Saving up for a home purchase is a good idea, yet savers who are less savvy than Wilson may want to hold off on making a purchase, said Tim Maurer, director of personal finance at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and The BAM Alliance.
Why? That's because transaction costs associated with buying and selling a home can be up to 15 percent of the total, even in a rising market. At the start of your career, it might not make sense to put down roots, Maurer said.
He said building up savings outside of a retirement account, however, does make sense.
"The amount of money that you would need for that home down payment will benefit you whether you need that home or something else," Maurer said. He said that money could come in handy if you want to start your own business, for example, or take a year off and teach English in Costa Rica.
How to start investing your first big paychecks
1. First, contribute enough to your 401(k) to get the full employer match.
2. Next, open and fund a Roth IRA to the full amount.
3. Then, max out your 401(k) if you still have spare cash.
"You can't always save 10 percent, so over-save at the front end," Maurer said.
"I would love to get a condo and have that appreciate as an asset," said Chase Jordan, a 24-year-old senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. But Jordan said he likes living close to work too much to get a starter condo — and enjoys the freedom that renting provides.
Last year, for work, Jordan said he moved to the Middle East with about a day's notice.
"You never know what city you're going to be in, or where the next opportunity is," he said.
Instead of real estate, Jordan said he invests his money in a variety of different securities – a task he's now looking to outsource as he spends more time at his job. Jordan, who said he makes between $75,000 and $95,000 a year, said he has more than $15,000 in a brokerage account, and a similar amount in his 401(k) plan.