Matt Filippini has worked at two technology startups since graduating from college, is an avidskier and wants to buy a house soon.
The 27-year-old works in business development at app developer Ibotta Inc. in Denver, wherehe makes $40,000 a year. He also has an equity stake in the company, so he stands to reapfinancial rewards if it gets sold or goes public.
Every month, he automatically transfers $800 from his checking account into his savingsaccount, where he has about $38,000, some of which he plans to use for a down payment on ahouse. He also keeps at least $3,500 in his checking account.
Mr. Filippini's big expenses include the $2,000 to $3,000 he spends annually on skiing, and theadditional $900 to $1,000 he spent this year on flights, hotels and gifts associated with goingto friends' weddings. But he pays off his credit-card balance every month and he tries to avoidusing his car by commuting to work on his bike as often as he can.
Using Mint.com, Mr. Filippini sets a budget for his expenses and likes how the site notifies himwhenever he's getting close to his limit or has gone over it and spent too much.
He pays $1,400 a month for his apartment, which he shares with a friend, but is hoping to buya two- to three-bedroom house next year in the $300,000 to $400,000 range. He says he is'sick' of throwing away money on rent.
The house is 'not only a financial goal but a lifelong goal,' he says. 'I want to take the nextsteps in being a homeowner and having those responsibilities.'
In the next five to 10 years, he also wants to start his own business.
But Mr. Filippini hasn't started saving for retirement yet because he doesn't feel his income ishigh enough. 'Right now, I live day to day,' he says.
Advice From the Pro: Mr. Filippini should rethink whether he can afford a house next yearbecause if he buys a home in the price range he's targeting, the mortgage payment couldtake up too much of his monthly budget, says Sal Miceli, an independent fee-only financialplanner in Littleton, Colo.
One option would be to purchase a house in the $250,000 range and then rent out a room toa friend for $1,000 a month, which would cover much of the mortgage payment.
If Mr. Filippini wants flexibility to move to a different city in future years, he should keeprenting, Mr. Miceli says. Another advantage to waiting: In the future, he might have a friendor partner willing to go in with him on the house, which would make the purchase morefinancially prudent.
Mr. Miceli likes how Mr. Filippini is debt free, pays off his credit card every month and is aheadof his peers in that he carefully monitors his spending and has a sizable amount of savings.
If he uses some of his savings for a down payment, he should plan to replenish the account.
Mr. Miceli also praises the fact that Mr. Filippini has an equity stake in his employer, saying: 'Ifhe's lucky, that will work out . . . I think it's a good idea to do something like that' at his age.
Mr. Filippini should start a regular individual retirement account or Roth IRA as soon as possibleto take maximum advantage of compounding, Mr. Miceli says. He should put 10% of hisannual income into such an account and try to get a match from his employer.
To afford those retirement contributions, Mr. Filippini can cut in half to $400 the amount heputs in his savings account every month, which isn't earning much interest. He also should uselow-cost index-type funds, and since he's young, be fairly aggressive in his investing style: 90% in stocks and 10% in bonds, Mr. Miceli says.