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>>I am 29 and hoping to retire well before age 67, which is when my full social security benefits would kick in... The balance is now $163k

>Not a bad start at all. Keep doing that for starters :).

Thanks. Yeah, I definitely plan on continuing the contributions to the 401k. I would be crazy not to.

>First step, make absolutely sure you pay this off without paying another dime of interest... ever. Consumer debt is *the* greatest killer of financial independence.

Yeah, I know. I allowed this debt to happen because of my ex-partner's problems. I shouldn't have helped him to the degree I did in the first place. Expensive lesson learned for me, I hope.

>Still, $90K plus after taxes is an income that most people - nevermind single 29 year olds - could only dream of. Taxes may effect yor investment strategy, but I guarantee you there are bigger issue effecting your savings.

I just checked my net take home in my tax spreadsheet for last year and it was under $90k after taxes, which added up to nearly $42k.

Ah, there we go ;)

>Now, you make a good living, you're entitled to enjoy it. But you have to realize the tradeoffs. Money you spend now is money you can never spend later. Which would you rather have - all the latest and greatest electronics? Or an early and secure retirement? Because you probably can't have both, my friend.

Hehe, there's the rub. Compromises, compromises..

>As far as what else to do - track your spending.

I have been doing that for years with great discipline. I know exactly where every cent goes. Even for cash! The problem is usually when I have large savings available, I get tempted, and end up making a few big purchases which add up. I just looked back and a few years, instead of doing that, I prepaid the mortgage by significant amounts.

>At your tax rate you may always want to consider municipal bonds as well - to figure out if that's a good idea for you, just look a little term called 'tax equivalent yield' :)

Yeah, I know what the term means.

>If I was you, I would start looking at the funds on If you really don't want to do any work on your own (which is *fine*!), then one of their targetted retirement funds may be perfect. Otherwise, you can select a handful of index funds to create your own retirement target :)

I think I would like to know at least a *little* bit where the money is invested in terms of asset allocation. The targeted funds don't give me a lot of confidence.

>$1000/month * 12 months/year * 20 years = $240K of contributions alone. If you can do that, you should be in very good shape. Your challenge is to find ways to balance your spending with your savings. And your biggest friend is time, so start saving early.

Yeah. I'm just hoping I'm not starting too late for the 45-50 retirement target I'm shooting for. $240k in today's dollars would not go very far for me the way I live right now, it would be depleted in about 2 years. It might be 2.5 years or 3 with the mortgage gone by then. But really there has to be some significant earnings over the investment period well above inflation to sustain living for 10 years with this amount.

>Perhaps your confusion is mistaking 'indexes' for the S&P500. Check out the Russel 2000 or a Real Estate index. What about a foreign or emerging markets index, these have been doing very very well also.

Yes, the S&P 500 is definitely not one I would like to invest in. Can you name a few index funds for foreign markets, emerging markets, and real estate ? Thanks !
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