Ep. 151: Mailbag

This week, I dig into more of your questions. These are the ones I tackle:

“Hello Pete, I’m a 23-year-old and I work as a chemist making $50,000 a year. I’m currently contributing 6% to my employer-sponsored Roth 401(k) and maxing out my Roth IRA. I also recently started investing in a taxable account with my tax return and end-of-the-year bonus money. I have $26,000 in student loan debt and $10,000 in a car loan. The interest rates are 5.2% and 2.45% respectively. I currently make the minimum payments on each but feel overwhelmed by the large amount of debt. Should I keep throwing my extra money in the taxable account or start to double down on those loans? My investments have been making more than I currently pay in interest which is why I feel I am at a crossroads.”

— Alex from Wisconsin

Is a 35% power percentage really realistic? I’m a single 27-year-old, drive a paid-off car, invest 12% toward retirement (includes employer contributions, retirement is between a Roth and a traditional), invest 8% gross toward emergency savings, 4.33% gross toward a taxable brokerage account, and to show for all of it, my net worth is in the low 40’s. The only debt I have is a small chunk of credit card debt. The problem I had was that after computing my power percentage, I have a less than satisfactory percentage at 25%. Am I missing something?”

— Cory from Colorado

“Hey Pete, I’ve been a big fan for a long time, my dad was too. I have to say, he probably followed more of your advice than me. One thing he did follow was your advice for freezing my parents’ credit. It sounds great, but now that he’s passed, my mom can’t get anything in her name because she doesn’t know the answers to the security questions they’re asking. Anyway, this on top of all the stress of losing her husband is an enormous pain. What do you think? A great blog post in the making or weeks of time on the phone in frustration or both?”

—Allison

I also cover manure, silent killers, and my best tactics for faking your way through English class. What can I say? Sometimes I get off track.

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