What do I even do?

Hello everyone.


I am 32 years old and since school doesn't help you with actual life I have absolutely no idea what to do about retirement. I have a grand saved up with fidelity from my old job but my current job does not have any kind of retirement plan/package and when I went to my bank to get assistance they refused to help me with any of it.


I don't know where to start

Idk if I should go to a bank, stick with fidelity...maybe there is stuff other than these two?

Should I pay someone to get this figured out?


I am a total idiot with this stuff that I literally don't even know what I should be asking here. 

Trusted Contributor

The more you can save early on in your life, the more it takes advantage of long term compounding..  Start by saving as much as you can into an IRA immediately.  A common example you will find in svereal retirement Wikis, if you start saving $1000 a month (that's an arbitrary sum - it doesn't matter if it's only $1 a month) when you are 20 for 10 years until you are 30 and then stop contributing, you will have more at retirement than if you start saving $1000 a month at 30 for 35 years until you are 65!

Gold Conversationalist


You are smart for thinking ahead.  What sort of work do you do?  Have you figured out how much of your paycheck you can save each month?  Your large financial banks (Citibank, Wells Fargo etc.) have financial advisors on site to help their customers.  I've used Vanguard and was very satisfied also.  The sooner you can establish a stable income and consistently contribute to your savings strategy the better. 

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Periodic Contributor

Justin, I have nearly 40 years experience running the comp and benefits functions for several Fortune 100 sized organizations.  My advice as a parent and as a comp and benefits professional is as follows.

  1. build an emergency fund to handle any unforeseen financial events that may come up.  A good target would be three months of pay, an even better target would be 6 months of pay.  Invest this in a low risk, easily accessed account like a money market fund.
  2. start your own IRA.  Target the maximum contribution allowed by law.
  3. you did not mention what your investment IQ is.  Target date funds are always a safe alternative for those that do not want to or cannot spend managing their portfolio.  Fidelity offers some good target date funds.

Many will disagree with the suggestion to first build an emergency fund but I have always found doing so allows you peace of mind in teh event of an unplanned financial emergency.  Another suggestion is to gut a subscription to Kiplinger's.  This is a well written monthly publication with many pertinent articles regarding saving and investing.  The main target audience is a little bit older than you but there are still many articles I think you would find relevent.


Very good advice!
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Gold Conversationalist

Justin, Here is an interesting article about financial advisers (who I mostly run away from). Written by a financial adviser whom I have good regard for. The article is his own experience attending one of the "free informative dinners" presented by such advisors, this one directed towards older people but some are aimed at anyone of any age.




There is a famous book written many years ago by a guy who worked for a Wall Street brokerage in his younger days, just before 1929. The title of the book is "But Where Are the Customer's Yachts?". He asked this question upon being shown where all the rich brokers kept their yachts. The title says it all. 


Like I said earlier, read the forums, blogs, and websites to learn. Then ask questions. You can do just as well with your finances as you can with any professional.


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Honored Social Butterfly

You wrote something in your posting about 'stick with Fidelity'.  I assume you are referring to Fidelity investments brokerage firm.

   They, imho, have one of the best websites of any financial institution as far as general information for learning how to budget, save, invest. Just go into the website and look at "Planning and Advice" which is a subheading right on the first page.

   You do not need to pay someone, at least at the getgo, to understand that you need to set up a budget, track your expenses, and get a hold on how much you can possibly afford to save. You initially need to get yourself in the position to save something ouit of every paycheck. Once you do that, you can look at their information as far as where to invest.

   You need to do this one step at a time. I started investing in my 20's and spent a great deal of time reading about how to save, budget, invest mostly through books (pre PC). That basic information is now available everywhere, online.

"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."
Gold Conversationalist

hi Justin,


Do not pay anyone else to handle your own finances. You can do quite well managing on your own (probably better than by paying someone else).


Check out these several websites and forums:   (formerly, the MSN money forums)


and there are many many many related websites (and forums) that you will see referenced in these two forums.


Good luck!

Gold Conversationalist

To clarify a bit:   spend some time reading the forums. Especially, read through the "wiki" at Bogleheads. 


Read. Consider. Read some more. Then put together any questions you might have after digesting all this information.


You need to be an "informed consumer"...both of information and of financial services.

Gold Conversationalist

To add my own personal experience, I began saving for retirement at just about your age, or a bit older. I saved as much as I could, saving 10% of my gross income for retirement, gradually upping it to 15-20 %. And the last dozen or so years of my working career (retired just last year at 66) I was, fortunately, able to up  this to a good 1/3 or more of my gross income. So I feel "confident" for my retirement expenses. 


My recommendation to a young person that I cared about would be "try to get to where you can save 15% of your gross income for long-term security. I know it's hard. But it's going to be harder later."

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