The Lil Money Manifesto - A guide to saving and investing

The lil money manifesto


A guide to taking care of your money.
Made with love by millennials, for millennials.


0. Choose your manifesto adventure

Hello and welcome! If you're a millennial earning money and want to feel 😎 about your finances but instead feel 😣, this tiny website is for you. It's ultimately a tool to understand how to invest your income.

This manifesto comes in two journeys: the logical one and the comical one. The logical one is a factual, detailed series of steps, and the comical one is the same story told in comic form. The logical one starts right below, and the comical one starts from this point. Start with the one that's better for your brain!

Oh and if you'd like to hear about more tools like this, you can join our lil mailing list here:


1. Know what your money is currently up to

Why? Knowing how much you earn, how much you spend, how much you pay in taxes, how much you have in savings and investment accounts is fundamental for deciding how to direct your money.


2. Pay your expenses in full (don’t carry a credit card balance)

Why? You can’t invest what you don’t have. This might mean examining what you’re spending money on and intentionally funneling eating out money to your 401(k), for example, but regardless you should be paying off all your bills each month. This is especially true for credit card bills. Average credit card interest rates have ranged from 12-16% in the last ten years - that’s a ton of interest to be paying, so avoid carrying a credit card balance at all costs.


3. Save an emergency fund, 3 months then 6 months

Why? Life happens, and you don’t want to have to take on debt when it does. Start with a fund equivalent to one-three months of your monthly living expenses. After you pay off any high-interest debt, increase this month to six months’ worth of monthly expenses. Store this money in a high-yield savings account (in 2018, that means an account with an interest rate of 1% or higher).


4. Pay off your high interest (8% +) debt

Why? This debt is costing you more than money invested in stocks will bring you. Again, average credit card APR has ranged between 12-16% over the last ten years, and more expensive car and student loans can also end up with rates higher than 8%.


5. Contribute to your 401(k) to the match level

Why? Free money, tax benefits, and compound growth.

If you have a 401(k) with a match, that means your employer will funnel a certain amount of their money into your retirement savings – free money. This match is the reason for contributing to this investment account first, no matter how you decide to order the rest of your investments.

The 401(k) is a tax-deferred investment account, meaning that you contribute your pre-tax salary and you don’t get taxed on money you have in the account until you withdraw it.

If your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k) or offers a 401(k) but doesn’t offer a match, you should invest in a Roth IRA first.

Given the free money component of some 401(k)s, some people advise putting money into this before paying off high-interest debt – it’s reasonable advice, but many people find high-interest debt to be psychologically stressful and want to tackle it first.


6. Max out your Roth IRA

Why? Tax benefits, flexibility, and compound growth.

The Roth IRA is a tax-exempt investment account. You put after-tax money into the Roth, but you don’t have to pay any taxes on the principal or interest when you retire and cash out. There is no penalty for withdrawing your contribution early (although you might have to pay taxes on earnings), so the Roth leaves you flexibility for the ups and downs of life.

If your employer doesn’t provide a 401(k) and you are confident that you are making a lot more money now than you will be making when you retire, you may want to consider going with a traditional IRA (which lets you put in pre-tax money now – you pay taxes when you cash out, with the tax rate reflecting your income bracket at cash-out time). But note that the traditional IRA has a 10% early withdrawal penalty.


7. Set up a goal-based savings fund (separate from your emergency fund)

Why? You likely have things you need money for other than retiring. After you’ve set up some meaningful recurring flows into your retirement accounts, you want to consider major expenses on the horizon – like grad school, a home, bootstrapping your start-up, etc – before locking all your extra cash in investments. Figure out how much you’ll need and by when for each major goal, and start putting money away each month for the goal in a savings account separate from your emergency fund. That way you save yourself from accidentally depleting your emergency fund if life happens, as it does.


8. Max out your 401(k)

Tax benefits and compound growth. You already know why the 401(k) is a solid investment vehicle.


9. Contribute to other tax-advantaged accounts if applicable

Why? Tax benefits and compound growth.

If you make freelance income, you can open a SEP IRA specific to that money. If you are eligible for a Health Savings Account (HSA), you can invest that money, or use it, tax-free, for qualified health care expenses.


