It is never too late to start investing. You should start saving for retirement when you first started earning income, but that may not be reasonable for most people. Here’s the thing: you are never too old to start investing. Regardless if you are 30, 40, or 50 years old, it’s never too late. Sure, the later you start, the more work you’ll need to do. But, it’s not impossible to start investing at any age. And starting at a later stage in life isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.
If you aren’t investing, now might be the perfect time to begin. Regardless of your age right now, there is still time to invest for a comfortable retirement or for a financially independence.
Why It’s Never Too Late to Start Investing
You might be wondering if investing at 30 or 40 years old is too late or believe investing at age 50 is impossible. Well, I am here to say it’s never too late. You can still grow your money through investing at any age.
First, you don’t have to invest a lot of money and do it all at once. You will benefit from the power of compounding. Second, it’s not too late because you can adjust your contributions and investing amount to fit your goals and time horizon. Third, you’ll learn more about creating wealth because you started. Finally, the longer you wait regardless of your age right now, the harder it will be to get started. So, the trick is to start.
Let me get this out of the way. The stock market is for everyone. It’s for me. It’s for you. Investing is the path to creating wealth for most people.
Unfortunately, many people believe they need a lot of money to invest in the stock market. That may have been the case years ago, but with new tech and financial services, it’s possible to invest with as little as $1. That may not be enough to reach your retirement goals, but if “starting with a lot of money” is the reason you haven’t invested, then you’re in luck.
Whether you’re investing to grow your retirement savings or decided to invest for independence, the key is getting started.
Investing for Retirement
Retirement income involves more than social security benefits. It requires retirement planning that includes how much you’ll need, how you’ll spend money, and how you’ll contribute to retirement accounts.
While investing can be challenging, there are several ways to build your nest egg for retirement. For many, a 401(k) plan might be one of the best ways to save for retirement. The next best is through individual retirement accounts like Roth IRAs and then general investing accounts.
When investing through a 401(k), you’ll have access to target-date funds, a mix of stocks, bonds, and other asset classes that adjust as you reach your retirement age.
Learn more about investing for retirement.
Investing for Independence
Investing is one of the best ways to achieve financial independence. It’s a common misconception that people who invest are wealthy. The statistics say otherwise with more millionaires made through 401(k) contributions. But to achieve your independence goal early, you will need to do more than just contribute to retirement savings. How fast you’ll reach your financial independence number depends on your situation and goals.
Learn more about investing for financial independence.
Index fund investing is an investment strategy used by many financially independent early retirees. Index funds track a market or sector and provide investors with exposure to multiple stocks within a certain industry. It’s used to reduce investment risk. This approach to investing creates a diversified portfolio while still being exposed to the same market.
3 Simple Steps to Start Investing at Any Age
It’s not too late to start investing but you must first assess how you’re doing financially at this moment. Most people don’t have a clear idea of how they are managing finances. It often leads to incorrect assumptions that can easily be debunked with financial numbers.
Step 1: Financial Health Assessment
The first step is to do a financial assessment. It requires you to calculate net worth, cash flow, and debt obligations. Knowing these numbers will help determine how you’re income is being spent and lead to allocating money that supports your investing goals.
It’s about understanding your annual income, monthly expenses, sources of income, the amount of your emergency fund needed to reach your ultimate goal.
Read the following for more details:
Step 2: Start Investing
Now, that you know your financial numbers, you simply want to start investing. Again, there are multiple ways to begin. The following is a recommended way to invest at any age.
1. Contribute to your 401(k) plan or similar retirement accounts.
For most people, social security benefits and a 401(k) plan are how they can afford expenses in retirement. Take advantage of retirement plans offered by your employer. They include 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans. You’ll want to contribute at least the contribution match offered by your employer. And contribute more if you’re able to achieve your income for retirement goal sooner.
Have a 401(k)? Get a free analysis and steps to optimize your plan with Blooom.
2. Invest using a Roth IRA.
Roth IRA is an individual retirement account where the contributions come from after-tax earnings. The money saved is then withdrawn tax-free at retirement age. There are income and contribution limits imposed by the IRS with these accounts.
You can open an IRA with many online brokerages. Here’s our list of the best Roth IRA accounts.
3. Invest using a general investing account.
You’ve probably thought about investing as trading stocks. In fact, investing and trading are complete two different approaches to making money through the stock market. With investing, you’re less concerned about the daily market activity. Instead, your focus is a balanced portfolio and monthly contributions to meet your goals.
As part of your retirement income goals, it might be crucial to open an online brokerage account and invest additional money into an individual stock and into index funds.
Learn more about investing in the stock market for beginners.
Step 3: Open a brokerage account
The final step in investing at any age is having a brokerage account. There are many different types of accounts to consider. It all depends on your level of experience and desired activity. Now, if you’re reading this, you may be a beginner and want the simplest way to get started. The following are some of the best brokerages for you. A few have no minimums or require a small initial investment to open an account.
|Online Brokerages||Features||Best For|
|Betterment||Total investment management for 0.25% per year||Hands-off investing|
|M1 Finance||Customized mini-portfolios of stocks and ETFs||No-fee Investing|
|Acorns||Automated portfolios and micro-savings||Micro-investing|
|Stash||Start with just $0.01||Getting started|
|Personal Capital||Traditional human advisor||Full investment management|
|Public||Invest with a community – $0 commissions||Knowledge seekers|
|Blooom||IRA and 401(k) analysis||Low-cost retirement fund management|
Discover more online brokerage services in the marketplace.
Should You Speak with a Financial Advisor?
A financial advisor can help you gain a better understanding of your complete financial picture and give advice on retirement. There are costs associated with financial planning but the fee may be worth it for the advisory services given. An alternative to a human advisor is using a brokerage that offers Robo-advisors, an algorithmic way of giving you an investment strategy.
Keep in mind a financial advisor may give you insights into your financial future but often doesn’t give investment advice. You may need an investment advisor that can elaborate on different investment strategies and types of funds available.
Should You Start Investing or Save in an Emergency Fund?
Investing and saving money is vital to your financial health. You can do both and don’t have to choose between your retirement and a potential emergency situation. Consider how much money you need saved in an emergency fund and allocate money towards fully funding that account. Emergencies happen and it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when. You don’t want to rely on a credit card to pay for unexpected expenses that may lead to long-term debt.
Should You Payoff Debt or Invest?
It’s essential you start investing as soon as possible. The power of compounding and time will help you achieve your goals. If you’re in debt, your investment approach should focus on maximizing your contributions into retirement accounts such as the 401k and IRAs. And use extra money to pay towards debt repayment. Once you get your unsecured debt eliminated, then consider opening general investing accounts through an online brokerage.