Best Investing Advice for Career Newbies

The Dave Ramsey pros help with the ABCs of saving and making money

LifeZette has teamed up with the pros at Dave Ramsey to help answer some of your most pressing money questions. When it comes to investing, many people don’t have a clue where to start — and desperately need sound advice.

Rachel Cruze and Chris Hogan, personal finance experts, get questions about investing all the time, particularly from young people who are just beginning their careers and want to know how to properly and wisely handle their money.

Consider the following questions a young person just embarking on a full-time job in the working world has asked about investing.

Question: What is the best way for someone of my age (25ish) to invest their 401(k)? I know this is to save money, but is there a best practice for where to put that money? Do I do use a regular 401(k) or a Roth?

Answer from Rachel Cruze: Your 20s are the best time to lay the foundation for a successful retirement. Set up an investment account with the help of an investment professional so you can allow compound interest to work on your behalf. Compound interest is your best friend when it comes to preparing for retirement.

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It’s important to take note of the differences in a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k). The money you invest in a traditional 401(k) is pre-tax, which means you don’t pay taxes on the money until it is withdrawn from the account. With a Roth 401(k) option, you’ll pay income taxes on the money before you contribute to the account. You get the benefit of tax-free growth on your contributions, and that could literally save you hundreds of thousands of dollars or more at retirement. If your company offers the Roth 401(k) option, take it!

You should invest 15 percent of your income into retirement. If your company offers a match on a 401(k) or similar plan, invest up to the match. Then put the rest into a new Roth IRA (individual retirement agreement). If they offer a Roth 401(k), invest the whole 15 percent there.

Question: How should I invest properly and diversify those investments in a balanced way?

Answer from Chris Hogan: The most important thing you can do when making investment decisions is to seek out an investment professional who can help you on your journey. Take the time to interview potential advisers to make sure they have the heart of a teacher and will protect your wealth.

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I recommend investing in long-term investments like mutual funds, and chances are your 401(k) is full of them. Mutual funds are formed when investors pool their money together and invest in something. There are four types of mutual funds: Growth and Income funds, Growth funds, Aggressive Growth funds and International funds. I spread out my investing evenly across the four different types. But you need to work with your investment professional to decide what is best for your situation.

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Rachel Cruze is co-author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book, “Smart Money, Smart Kids,” with her dad, Dave Ramsey. Chris Hogan specializes in personal finance, retirement and leadership. His new book, “Retire Inspired: It’s Not an Age. It’s a Financial Number,” was released in January 2016.

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