There's tons of financial advice floating around on the Web for novice investors. The problem is, many of the suggestions have already been drilled into your head by parents, professors, and other random advisers: Start saving ASAP. Avoid debt. Contribute enough to your 401(k) to get the company match. And so on.
After scrolling through several stories and sites for gems (specific or eyebrow-raising advice), I've rounded up tips and resources you can bookmark for future reference:
• Young investors should be stashing at least 7 percent of their gross pay in a 401(k), according to a financial planner in this TheStreet.com story. He also suggests you build up $15,000 to $20,000 in a balanced retirement fund (note: It's not clear if he's talking about a target-date fund, or a true balanced fund, which is a static mix of stocks and bonds), then think about adding funds with international or emerging-markets exposure.
• In a typical retirement plan, employers match up to 3 percent of your salary, according to the Profit Sharing/401(k) Council of America (via Bankrate). If your company doesn't match, you should send higher-ups an E-mail and tell them the company should, advises Mark Bruno, author of the book Save Now or Die Trying: Achieving Long-Term Wealth in Your 20s and 30s.
• Play it aggressive, says Vanguard's head of investing planning and research, and put 90 percent of your investments in stocks.
• When it comes to retirement, you'll be fending for yourself more than previous generations did. For people in their 20s, it's likely that 10 percent or fewer will get a monthly pension check or receive health insurance in retirement from an employer, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. (Today, about 33 percent of retirees get a monthly check from a pension, and 28 percent receive health insurance from a former employer.)
• Here is an entire website dedicated to financial planning for 20-somethings, including a money guide for help with prioritizing things like debt and savings, and a primer on how to build a portfolio with a modest amount of cash. Also, here are five mutual funds with low minimum investments, in case you're thinking of investing your stimulus check.
• Learn how to trim your tax bill with this recent guide to tax breaks for 20-somethings.
• This snappy 30-minute investing start-up kit recommends two high-interest online savings accounts for short-term investments and a T. Rowe Price fund for long-term investments.