The (Long-Term) Finance Thread

RenegadeRiker

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First, some shameless family promotion here. My brother is a financial-services/wealth-management pro who is working on building a client base and helping people. He’s set me up with some interesting retirement, insurance and investment stuff, including disability insurance if I get COVID or otherwise incapacitated. Would you be interested in talking to him? If so, message me and I’ll put y’all in touch.

So, we mostly work for pay. It’s not necessarily a lot, but it’s a livable wage for the most part, but we typically work a lot of hours for that pay and there’s obvious concerns about fatigue, longevity, sustainability and things like the availability of overtime. In the decade I’ve been in this, I’ve gone from an overtime king to not working it at all and then to a nuanced medium, and the only thing I’ve really gained is an appreciation of how little I gained when I just threw money at problems without a solid plan. What are you doing to budget and use/ enjoy your income, sustain it and protect it? ( not a rhetorical question, I would like to hear more ideas too).
 

ffemt8978

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Interesting topic, and one I wager is often overlooked in EMS.
 

Tigger

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My officer used to be a investment broker and I really need to work with him more to come up with a real plan. That said, for a while my goal was to buy a house so I wanted my money available should that be something I could pull the trigger on. I got a high yield online savings account to put that money in so I would at least get some return. It was 3.~% when I started, they've cut it to below one which sucks. I used a sizeable chunk of that to put a big down payment on my truck to get a payment that was below 350 and plan to pay that off in two years. I am no longer as interested in immediate home ownership so perhaps it would be good to put what's left of my house buying fund in...something. After reading "Winning The Loser's Game" I am relatively convinced to just find index funds or EFTs and go with that. I don't expect huge returns and know that eventually that money is getting pulled for a downpayment on a house, but still, beats a savings account.

I pay for short-term (less than two year) disability insurance, always have. There is a group buy through work. I figure if I need more than two years to recover from something, I need a new career.

We are pension based, which takes some retirement questions out of the question. There is also a 457 available but I do not use it as there is no match. I take 300 a month automatically out of my checks and put it into the above mentioned "high yield" account. If there was a match I would consider putting some of that 300 in a 457.

My old job had both a 407 and 457 that I contributed to and both have a 4% match. As a PRN person there now I can still contribute to one (the 407? maybe?) and get the match so I continue to do that. Should I stop working there I'm not sure what I'll use that for. I could buy years on my pension but retirement date is only 58 so that doesn't make sense. No plans to quit really, there are minimal hourly requirements and I like the ambiance of the real mountains.

I use OT or part time jobs to pay for things that aren't essential, like travel or outdoor gear upfront. If something happens to my truck, I'll pick up OT to pay for the repairs immediately, provided it's available which it has been for the past seven years. Even if not, I could live 95% of my life on my base salary and am somewhat confident I would not miss the last 5% if every source of extra cash disappeared. I have two teaching jobs, and two PRN ambulance jobs that require minimal upkeep so I think I can keep the "bougier" aspects around. I probably work more than most folks but I'm single and rent. I enjoy the variety that my jobs give me and am thankful that I got to be a "good" paramedic faster than many as a result of diverse experience. I work less now that I am well taken care of (shocker) and plan to continue to wind down as I climb the pay scale. But I imagine I'll always have a PRN spot somewhere or be doing some teaching.
 

DrParasite

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EMS, as an industry, is full of people 18 to 25, who live paycheck to paycheck, and aren't looking at the long term effects of their current financial decisions. I remember a decision I had with a coworker about investing in the hospitals 403b; his response was "i'm young, I don't need to worry about that now." I believe my exact response to him was "you're a moron." We, as an industry, also have a bunch of 18-25 year olds who are willing to accept a below livable base wage, because they are planning on making that up with working copious amounts of OT, especially when they live beyond their means.

While I am not a financial expert, a smart person gave me some advice that I have carried with me to this day: "when you are young, max out your 401k." Invest as much money as you can into it when your young (401k for a for-profit company, 403B for a non-profit) because the money increases a lot over the years (I don't understand exactly how it actually works, that's what you need a financial person to explain). If your company has any type of match, put in as much as you need to get their maximum match level; otherwise, you are losing free money.

Nothing against @RenegadeRiker's brother, but I would not recommend talking to him. the reason is simple: he's a random person on the phone. However, I do recommend everyone speak to a financial planner. We all have a bank account right? go into the local branch, and schedule an appointment with somebody who knows what they are talking about. It's likely FREE, and they can give you advice about your situation.

