Saving & Investing When You’re Just Starting Out


After all the classes, exams, late nights, early mornings, interviews (so many interviews) you actually get to start the career you’ve spent the majority of your life working towards.

In addition to the million things you need to keep track of at your first “real” job, you also need to start thinking about putting your financial house in order.

You might be thinking: That sounds good, I want to do that – I like the idea of order in my finances. But, what does that really even mean? There are so many terms: Roth, W-4, 1099, dollar cost averaging, volatility, FDIC, stocks/bonds, ETF, Mutual Fund, automated trading platform…blah, blah, blah.

Things can get complicated very quickly and the reality is that each person’s journey is unique. The good news is that there are a couple of common themes to keep in mind when starting your expedition into the land of independent fiscal responsibility.

Step 1: Pay yourself first.

Before you spend any money on food, clothing, housing, entertainment, debt, whatever you can think of, be sure you have put aside something for yourself. The amount changes depending on the goals you want to achieve.

Buying a house, starting a family, opening a business, and retiring early are all goals that require financial resources to accomplish. Think about where you want to end up before you start.

Even if the amount you set aside is small to begin with, just start doing it. You need to get into the habit of saving regularly and consistently at the beginning of your career. This will reap huge dividends for you in the future


Step 2: Invest your savings prudently.

Many people will come to you with ideas about how to invest your money. Be critical, be cautious, and ask questions.

You are ultimately responsible for ensuring that you are working with someone who:

  • Is highly experienced within the field of personal finance
  • Possesses the tools and knowledge to guide you on the right path
  • Is required to place your interests ahead of his or her own (i.e. acts as a fiduciary).

Ask as many questions as you can. Learn how the person you are speaking with is paid. Ask them to explain their underlying assumptions. Go beyond the materials presented to you and dig into the details. Ask if they invest their own money this way, and if the answer is no, find out why.

Step 3: Appreciate your greatest asset – time

Right now, the most powerful force you have on your side is time. The dollars you invest today can work and grow for you for the rest of your life. Those dollars earn more dollars, which, in turn, earn more and more. This phenomenon, known as compound growth is extremely powerful, but it takes time. Come to terms with the fact that this is a lengthy process, do not get discouraged, and enjoy the ride.


This is just the beginning.



Wealthspire Advisors LLC is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary company of NFP Corp.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
This information should not be construed as a recommendation, offer to sell, or solicitation of an offer to buy a particular security or investment strategy. The commentary provided is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for accounting, legal, or tax advice. While the information is deemed reliable, Wealthspire Advisors cannot guarantee its accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose, and makes no warranties with regard to the results to be obtained from its use. © 2023 Wealthspire Advisors
Eric Dostal

About Eric Dostal, J.D., CFP®

Eric is a wealth advisor in our New York City office.

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