Rich Desi Life in USA: Important Information for Indians

Motivation to save

Some general principles in personal finance

First, Calculate your Current Net worth

Make a Very Specific Future goal for your finances-Where you want to go in life, How much you want to have in future etc

But first, Are you Taking care of your health?

First Establish a way to “Storing Passwords” as you need a lot of accounts in your personal finance journey

Also, arrange or buy a “Safe Deposit Box” or a storage cabinet made of metal to keep valuables-it could be keys or documents or legacy folder or gold etc.

Freeze Your Credit Report, Protect yourself from Identity theft

Check your Credit Report for Free. The website FreeCreditReport dot com is not free. You can get a credit report once a year each from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Order one report from each every 4 months.

Read at least one or two Personal finance books by borrowing from the library or if you have Amazon Prime account, you can get a couple of books for free if you try Audible for 30 day trial. I heard both “Simple path to wealth” and “The White Coat Investor’s Financial Boot Camp” for free like that.

You can use “Libby app” to access online and audio books from your local library, you need your local library card to do this

Some Important Personal Finance Books

The Millionaire Next Door

Rich Dad Poor Dad

The Boglehead’s Guide to Investing

The Millionaire Mind

Getting Rich in America

The White Coat Investor

The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need

The Boglehead’s Guide to Retirement Planning

A Random Walk Down Wall Street

The Four Pillars of Investing

Buy “Term Life Insurance” if you have dependents -Look into ladder policies, Term4sale, policygenius.  Never buy Whole/variable/permanent or IndexedUniversal Life Insurance. Always buy Term Life insurance.

Start saving all the important info in a “Legacy Folder” for your spouse/family to access if anything happens to you unfortunately

Buy gently used car, not brand new. Do not buy extended warranty on vehicles and appliances

Learn various ways to Reduce Taxes

Buy simplest possible Equipment to keep yourself in good physical shape e.g. Dumbbells, treadmill etc. If you have time for gym-then it is ok.

See an estate lawyer to make ‘Living Revocable Trust’, your Wills, Estate planning, Power of Attorney, Asset protection

Prepare a well Written “Investor Policy Statement

Name beneficiaries on all investment and insurance accounts online

Learn how to Put investments in appropriate type of accounts

Buy “Umbrella insurance” for 1-2 Million or amount equal to your assets, usually it is $250-500 per year depending on your situation i.e. things you own, bundle with your auto and home insurance to get discount

Make sure you get good sleep every night

Start 401K if your employer offers

Take a Brokerage account to start investing in taxable account if you have more money to invest from Vanguard or Charles Schwab or Fidelity or T. Rowe Price etc

Determine your Asset Allocation=What %age of Stocks, Bonds, Cash each, More stocks % during initial Wealth accumulation stage, Increase Bonds during later Wealth Preservation stage

Learn about Three Fund Portfolio if you are overwhelmed by all the investment options

Have some idea about Real Estate Investing VS Stock Market Investing

How much % age of salary should be saved? The higher your salary, the higher % you save.

No lifestyle creep in the initial stage of your life. Invest more in the beginning of your career so money will have time to grow with compound interest.

Learn to Create a budget-You can use apps like Mint, YNAB, Everydollar, or create your own excel sheet. It helps to prevent unnecessary spending

Learn the “Order of investments”

Save “Emergency Fund” of 3-12 months expenses for bear markets, job change or health issues in an online only High interest savings accounts or CDs or cash

Pay off credit card debt/ High interest debt if you have.

The 401K or 403B -Pretax money of $19,500 to 401K from your salary in addition to match/contribution from employer for both wife and husband if both work

Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP)-Buy if they give good discount and if not many restrictions to sell

Invest in 457 Plans-$19,500, Better IRA [better than Non Governmental 457]

Max Out Your Health Savings Account (HSA)– $7,100 of your income per family,  it has Triple tax advantages-tax-deductible in the year of contribution, grow tax-free and no tax when withdrawn to use for eligible health care expenses only. Fidelity offers HSA account, Vanguard does not.

