Now that I'm an adult (ha), how do I bank, invest, & budget?
February 16, 2013 10:59 AM Subscribe
I'm starting what feels like my first "real" job soon, so it's time to straighten out my good but messy financial situation. Need advice on: credit cards, banks, brokerage accounts, & budgeting.
posted by acidic to Work & Money (4 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I've been working & saving aggressively since I was very young (I'm 25). Here's my situation at a glance:
25k in checking account (BofA, linked to my parents' account)
45k in brokerage account (Schwab, simple/Roth/individual) -- note, this isn't due to my own savvy. My extended family's policy was that children could do menial labor at the family business and get paid pretty generously, but 100% had to be invested. I haven't contributed anything in ages (which I will change ASAP).
New salary: 65k, with 2500/month left after rent, utilities, & insurance
First, I need a checking account that's not linked to any family members. I had one while working abroad, but never bothered to open one when I moved back home. I'd like something with excellent online banking and easy transfers. Schwab (no ATM fees) and my dad's credit union (a bit far from my new place) are both options, but I'm open to anything. Also, how much should I keep in my checking account & savings account (assuming no big purchases on the horizon)?
Second, I need a credit card just to build credit & shop at sketchy websites. Aside from no annual fees and sign-up rewards, how do I choose if I don't need a specific limit or interest rate?
Third, I am happy with Schwab but curious about all the Vanguard evangelists. What's the difference? Also, what should I read to learn about asset allocation for someone in my situation (young with no defined goals)?
Fourth, what are some good budgeting resources? I've looked at YNAB and it seems designed for getting out of debt or a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. I guess I could budget a ton for savings and get to "zero balance" from there, but I don't know if that's sensible. I am pretty frugal, but what I do spend is not particularly wise-- cheap clothing, snacks, impulse buys. I'd like a system that helps me stay very conscious of individual purchases.