Disclaimer: No matter what I write, please do your own research. There are a lot of variables you need to think about, but I know those variables are what causes the paralysis, so each recommendation will be followed up with more research to do if you want to do it. This post also assumes that you have little to no debt. If you have too much debt, then get rid off it first.
1. Start an emergency savings account. Go to CapitalOne 360 and open an account using this link. Start the account with more than $250, and this referral link, and we both get $20 for opening a new account. You should put no less than $5K and no more than $10K in it.
- For more research, go to www.bankrate.com and look for the best savings account to get the highest yield for your cash. I know for sure CapitalOne 360 is no longer the type yielding savings account. You should have 6 months worth of expenses saved up, so the $5K-$10K is just super generic.
- For more research, check out www.vanguard.com and www.usaa.com before opening an IRA with Fidelity. Both companies offer Total Stock Market mutual funds with different performances and fees. Also, depending on your age and personal tax situation, you'll need to decide if a ROTH or a Traditional IRA is the right thing for you. Lastly, you'll need to determine your risk profile to see if a pure stock portfolio is the right risk allocation. MOST people would benefit from just sticking to the Total Stock Market mutual funds listed above.
- Not many people have money left after starting an emergency fund and maxing out an IRA. If you do, then that's great, so you'll definitely want to take advantage of the TSP. You don't want to put 100% of your money into retirement accounts so you can save for short- and medium-term goals.
- Just like for military members, you'll definitely want to make sure you're not putting 100% of your savings into retirement accounts.
Hopefully I helped take some of that click paralysis away. Just do exactly what I wrote here and you'll be ahead of 90% of the population in your income bracket.