Put Pretax money in Traditional IRA. It grows year after year without paying taxes each year. If you earn more than $206K combined or more than $139K if you are single  then do “Backdoor Roth IRA for high earners

529 Education Savings Plan(s)- distributions for Qualified college Expenses are tax-free, Superfund a 529 if you have money

Develop a “Side Hustle” for 1099 income And do a (Simplified Employment Pension) SEP IRA

Pay off your Mortgage if you want peace of mind

Cash Balance Pension Plan if you have one

Check the account balances and “Rebalance your portfolio” Periodically to bring back %age of Stocks and Bonds to your initial plan. Target date funds rebalance automatically.

Buy some land in India as it appreciates a lot in a short time.

Real Estate

Cash flow and Leverage are the key points

Learn about “BRRRR method

Learn how to “create an LLC

Learn how to take and use “HELOC” to buy more properties

Learn how to do “1031 exchange” for same kind of properties to delay paying taxes

Buying your first rental property-Don’t buy very costly houses, Do not put too many bells and whistles

When is the  best time to “refinance a real estate property”?-If your home or current mortgage meets one or more of these conditions, it’s time to consider refinancing:  Increase in home value, Interest rates are low, Your current mortgage is relatively new

Self Employed

Contribute to an individual 401(k) [=solo 401(k)] or a SEP IRA-$57,000 in contributions

Hire your kids and put their wages into their Roth IRA

Things to do in the Beginning of the year

Front loading Roth IRA, 401K, 457b if you like to do and if your employer will still match your contributions

Things to do towards the End of year

Tax Loss Harvesting in your taxable account

Tax gain harvesting in UTMA

What to do when Buying a house

Yes, you can buy or sell a house without a realtor but you need to learn pros and cons

Always Get rid of PMI by paying more than 20% down payment

You can get CCTV wiring, install down sprout system underground, Get larger garage for easy parking etc if you are building a new house

Solar Panels on your house-Some like and some do not. Do your research

Home warranties are a rip off. Most do not like to pay for those memberships as they delay repairs, replacements of appliances by several weeks during which time you will be off heating or fridge or whatever appliance broke

How to Save Money

Credit card rewards-Use credit cards wisely to your advantage.

Buy cars with Cash if you can to save interest on loans

Take High deductible insurance if you are very healthy and invest in HSA for utilizing triple tax advantages

Keep deductibles high for auto insurance to decrease premiums

Shop at Aldi if you like as it is cheaper

Shop around for auto, home and liability insurance for a better rate periodically at least every 2 years or use TRIM app to do that for you

Shop for used items if possible

Buy gently used car in very good condition

Live close to work place to save time and gas money

Move to a lower cost of living area if it is possible

Take kids to Dollar Stores for play toys and buy multiple toys for cheap. They are happy and you save money

If you had to pay a late fee to either credit card or to phone company etc, always call them and request them to waive

Call cell phone company and ask what your average data usage is and see if you are overbuying unnecessary data service

See if your health insurance pays your gym membership

Apps to save money

Apps to download that save money

How to Save time

Robovacuum-Roomba

Robo lawn mower

Auto litter box for cats

Snowplow service, Lawn and Mowing service

Apartment or Townhome living to avoid lawn, snow work

Konmari method of closet storing

Outsource House cleaning, Car cleaning

Use Nanny for kitchen work if needed, Use Care.com to find people

Teach the kids to do their work-e.g. making their bed, laundry, etc. A paid chore list that pays the kids to complete.

Don’t waste too much time on Facebook discussions

Pay bills automatically-autopay

Live close to work place

Don’t argue which is better among Real estate vs Stocks. lol.

Interlink financial accounts like your different checking accounts, credit card accounts to pay with more than one checking account etc.

Various things to keep the young kids engaged in a healthy way, so they don’t waste your time -Rubik’s cube, Amazon echo dot etc.

