As his moniker suggests, money is hardly a foreign concept to the Money Wizard — a 26-year-old financial analyst and blogger with a six-figure net worth, who goes by the pen name Sean online.
In fact, he’s been curious about saving and investing since before he could even drive a car.
Inspired by an eighth-grade teacher who taught him about compound interest, as well as his grandfather — who was incredibly frugal and retired with $US1.2 million in investments — Sean started saving any extra cash he earned from his first job at age 16. Later, after reading a book called “Early Retirement Extreme” by Jacob Lund Fisker, he became determined to reach financial independence by age 37.
But it wasn’t until he graduated from college three and a half years ago that he was able to start seriously saving. His first investment? Signing up for his company-sponsored 401(k), contributing 5% of his pretax salary of $US45,000. Now, Sean’s salary is $US70,000 and his 401(k) contribution — just one of his vehicles for saving — is up to 25%.
“Maxing out my 401(k) is my primary investment goal each year,” Sean said. “Not only are employer matches possibly the greatest investment ever, the tax advantages of taking it a step further and contributing the IRS-allowed $US18,000 maximum each year are just too amazing to ignore.”
By contributing the maximum to his 401(k), Sean said he’s saving more than $US5,000 each year in taxes. He calls it “the smartest investment I ever made.”
“The rate which my net worth started growing, now that the full power of tax advantages were behind it, still blows my mind. Plus, I’m saving money today by giving myself more money in the future,” he said.
In August 2016, Sean’s net worth reached $US148,000. He shares monthly net worth updates on his blog, where he breaks down his progress.
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