take a look at the index card with all the financial advice you’ll ever need. The part I particularly like is:
Save 20% of your money
The first article suggests 15%, the second suggests 20%. The percent really isn’t the point – both are just different strategies. The point is to commit to save a significant amount each month. With 10% towards tithing and 15-20% towards saving, living on 70-75% of my income should just be a set rule for me.
Lastly, and on a non-advice financial note, I’ve started testing out Wave Accounting as a financial tool. I’m liking the custom categories and clean interface – two important parts to my ideal financial tool.
Thanks Kirk Ouimet for sharing the booklet: If You Can