10. Open a taxable investment account at a discount brokerage (invest in a lifecycle fund)

Why? Compound growth, low fees, and simplicity.

If you go through a discount brokerage firm, you can pay extremely low fees to put money in a lifecycle fund – which is actually a basket of funds that adjusts to be more conservative as you age. This means you don’t have to figure out where to invest your money each year or have to pay someone to figure it out for you. Lifecycle funds are also a solid choice for the investments you have in your 401(k) and IRA.

Alternatively, you could open an account with a robo-advisor instead of at a discount brokerage. Robo-advisors will also allocate your funds based on your risk tolerance and age for a relatively low fee.


11. Automate and track everything

Why? Ease and confidence. Automating the flow of your income to your various savings and investment accounts will save you a significant chunk of time over the course of the year. It will also ensure that you actually save and invest the way you want to, rather than accidentally leaving the money resting in your checking account. Tracking your money will remind you where all these moving parts are and what they are doing for your current and future self. It also helps you see if you need to make changes to how you are allocating your money. There are several great tools that will automate this tracking for you.


12. Release a victorious yawp

Why? You freaking did it. Now sit back, relax, and go hustle on all your dreams.


Hi, I'm Minahil. I worked with friends to write up this little manifesto because figuring out finances is hard. There's a ton of information on the internet, and tons of companies trying to market you their financial products, and it's overwhelming to navigate. What do you do and in which order?? The steps above aren't a one-size-fits-all solution, but they are a pretty good starting point. I'm working on an action plan for actually implementing these steps - if you want to know when it's ready, you can sign up below. Onwards and upwards!


To the comical version | Back to top | Back to intro


A note on privilege: There is a hierarchy of money challenges, and the words above are tackling the least stressful and most privileged of these challenges – how to manage your earnings. But it is a challenge nonetheless, and so the Lil Money Manifesto was written to create a clear path through this particular realm of confusion.

A note on legal stuff: I am not a certified financial planner, so cannot give official financial advice. The information above is based on synthesizing the wisdom of the internet and financial planner friends, and I'd say it's pretty solid, but if you need personal financial advice, there's lots of certified folks willing to help you out. Don't sue me please, that'd suck for everyone.

A note on me: Hi, I'm Minahil. I worked with friends to write up this little manifesto because figuring out finances is hard. There's a ton of information on the internet, and tons of companies trying to market you their financial products, and it's overwhelming to navigate. What do you do and in which order?? The steps above aren't a one-size-fits-all solution, but they are a pretty good starting point. I'm working on an action plan for actually implementing these steps - if you want to know when it's ready, you can put your email in the form above. Onwards and upwards!

The lil money manifesto


A guide to taking care of your money.
Made with love by millennials, for millennials.


Hello and welcome! If you're a millennial earning money and want to feel 😎 about your finances but instead feel 😣, this tiny website is for you. It's ultimately a tool to understand how to invest your income.

The manifesto comes in two journeys: the logical one and the comical one.
The logical one is a factual, detailed series of steps, and the comical one is the same story told in comic form. The logical one starts from this point, and the comical one starts right below. Start with the one that's better for your brain!

Oh and if you'd like more of Lil Sol, you can join a lil mailing list here:





















To the logical version | Back to top | Back to intro


A note on privilege: There is a hierarchy of money challenges, and the words above are tackling the least stressful and most privileged of these challenges – how to manage your earnings. But it is a challenge nonetheless, and so the Lil Money Manifesto was written to create a clear path through this particular realm of confusion.

A note on legal stuff: I am not a certified financial planner, so cannot give official financial advice. The information above is based on synthesizing the wisdom of the internet and financial planner friends, and I'd say it's pretty solid, but if you need personal financial advice, there's lots of certified folks willing to help you out. Don't sue me please, that'd suck for everyone.

A note on me: Hi, I'm Minahil. I worked with friends to write up this little manifesto because figuring out finances is hard. There's a ton of information on the internet, and tons of companies trying to market you their financial products, and it's overwhelming to navigate. What do you do and in which order?? The steps above aren't a one-size-fits-all solution, but they are a pretty good starting point. I'm working on an action plan for actually implementing these steps - if you want to know when it's ready, you can put your email in the form above. Onwards and upwards!

Whoopee!! See you soon🤗

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