- rpf prime directive - if you aren't sure where to start, start here.
Prime Directive Summary
- don’t waste money on dumb shit
- does your employer offer a 401k match? if so, do that.
- extra money left over? do you have any debt with >5% interest? If so, put it towards that until paid off.
- money left after that? put $3,550 of it into an HSA (2x for married couples)
- money left after that? put $6,000 into a Roth IRA (2x for married couples)
- money left after that? max out your 401k distribution to $19,500
- money left after that? if kids && faith college will be a thing, but up to $14,000 in a 529 plan, depending on how spoiled you want them to be
- money left after that?, and I dunno… pick up some bitcoin maybe?
More on 401k valuation here, and why you should invest in them aggressively.
- There is zero correlation between the cost of something and how much happiness it brings you. The idea that saving and investing is boring is something they tell the poors to keep them that way.
- True wealth is physical and mental health. - Mr. Money Mustache
- “Money is a story, once you have enough for beans and rice, and taking care of your family… money is a story. It is better to tell yourself a story about money that you can happily live with.” -- Seth Godin (Source)
- "the american dream is to make a lot of money with computers and then to never touch computers ever again" -@palm_beach_m on Twitter
- Creating a budget spreadsheet and plan:
- Calculate monthly house income. Use a 12-month average if you have variable income.
- List all mandatory expenses - E Mortgage, car payment, groceries, utilities. For expenses that change we look at the last three or four months and set that average as our budget.
- List all mandatory annual expenses, divide by 12.
- List all other recurring monthly charges. (ex. Netflix)
- List other annualized expenses (i.e. vacations, home improvement, clothing).
- Calculate your minimum monthly nut (aka "rice and beans money").
- Calculate your standard monthly spend.
- leave some for miscellaneous, then assign the rest to either savings or investments based on your current goals.
- Use past credit card statements to make conservative estimates, perfection doesn't matter. For example, if you grocery spend is between $500-$800 every month, I'd estimate on the higher side, say $700. The goal is not perfect legibility.
- Adjust as needed. I see budgets as a general plan not a strict doctrine. It's a tool to enable you to make better deliberate decisions, not a disciplinarian. Prices, income, and goals can all change, adjust accordingly.
- Use Nerdwallet.com and /r/churning to find credit cards with good points returns and sign up bonuses. (these aren't as good as they used to be pre-pandemic.)
- Pay credit cards to $0 every month.
- You can use these points to pay for travel, or gift cards. Look at the terms and maximize point value where you can. For example, when we aren't traveling we get gift cards to Target, Amazon, and Home Depot.
- All spending goes on credit cards unless you have to pay for the privilege. This provides protection from fraud that debit cards do not.
- Automate monthly bills and at least minimum payments on credit cards.
- Automate monthly investments.