Instacart app for ordering groceries if you are too busy to go shop

Use property management company if you have rental properties to save time and prevent headaches

Use apps to contribute for parties or gifts at work place-cash app, venmo

Online shopping at Amazon.com with prime membership

TSA Precheck & Global Entry, Airline checkins membership if you travel too much

Say “No” to people, places, events, engagements, holidays that you do not find fulfilling or worth your time

Bigger washing machines for laundry if you are buying new

Buy electric car to avoid going to gas station

Do not forget to Take care of your Health

Relax

Avoid Sugar

Eat out less

Invest in yourself

Dumb bells

Some Number rules

1% rent to cost ratio of rental properties: Divide Rent by Cost of your property. The higher the better. 1% is great. Most are less than 1%.

4% draw in retirement: Research shows you can draw up to 4% per year of your savings per year so retirement funds don’t run out before you die.

Rule of 72 for doubling money: Dividing 72 by yearly interest you get on your savings gives the number of years your money will take to double with compound interest

Some Finance Calculators

Compound Interest calculator

How much social security you will get

Net worth calculator

Just google them to find them

Things to Avoid

Most doctors feel Private Cord Blood banking is not recommended but donating to Public Cord Blood Bank is ok.

Do not buy Whole/universal/variable life insurance/IULs, Just do Term life insurance. Do not buy annuities.

Avoid Buying stupid stuff

Avoid Buying too much of a house in the beginning of the career

Avoid Buying brand new cars, just buy gently used cars of 2-3yr old.

Avoid Buying land for investment in USA

Avoid Buying individual stocks or trading in options

Avoid Expensive financial advisors

Avoid Front load or Deferred load mutual funds/commissions while buying and selling mutual funds

Avoid Actively managed mutual funds as opposed to passive index funds, due to high costs

Avoid Speculation-bitcoin especially HODLing. If you know trading and wanna trade then it is up to you

Avoid spending money insuring things you can afford to replace easily by yourself, like your cell phone and other electronics

Avoid Leasing the car. [ “Leasing is Fleecing”-Dave Ramsey.]

Avoid holding the same mutual funds that you have in the taxable account in any other account to avoid inadvertent wash sales when tax loss harvesting.

Majority recommending to avoid taking a loan from 401K. I took it and don’t regret it as I invested that loan money in good appreciating properties

Filing Taxes by yourself: You can use the following software

Turbo Tax

H&R Block

FreeTaxUSA

TaxAct

irs.gov

Work from home/Side Gigs

YouTube Channel-especially if you have an attractive face

Young kids finances

Roth IRA

UTMA/UTGA accounts

Stockpile account

Charity

Utilize Donor Advised Fund

Contributing appreciated funds from your taxable account rather than cash

Retire Early

How much money needs to be accumulated for retirement?

Sell stocks from taxable account to live off of for the first few years until Roth conversion ladder kicks in.
Money needed to retire=Number of years you expect to live after retirement X Your expected annual expenditures in retirement

Social security

Medicare

Funds in Retirement / Drawdown strategy

Estimate your fixed costs in retirement: Property taxes, living expenses, travel expenses, health insurance, Food, long term care etc

Cut your expenses down: Move to less costly area, Live in a smaller house, Stay healthy, Move to a different country

Make sure you do not have any debt

Have 2 yrs worth of cash during retirement as market correction typically lasts less than 2yrs

May be you have a part time job or a side gig that gives you some money to use in retirement, one can try youtube channel if they have handsome/beautiful face

Use Rental income if you have rental properties

Use dividends from Taxable accounts if you retire early

You can withdraw from 457b with out penalty if you retired from job

At 59.5 yrs, you can start withdrawing from 401K, If you leave the job, you can move 401K to Traditional IRA and then to Roth IRA by 70yrs of age as much money as possible to avoid RMDs

HSA money can be used for eligible health care expenditures

Do not EVER use Roth IRA money if you want to give all that money to your kids, No RMDs with this money

If you retire early, use “Roth conversion ladder

Social Security, earliest at 62yrs. Make an account here if you want to know how much SS money you get, It is a govt website and secure

Some people use Annuities or IULs if they already bought

529 with penalty if you do not need that for education

Inherited / gifted money if you are lucky-Cash, IRA, 457b from parents

Total Page Visits: 136 - Today Page Visits: 2