Saving for retirement doesn’t have to be complicated. But yet, there are quite a few people out there that are so intimidated by investing that they never even start! Do you know what this ultimately costs them?? Let’s say that Jimmy had the chance to start investing at age 21. If he invested just $1,200 a year and then stopped investing at age 41, he would have $471,000 by retirement! Pretty nice, huh? But what if he waited to invest until after he started a family and his kids left the house? Investing that same $1,200 a year from age 47 to 67 doesn’t have nearly the same result. By starting at age 47, Jimmy would only have saved $59,000 by the time he retired. Investing early makes all the difference, and keep in mind – none of it had to be complicated.
My Simple 3-Part Plan Investment Plan
I started life like many kids today. I got through high school, attended college for 5 years, left with $18,000 in student loan debt, and started working in Corporate America at age 23. It’s what I did from that point until now that has been largely different from the average U.S. citizen.
I’m a long-term thinker, so I knew early on that if I wanted to retire with dignity, I’d have to put money away into a retirement fund and let the money grow over time. I started with a minimal amount – something like 3% of my earnings each year – but the important point here is that I started. At that time, I thought I was smarter than the average bear, so I put my money into single stocks and traded frequently. I made investing complicated and my earnings grew slowly.
Part 1: Index Funds
Since then, I have wised up and have taken a more hands-off approach. The first part of my simple investment began about four years ago when I switched jobs. With this move, I decided to refresh my investment style as well, and it has paid off wonderfully. Instead of investing in single stocks and trading frequently, I have been investing in simple Index Funds (funds that are set up to follow certain sectors of the market) through Vanguard and allowing my portfolio to re-balance on its own once a quarter. My fees are low, the gains have been great, and my future is looking bright. The decision to move from individual stocks to index funds has worked out just great.
By investing simply (and thanks to a wonderful company that contributes to my retirement), I have been able to amass nearly $50,000 in my retirement account. If I continue to invest until I’m 65 years old, my retirement will have grown to nearly $3 million – thank you compound interest!
Part 2: Real Estate
Just like Part 1 of my investment plan, Part 2 is pretty basic. My future spouse and I plan to save up our pennies, buy a single family home with cash, and then rent it out for approximately $1,000 a month (a fair rate in our area). By each of us working full time, we figure we can buy at least five properties in 10 years’ time, which will produce $5,000 each month. It’s a simple plan (especially since we’re using cash), but it’s certainly effective. After 10 years, we’ll have an additional $60,000 a year and home values totaling $500,000. At this point, we could just hold onto the real estate and enjoy life, or we may continue to buy to increase our earnings.
Editor’s Note – Related Story “Ready To Buy A Home? Answer These 5 Questions First“
Part 3: Business Income
I have been building my blog (LifeAndMyFinances.com) since 2011, and it has sprouted into many areas of income that I didn’t plan on. I earn money through affiliate sales, by writing for other well-known sites, and by helping couples with their personal finances one-on-one. It has been a fantastic experience as a whole, but I only expect my business earnings to increase as I continue to have success with my investments.
This gig will probably allow me to speak at seminars, get me a few spots on the radio or TV, and will ultimately lead to book sales and video series. The bigger stuff might just be a pipe dream, but in some form or fashion I can see this side business being more profitable than it is today.
I know a lot about corporate and personal finance, and I could make things pretty complex, but success often comes from simplicity, not over-complication. If you want to succeed with your finances, get started today and keep it simple!