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Non-retirement Investments

May 24, 2011

Do you have them?  I don’t, unless you count a high yield savings account as an investment (hint:  you don’t).

T has decided to take an industry job for the summer, rather than focusing solely on his research.  This does mean a bit more money, but he’s mostly doing it to help him figure out his long term career path.  He’s due to get his offer letter sometime soon, and suddenly, he’s much more interested in our finances.  As stereotypes predict, he immediately gravitated towards learning about investments and long term planning, while I’m usually most interested in shorter term budgeting.

This summer we’ll have two real incomes to work with for the first time ever, and he wants to start adding some non-retirement investments.  I’m fine with the idea, though my tentative plan was to just keep saving cash until we had some idea of what our longer term plan was.  (Are we moving next year?  If so, where?)      Still, we are currently maxing out all our tax sheltered retirement accounts, so maybe it is time to try something else.

But I’m not sure where to start.  We don’t have a timeline for the investments, so how do we pick our risk/return level?  Where do we invest?  Vanguard/Fidelity?  How much should we allocate for this as opposed to cash?

I think we’ll make the decision once we see his offer.  How do you decide how much cash is enough, and when you can take on a little risk in your savings?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2011 6:35 am

    Moneapolis just had a good post about Vangaard lowering their investment minimums. You may want to check it out. She is on my blogroll.

  2. May 24, 2011 7:04 am

    I don’t have many non-retirement investments since I knew I’d be headed to business school, but my SO does. SO’s investments are with Sharebuilder and were picked up during the market crash, almost a play money approach.

    I’d recommend some tax-advantaged mutual funds or ETFs for the non-retirement account and if you wanted to dabble in dividends or individual stocks do so in your retirement accounts since you’ll pay less in taxes and simplify the paperwork. This would suggest you should go with Vanguard/Fidelity since they’ll have appropriate offerings.

  3. May 24, 2011 8:59 am

    I do have some non-retirement investments, but not a ton because I consider the investments in my Roth to be okay to put towards a home when we’re ready. As long as you have an emergency fund that you’re comfortable with, why not try investing half of your cash savings (not half of the total, just half of what you put aside monthly)? I have a brokerage account with E*Trade and typically buy Vanguard ETFs.

  4. May 25, 2011 11:20 am

    I have 17 shares of stock from incentive programs at work, and that’s it, outside of our 401Ks and Roth IRAs. The stock market makes me too nervous, so I try to keep my “real money” (i.e. money I will need in < 40 years) out of it!

  5. May 25, 2011 12:55 pm

    I dont have any non-retirement investments, but I’m planning on getting some together when my finances are in better shape. Im not sure the form that they will take, though I do really like dividend producing stocks like verizon, at&t and others.

  6. May 27, 2011 6:30 pm

    You and I are in the exact same spot! I have maxed out my RRSP contributions for the year already (yay!) so now I need to figure out non-retirement investments. I’m currently reading Smart Women Finish Rich and it’s really helping me figure out my goals so I know what I’m looking to invest in. Part 2 is finding a PFA that I click with…


    My last post:

  7. June 19, 2011 5:49 am

    I know I’m late on this, but I have my investments through Vanguard and I’ve been exceptionally happy with them, their service and their limited fees over the years. I’d suggest a good diversified mutual fund, which would be a lot less risky. As for how much to invest, you have to think about how much money you feel comfortable having in the bank. However, remember that this investment money is liquid too, so in an emergency, you could access it quickly. Sometimes I think about my regular investments like they are retirement investments and I can’t touch them. Not true!

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