Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step Four – Invest 15% Of Your Income For Retirement

by Hank Coleman

The last week, I wrote an overview of Dave Ramsey’s baby steps system from his book, The Total Money Makeover, and I have been dissecting each of his individual baby steps as well. The Total Money Makeover is a personal finance book that I highly recommend and one of the greatest personal finance books to read.

Today, we will look at Baby Step 4 in more detail which is to invest 15% of your income for retirement. There are seven Dave Ramsey baby steps that you should follow in order that will lead you to financial peace. Dave Ramsey’s baby steps are…

Baby Step 1 – $1,000 Emergency Fund
Baby Step 2 – Pay Off All Of Your Debt With A Debt Snowball
Baby Step 3 – Fully Fund Your Emergency Fund
Baby Step 4 Save 15% Of Your Income For Retirement
Baby Step 5 – Save For Your Children’s College Education
Baby Step 6 Pay Off Your Mortgage Early
Baby Step 7 – Build Wealth And Give

Baby Step 4 – Save 15% Of Your Income For Retirement

Baby Step 4 in Dave Ramsey’s best-selling book and system, The Total Money Makeover, is to invest 15% of your gross pay in good growth stock mutual funds. While it is just a rule of thumb, he recommends 15% of your gross pay and not your net pay which means that you calculate the investment before taxes.

Ultimate Checklist for Your Finances

Take back control of your finances!

Get a FREE checklist for the money moves to make in the New Year.

Also get new articles, advice, and tips delivered right in your email inbox with our newsletter!

So, for example, if you earn $60,000 per year, you should be setting $9,000 aside in either a Roth IRA if you qualify for one, your employer’s 401k especially if they have a matching contribution program, and then in taxable accounts through stock mutual funds.

Dave Ramsey is especially fond of growth stocks thanks to their historic rate of return. The stock market has been struggling lately, but over the long term of almost one hundred years, the stock market has provided an excellent investment.

What Should You Invest Your Money In?

Baby Step 4 - Save 15% Of Your Income For RetirementSo, now that you know how much money you should be saving every month from your paycheck, then the ultimate question becomes where to put it? This is a problem that many people dwell on. Should you invest in individual stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or your company’s 401k? What about Roth IRAs?

If you stick strictly to the Dave Ramsey method that he outlines in The Total Money Makeover, he recommends buying good growth stock mutual funds to help you build your nest egg for retirement. You should have a well-diversified portfolio of stock mutual funds that include international stocks, mid-cap, small-cap, and large cap or capitalization companies. For most people, using a Roth IRA is one of the best tax advantages that you can find.

By using after-tax dollars in a Roth IRA, you can withdraw your investment and its earnings tax-free in retirement. Another investment that you should use first is a 401k if your company matches your contributions. Many employers match the first 3% of the investment that you make in a 401k. Not taking them up on that offer is essentially throwing away a 100% rate of return.

There is actually a rhyme to the reasoning as to where the 15% comes in. Dave Ramsey recommends 15% no more and no less. Investing more could hinder you from completing the next baby steps of funding your children’s college education and paying off your home mortgage early.

Other things that are taken into consideration are the average rate of return for the stock market, inflation, how large a nest egg you will need to have in retirement, how many years you will invest before retirement, and how much of your nest egg you will withdraw. 

Baby Step 1 – $1,000 Emergency Fund
Baby Step 2 – Pay Off All Of Your Debt With A Debt Snowball
Baby Step 3 – Fully Fund Your Emergency Fund
Baby Step 4 Save 15% Of Your Income For Retirement
Baby Step 5 – Save For Your Children’s College Education
Baby Step 6 Pay Off Your Mortgage Early
Baby Step 7 – Build Wealth And Give

Open a Lending Club IRA and boost your retirement

About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 586 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


Subscribe To Money Q&A

If you want to learn more about taking back control of your money please subscribe to Money Q&A’s RSS feed or via email to receive all the latest articles! You can also subscribe to our Free Weekly Newsletter.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Crystal

But what if you are not starting your retirement investing until 45 years old, would you still recommend 15%. Additionally, I will likely have 2 or 3 pensions coming my way by the time I retire because I work in government. Would you still recommend 15% in those cases as well?

Reply

Leave a Comment


Previous post:

Next post: