Engineering Your Finances

NOTE: This book is a work in progress! It's littered with annotations and factual inaccuracies and unfinished sections. Don't use it to plan your life just yet, OK?


You're an engineer. You have tremendous earning potential. With relatively little work you'll be able to save up enough money to live off your investments and spend the rest of your life doing whatever you'd like (possibly more engineering).

We'll be discussing the nuts and bolts of doing that.

This article assumes that your goal is to accumulate wealth. Specifically, that you'd like to accumulate enough investments to live off in perpetuity if you choose to.

This is a useful goal. Even if the idea of a pile of money doesn't set your heart a-flutter, there are many tangible ways that such a pile can improve your life:

  • You can contribute more effectively to causes you care about,
  • You can enjoy a comfortable retirement some day,
  • You'll have more flexibility, and
  • You'll be able to make riskier life choices, confident that you won't have too far to fall.

Having a high net worth makes all these things much easier.

Who Is This Book For?

The ideal reader of this book is near the beginning of a career in a STEM field. They may have suddenly found themselves with a well-paying job, and may also have a vague idea that they should be doing something sensible with their newfound money.

While references are made to startups and tech companies, most of the material here should apply to young professionals in any field.

Similarly, while many of the ideas discussed in this book are universal, some sections deal with US-specific tax codes. Many other countries have analogous tax-advantaged accounts, but I'm not personally familiar with them and won't pretend to be! However, this book may also be useful to professionals who are moving to the US from overseas and are new to the American financial system.

A General Disclaimer

I'm not a financial adviser! I'm a personal finance enthusiast. I believe that all the information in this book is correct, but errors may exist.

In particular, the tax-related numbers are from 2017. I'll strive to keep these updated, but if it isn't 2017, these numbers may be not be accurate.

If you believe you've found an error, please let me know! I, and many other folks, will be extremely grateful. Just shoot me an email.

Please be aware that some of the links in this book are affiliate links. If you choose to buy the products that they point at, I'll get a small cut. I agree that this feels a bit gross, but (1) I've been careful to only insert affiliate links to products that I use and like myself, and (2) the revenue from these links helps fund the hosting and maintenance of this book.

Finally, I can't promise that this guide will lead you to a perfectly optimal financial life. However, I strongly believe that, if you follow it, you'll avoid some of the more common missteps and do just fine.

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