ASBMB webinar
offers financial advice

Published May 01 2019

Paying bills Roth IRA. Credit cards. Student loans. Car loans. Checking account. Personal finance can be confusing and a source of stress. Getting into good habits when you’re in your 20s or 30s can reduce the likelihood of long-term problems. To help instill those habits, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology recently offered a financial advice webinar for its members.

Eric Goodbar, managing director at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, delivered the talk. Here are some highlights.

“You can collapse the hype and jargon to a few clear concepts you can use throughout your career,” Goodbar said.

The starting point is the checking account. “Your checking account is the root of the financial tree of life. It’s like an organic footprint. It’s essential to balance your checkbook monthly,” Goodbar said. He explained that balancing your checkbook will enable you to track what you earn; what you pay out for rent, bills and other expenses; and what you keep.

“Data capture of your income and spending pattern leads to a viable budget plan,” he said.

A key component of a financial plan is putting aside money for an emergency fund. Goodbar warned that anyone might be out of work for a time and it’s essential to have enough money for three to six months of living expenses in a savings account. Consider how much you spend on housing, food, utilities and other monthly expenses. “Plan for the worst. Hope for the best,” he said.

Once you have a budget plan and an emergency fund, consider investing for retirement. For investors in their 20s or 30s, the goal should be compounding interest, not maximizing performance, Goodbar said.

“Investing for the future is a bit like forecasting the outcome of metabolic pathways,” he said.

There is a plethora of rules out there on how much to invest. Goodbar suggests the 4 percent rule. Take your salary and multiply it by 4 percent. For example, let’s say you earn $50,000 a year. Multiply by 4 percent and you get $2,000 a year. Readjust the amount when you get pay raises. This percentage is for people who plan to live modestly, he said. Retirees who plan to travel extensively will need to save more.

Goodbar made a couple of reading recommendations:

The Infographic Guide to Personal Finance: A Visual Reference for Everything You Need to Know” by Michele Cagan and Elisabeth Lariviere

Personal finance simplified: The step-by-step guide for smart money management
by Tycho Press

Join us on Twitter

The ASBMB will host a Twitter chat on finances for scientists in May. Follow us on Twitter for date and time information, mark your calendar, and plan to join us with your questions and comments.

Photo of Jeffrey Pines Jeffrey Pines has worked as a journalist since 1994, covering corporations and investors for Bloomberg News, Bridge News and Dow Jones, and writing about a variety of topics for service and housing providers for the elderly. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a public affairs specialist.