Full disclosure, I currently work in the finance industry (for a credit union, in case anyone was wondering, with an awesome match program), and I have scheduled appointments with our investment group to discuss options. I know where my strengths are, and financial knowledge isn't one of them; that's why you go to someone who knows about all this stuff, and someone who you can develop a relationship with, more than just over the phone. I believe @EpiEMS works in the finance industry as well, but I'm not sure exactly what he does
 

mgr22

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Interesting topic, and one I wager is often overlooked in EMS.

True, but you'll find at least three articles about finance on EMS1 if you look up Money Matters, Budget Basics, and Investing 101 on that website. They won't replace in-depth research or consultation with professional advisers, but they're free and relatively recent.
 

VentMonkey

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I agree with @DrParasite as far as seeking expert advice and consultation, especially if you’re (like me) no financial wizard.

I have an IRA and a company 401k both which I max out annually. Once I get closer to my desired retirement age I plan to adjust accordingly.

FWIW, I am not a fan of the “you can’t retire from this career-field” mindset.
 

johnrsemt

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1st things 1st:
A: If you are just starting out in your life
1: Invest in your future early in your career. If you put in $5,000 a year for 10 years (from 20-29) into an IRA Mutual fund that earns an average of 12% (average of the S&P 500) and then never put another dime into your IRA, but don't touch it until you retire at 62 (or maybe 65)………....You will have more money at retirement than if you put $10,000 a year into the same IRA per year from 30 years old until you retire.
2: Don't go into debt, except to buy a house. My wife and I did bought a lot of things on credit, and I am now 56 and should get out of debt this year for the 1st time since I was 25 years old. DON'T DO IT. Don't buy a new car every few years, don't buy ANYTHING ON CREDIT. STAY OUT OF DEBT.
3: Put 15% of your income into your company 401K up to their match (if they match 4% then put in 4% of your income; if they match 2% then do 2% etc.) then put $4,000 of your income into an ROTH IRA in a good mutual fund (or $8,000 if you are married) then put the rest (up to 15% of your income) into the 401K. If you do that the entire time you work you can retire with well over $5 million if not $10-25 million for retirement.
4: Pay cash for things that you save up for. Don't buy a new car, the average car payment is over $500 a month: put $500 a month into a Mutual fund for 10 years, after you save up and buy a $10K car for cash, and in 10 years you should have over $100K. Then when your car needs replacing, take $10-15K out of Mutual fund, buy another used car, and keep putting $500 a month into Mutual fund (Above retirement). That will be another $2 million or so when you retire.

{I hate to say this for those that have family members that work in banking}
5: Don't go to a banker or Credit Union Investment person for investment advice: They work for the bank or Credit Union, they get credit or bonuses when they get you to invest in their products: and when I was last in the lobby of my Credit Union the best CD was 2.9% for 5 years on $50K: That doesn't even match inflation.
Go to a true financial advisor: a Mutual fund my brother in law advised my to buy into for our ROTH IRA (You can use almost anything to invest in for a ROTH IRA) earned us 11.7% during former President Obama's terms in Office (my 401K made 9.2% during the same time frame): but the last 3 years under President Trump that same Mutual Fund only made a lousy 29%. My 401K (not counting what I put in or the match) made 59%: it dropped to 7% from April to July of this year, but it back up to 18% since July.
I wish we were totally out of debt they last 12 years and I could have been putting the full 15% into retirement, and the last 6 years an additional $15K more to make up for my retirement since I am older. But when I get out of debt later this year I am maxing everything out.

B: If you are older and in debt: GET OUT OF DEBT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, then start dumping 15% of your income into retirement (plus if you can afford to the extra $15k. Why retire broke? Retire as a millionaire. My Uncle and Aunt did it at 56, they retired with $5 million and live off the interest:, their best income was $95K a year. Their kids just wish they taught by more than example (and so do I).
My dad is 89 years old, still living in the house that he and my mom bought in 1958, still makes more off of his retirement than off of Social Security: and he retired in 1991. His best income year was $41,500. The only thing he ever bought on credit was his $14,800 house (that is now worth $325,000.

If you are out of debt except your house pay it off as soon as you can: don't keep the house payment for the tax break. Think about I: "I want to pay the bank $3,500 a year in interest so that I can get a $2,000 tax break": (and that is only if you get more than the $24,000 joint tax deduction, which less than 10% of married Americans got last year). I want to pay the bank $3,500 in interest so that I don't get anything back in taxes???? But people do it because their parents taught them to do it; and bankers tell them to do it.

Pay off your house: in 2008 when the housing market crashed 100% of houses foreclosed on by the banks had a mortgage: or in the reverse 0% of people that owned their house outright had the bank take them away.



How many people are planning on living only on Social Security when they retire? I hope no one thinks they will be able to
 

SandpitMedic

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While I am not a financial expert...
..Full disclosure, I currently work in the finance industry...
Wait, what?

Anyways,

A couple of good free options are are www.clark.com and www.daveramsey.com for financial planning, advice, and resources on building wealth and getting out of debt. They both also have syndicated radio shows where the dole out free advice for all things consumer and finance related- might be good to find them on your dial and give a listen to see if you like their advice. They also have great free programs and reputations and have a great deal of knowledge to help people out with the complications of the personal finance.

As others have said, it's never too early or too late to gain control of your finances and to achieve financial independence.
 

mgr22

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I see lots of advice worth considering. I'll just add that budgeting, tax preparation, and retirement planning (including SS and Medicare) are related disciplines that are ignored or misunderstood by many.
 

Seirende

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My short term plan is to live off government programs and my family.

My long term plan is nonexistent.
 

DrParasite

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Wait, what?
Not sure what you are confused about... I am not a financial expert. I work in IT as my full-time job, for a medium-sized financial institution. Before I started my current job (last Monday to be exact), I worked IT in a large financial institution. Still in the financial industry (and in the same 12 story highrise as the investment people, accounting, audit, etc), but no, I didn't handle the financial side of things; that was left up to those who were the experts.

And for the record, I was pretty much debt-free until I got married. and was progressing well to paying off that debt until I had my first child. it's slowly getting paid off. kids are expensive.
My short term plan is to live off government programs and my family.

My long term plan is nonexistent.
That is a horrible plan, however one that is all too common. Those that fail to plan plan to fail.
 

SandpitMedic

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Not sure what you are confused about... I am not a financial expert. I work in IT as my full-time job,
Just asking, brother. Congratulations on the new job. I thought you were a FT firefighter gone bank teller. 😅
The 2nd part of my post was just general advice for everyone- not directed at you specifically.
 

DrParasite

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Just asking, brother. Congratulations on the new job. I thought you were a FT firefighter gone bank teller. 😅
naahhh although the hours would be better... and less chance of a getting burned... although they do get shot at a surprisingly similar rate...

I am a part-time FF, and was former full-time ambulance rider, before transitioning to IT. Better hours, a better schedule, and better career opportunities. And with this new job, I might be leaving the FD altogether and joining a tech rescue / confined space team, because it might be able to get me a top-secret clearance (which would open even more doors for me on the IT/cybersecurity side). Still waiting to see what happens, and get stabilized in the new company.

Got to plan for the long term.
 

Seirende

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That is a horrible plan, however one that is all too common. Those that fail to plan plan to fail.

I've had many plans in my life and not a one has worked out yet. I keep trying, though.
 

DesertMedic66

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My plan is strippers and blow. And with my company’s recent settlement there will be a lot
 

SandpitMedic

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This thread is heading down a dark hole.
 

Carlos Danger

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The recipe for long-term financial success is very simple:

1. Avoid debt
2. Spend less than you earn
3. Invest your savings wisely

Exactly how to do those things is more nuanced, of course, but none of it is complicated. Budgeting and investing, for instance, are best done using very simple approaches.

I think Dave Ramsay is an assclown personally, but his "baby steps" are a solid roadmap for getting started. There are countless free tools for making a budget.

I highly recommend "The Simple Path to Wealth" by J.L. Collins. It's an easy read or listen and has tons and tons of good info.
 

akflightmedic

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And in this day and age....things I wish I knew a couple decades ago....just because you do not have much money now, does not mean you will not have money later...pre-nuptial agreement.

I was a paycheck to paycheck Paramedic who was on welfare two different times and had three young kids. I busted my butt working every OT hour I could. I eventually did very well for myself by building a business. It grew and grew...

As harsh as it sounds, young couples seem never to honestly disclose or discuss financial topics.

I will NOT get married again without a very protective prenup.

It is total bollocks how the courts still favor a party of the marriage who is completely capable of working and educating themselves and living a normal life...the divorce court laws are still relevant to 1950 and earlier.

So even though I did a LOT of the financial advice given above, we never had a financial talk and I never protected myself in the event of divorce.

Sounds crappy cause when you are "in love" and "in it together" discussing agreements should divorce happen is a tough topic. Even more tough if you bring it up when you have nothing. LOL
 

Seirende

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Middle-term plan is to try to get DVR services so they can help me figure out how to work with a disability. I guess the caveat I'm trying to make is that you can make plans, but "the best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley.” I've learned that lesson the hard way.
 

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