Learn how to build wealth no matter how much money you make. Plus, discover 2 simple habit changes that can help make you a millionaire. Everything you need to know about investing: Why, when, what, where, and how to get started.
Investing is a concept that the majority of people avoid because they think it sounds confusing. But we’re going to help you understand how it works, even if you don’t know the first thing about it.
Investing is fun once you get the hang of it! Here are a few of the things you’ll learn in this article:
- 2 simple lifestyle changes that can make you a millionaire
- What compound interest is
- The difference between active and passive investing
- What stock market investing and real estate investing is
School didn’t teach us how to manage and invest money for today’s economy. In fact, most schools are still teaching old-fashioned money management (if they teach anything at all). That’s why we have almost an entire generation of people graduating without a clue on how to handle their money in today’s economy.
Lack of financial education might be also be why 78% of working Americans are broke.
Our parents’ and grandparents’ money rules stopped working as the economy began to change with the digital revolution.
That might also be why most people currently approaching retirement age have no money set aside to retire on. The Baby Boomer generation got caught between the old and new economy, leaving many without enough retirement funds to cover basic needs like housing and medical care.
In this article, we’ll help you understand how to become a millionaire by the time you’re 65. We’ll answer the following popular questions about investing:
- Should I Save or Invest My Money?
- How Old Should I Be to Start Investing?
- How Much Money Should I Earn Before I Begin Investing?
- What is Investing?
- What Kinds of Investments Should I Buy?
- How Can I Get Started Investing?
No matter how old you are or how much money you make, you must learn basic investing concepts today if you want to survive tomorrow’s changing economy.
1. Should I Save Or Invest My Money?
Many of us grew up thinking that investing is for rich people who have extra money to play with. But nothing could be further from the truth.
The old-school way was to work hard and save money throughout your lifetime. But in our new economy, saving money is a losing proposition – thanks to the rate of inflation.
Also, the cost of living is becoming so expensive that many people will end up in 1 of 2 categories by the time they’re 50: Rich or poor.
To further complicate things, you only have 24 hours in a day where you can physically work for money. So your paycheck is limited to the amount you’re able to earn in those limited hours.
That’s why you need to get your money to earn money for you. And that’s where investing comes in.
Investing isn’t for just for “rich” people anymore.
Investing is even more important for people who don’t earn a lot of money. In fact, it may be the only way (without starting a business) for many working-class people to build the wealth and security they need to survive and retire in the future.
So, yes. You should invest. Everyone should invest. It’s no longer an activity for rich people or something for you to “get around to someday.”
In today’s world, investing money is as important as saving money was back in the 50’s.
Investing is the new saving.
2. How Old Should I Be To Start Investing?
You should begin investing by the age of 18, because you can potentially earn 80% more from your money if you start investing early than if you start in your early 40’s.
If you can start investing before the age of 18, that’s even better. This will give you an added advantage because your money will have even more time to grow.
Begin investing money when you’re young, because the amount of wealth you build depends on how many years you allow your investments to grow. For example:
Nancy begins saving and investing her money at the age of 18 and here’s what happens.
Nancy begins investing $10 a day at the age of 18. By the time she’s 40, she’s put aside about $80,000 into investment seeds. Great!
At 40, Nancy stops investing her money and begins spending her earnings on a bigger home, fancy cars, and lavish vacations.
But, she doesn’t touch her investment funds. She lets that money grow and compound meaning she continues to reinvest those profits until she retires.
At the age of 65, Nancy retires a millionaire.
Not only did she never invest another dime past the age of 40, but her investments actually earned a bit less than average (she got a 7% annual return on her money, which is less than historical average stock market or real estate returns).
Yet, by the age of 65, her $80,000 investment has grown into over $1,000,000.
George waits until he’s 40 to begin investing. Here’s what happens.
George invests the same monthly amount as Nancy ($10/day or ~$300/month with 7% annual return), but he doesn’t begin investing until he’s 40 years old. By the time he’s 65, he’s invested $90,000 (compared to Nancy’s $80,000 ).
At the age of 65, George’s investment has only grown to $246,198 and he will not be able to retire the way he hoped.
In fact, even if George had doubled his monthly investment to $600 and gotten a higher rate of return (10% vs. Nancy’s 7%) the resulting $812,146 would still be lower than Nancy’s million dollar retirement fund.
What if you invest more or get a better rate of return?
- If Nancy got a 10% rate of return instead of 7%, she’d have roughly $3,500,000 by the age of 65.
- If she invested $600 a month AND got a 10% rate of return, she’d have over $5,000,000
- If she invested $600 and month, got a 10% rate of return, AND continued investing until the age of 65, Nancy would retire with 8 million dollars in investment funds.
The chart below shows some of the variations on different ways that Nancy and George might invest over time, along with the amount they’ll earn* when they retire at age 65.
|Monthly Investment||Rate of Return||Age When Investing||Total $ Invested||Amount Earned by Age 65*|
*Values will vary slightly based on how often the investment is compounded.
Time is one of the most important factors in growing wealth. If you’re young, begin investing immediately.
If you’re older, though, don’t lose heart. You’re never too old to build wealth. Ray Kroc was almost 60 years old when he bought McDonald’s. You might have to work a little harder and invest more aggressively, but it’s never too late to start!
3. How Much Money Should I Earn Before I Begin Investing?
You should begin investing a portion of your paycheck no matter how much money you earn.
It’s a myth that the size of your paycheck determines your financial well-being and wealth. We all grew up believing this, but it’s just not true.
In today’s world, everyone younger than 65 should be investing money.
Even if you’re earning minimum wage, you can still set aside a portion of your paycheck for investing.
Are you living paycheck to paycheck and wondering how to find the money to begin investing? Start by taking a good look at the way you live.
2 Simple Habit Changes That Can Make You A Millionaire
The majority of people burn through their earnings as if expensive coffee and cable TV were a necessity. Let’s take a look at where that’s left them:
- One-third of Americans have no retirement savings and 56% have less than $10,000.
- Almost 40% have no savings at all, and another 57% percent have less than $1,000 saved.
- The average household owes $15,270 in credit card debt alone.
Here’s where it gets even crazier.
This is one of the reasons why the majority of people end up broke.
This is also why approaching life different from the majority mindset is so important. Thinking like the minority means you think for yourself instead of blindly following the crowd.
An opportunist looks at the numbers above and says:
“Hmm, if I eat at home ($250/month savings) and don’t waste food ($44/month savings), I can save almost $300 a month and become a millionaire from those 2 small habit changes.”
In order to build wealth and financial security, you must live differently than the majority of your friends and colleagues. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life. It just means that you make the decision not to waste money, and you make the sacrifices needed to live below your means.
No matter how much money you make, there are only 2 things you need to invest and grow your money:
- Delayed gratification
Success comes from determination, discipline, and your ability to control impulsive spending. Develop patience when you’re young. Buy things that pay YOU for owning them – like investment seeds. Don’t get caught up in money-wasting, even if your friends are doing.
For example, Earl Crawley is a parking lot attendant that never made more than $12 an hour throughout his lifetime.
By living frugally and investing a little at a time, he built a net worth of $500,000 over the course of 44 years.
Ronald Read was a janitor and gas station attendant who quietly built an $8 million fortune by investing throughout his life. According to a CNBC report (image below) nobody, not even his family, knew how much wealth he built until after his death.
Don’t wait until you’re making more money or until you’re older to begin investing. The time to get started is now.
You can begin building wealth no matter how old you are or how much money you earn. Start with whatever you can, live below your means, and let your money grow.
4. What Is Investing?
Investing is when you put your money somewhere that it’s going to earn more money.
When you take the profits from what your money earns you and reinvest it, then your money’s money earns more money.
This is called compound interest investing , and it’s an important concept to understand when investing.
When your money’s money’s money earns money, then you’re compounding like crazy and your money begins to snowball.
Are you with me so far?
Compounding interest is like a snowball rolling down a hill. It starts out small and grows bigger and bigger as continues to roll. The longer it rolls, the bigger it grows.
When you keep reinvesting the money you make, your money compounds and, over time, grows at bigger rates.
5. What Kind Of Investments Should I Buy?
Let’s learn a few simple terms that will help you better understand investments. For starters, there are two types of investments: active and passive.
Active investing is when you physically run your investment (like running a business).
Running your own business is an active investment because you are investing your money and your time. If you want your business to grow, you will have to put the work in to make the business grow (at least initially). So if you invest $100 in your business, you will by physically working to make sure your $100 grows. That’s why you typically get a better return with an active business than a passive business. But you should also be investing in passive businesses so you can benefit from the freedom that comes with it.
Passive investing is when you don’t have to actively run the investment – your money earns more money, even when you’re sleeping (like the stock market or real estate).
You put in the work in the beginning finding the right investment and then the investment will continue to pay you whether or not you work. Stock market investing (with dividends) and real estate investing are some of the most popular passive investments.
What Are Stocks?
Stocks are small pieces of ownership in a business.
For example, let’s say you buy one stock in McDonald’s. Congratulations! You just became one of the owners of McDonald’s.
You won’t be able to tell McDonald’s what to do, but you do get to share in their profits. So, if the company earns a lot of money next year and their stock price goes up, you could sell your shares of McDonald’s for a profit
Stocks also earn you cash through dividends. Dividends are earnings that you receive, usually quarterly – meaning every three months, just for owning the stocks. Not all companies pay dividends.
To take advantage of compounding interest on your McDonald’s stock, when you get your quarterly dividend, the dividend would automatically be reinvested to buy you more shares of McDonald’s so your money’s money makes you more money. This way, you’ll own more shares so you’ll get more dividends next quarter which can be used to buy you even more shares!
Hopefully you’re starting to see how the snowball works.
What Is Real Estate Investing?
Real estate investing is our preferred investment option.
Real estate investing is a way to make passive income from properties that you own. When you buy real estate as an investment (as opposed to a place for yourself to live), you buy property for someone else (tenants) to use in exchange for rent.
Every month, tenants will pay you rent to live in or use your property giving you cash flow. In addition to cash flow, real estate investing also offers some of the most favorable tax benefits.
But that’s not all, if the value of your property goes up, which is called appreciation, you will profit from the sale as well.
You can never predict how much money you will make when you sell an investment seed. However, you can fairly accurately calculate and predict your income when you invest in dividend paying stocks and income producing real estate.
6. How Can I Get Started Investing?
Getting started investing your money is simple.
- Set aside a portion of your income and invest that money into investment seeds.
- Learn more about investing to find the best ways to invest.*
- Continue learning in order to earn a higher rate of return.
Learn everything you need to know to start investing – download our investing eBook for free when you sign up for our money and finance newsletter.
If you start young and invest in the right places, you can potentially become a millionaire on as little as $10 a day. Don’t put off investing until you’re older or earning more money. Start now so you can build wealth over time and enjoy your retirement someday.
* Find out more about investment rates:
20 Years of Stock Market Returns, by Calendar Year, The Balance