As a child growing up, I remember my father constantly eating Ramen Noodles in a Styrofoam cup.
It was pretty fascinating that all you had to do was add hot water, and presto, you had a ready to eat meal in a few minutes.
Perfect for an impatient kid!
As I got older I started to notice that the package of Ramen Noodles still existed in our kitchen.
My father had always struggled with money.
He had battled credit card debt and never really made good financial “cents” of his money.
I guess I always just thought that he really liked the cup of Ramen Noodles.
I later found it there was much more to the story.
All Too Familiar Feeling
I remember my first year as a financial advisor. I was meeting with a couple in their early 60s. At the time, I was 24 years old and already started a Roth IRA and was quickly learning the proper ways to invest in your 20s. I remember this couple in particular because while many people get excited about retiring and starting a new venture in their life, with these folks, retirement was nowhere in the near future.
Combined, they had maybe $50,000 saved in their retirement investment accounts combined. Their jobs offered no pensions, so all they had was social security.
I remember looking at this couple, and eerily, I saw similarities with my father. They had no hope of retiring. They had done a horrible job of saving.
The Ramen Noodles Jolt
This meeting instantly made me realize that I did not want to follow in their footsteps.
I knew that I did not want to be in my early 60s and be forced to be eating cup of Ramen Noodle soup.
I didn’t want to have to worry about not ever being able to retire. I know at the age of 24, I was thinking much more different than my peers. None of my friends talked about retirement. We talked about the next trips that we were going to go on, what concerts we wanted to go see, still reflecting back on the good old college days.
Investing in Your 20s Isn’t Cool, It’s a Must
I write this because if you are in your 20s, I know you’re thinking the exact same thing. What’s the point of investing? What’s the point of saving? What’s the point of even thinking about retirement?
Here’s one thing I know, you don’t want to be eating Ramen Noodles for dinner for the rest of your life. It might be good every once in a while, but I promise you, you get sick and tired of it.
So, why is it so important to start investing early in your 20s?
Most young people just don’t get it. They think they have plenty of time to start thinking about retirement. While, yes that’s true, what most don’t understand or appreciate is that the sooner you start, the easier it is.
You don’t want to discover you’ve waited until it is too late to retire.
For example, look at this chart. This chart was something that was shown to me whenever I was junior in college. The chart literally blew me away.
The chart has two young adults that should be investing in their 20s: Super Saver Parker who starts at the age of 25 and Super Slacker Sloane. Both graduate with good paying jobs and have well enough income to start contributing to a Roth IRA.
Super Saver Parker starts putting $2,000 a year into his Roth IRA ($166.67 per month). He does this for a total of 10 years and stops for a grand total of $20,000 he put in. Why does he stop? Don’t ask. That’s just part of the illustration.
Super Slacker Sloane puts off saving because he wants to buy “stuff” (otherwise knows as “crap you don’t need”). He finally gets it and starts putting $2,000 a year starting at the age of 35. Wanting to catch Parker, he puts in $2,000 a year for 30 years contributing $60,000 in total – $40,000 more than Parker. *We’re assuming that they both average 8% return on their money.
After they showed this chart to me in my finance class, the question that was then asked was,
“Who will have more money at the age of 65?”
I remember my initial thought was “Duh, the guy who put in $40,000 of course!“.
Hmmm…..oh how wrong I was.
|Super Saver Parker||10 Years of Contributions||Super Slacker Sloane||30 Years of Contribution|
|Ending Account Value||$340,060||$266,427|
The reality is that the person who started 10 years earlier (preferably in their 20s) had actually made $73,633 more even though they put in $40,000 less.
Maybe a Chart Involving Beer Will Help?
Not convinced? Here’s something else to look at:
Sounds great, right? Being able to retire, not having to eat Ramen, being able to drink a gigantic tower of beer… all wonderful.
But if I had to guess there are some of you out there in your 20s — just starting careers, just starting families, just really starting to get into the swing of things — that are wondering:
How the heck do I start? I have no idea what I’m doing!
Well that’s hopefully one of the reasons you are reading my blog. I want every single one of my readers to be able to retire, and if I have to show each one how to do it then that’s what I’m going to do.
Resources for Getting Started on Your Retirement Saving
Here are some resources I’ve created to help you jump start your retirement savings.
With the large number of brokerage firms out there it can be really confusing deciding where to open an account. There are some brokers out there that are only for “professional” investors that trade a lot and need all kinds of crazy chart tracking.
If you’re just starting and investing in your 20s then that isn’t you.
I’ve boiled down your options for you to make the selection that much easier.
And right now 3 of the 4 are currently running promotions where they’ll give you money for opening an account. That’s right. Free cash to invest for your retirement just for opening an account from the likes of:
Scottrade makes opening a no fee Roth IRA really simple.
I like really simple, and beginner investors should too.
The Roth IRA is one of the best investment accounts to have to grow your nest egg for your retirement.
Naturally, you put the two together and you get a great result.
How much do I like the no fee Roth IRA at Scottrade?
Enough to do an entire video on using an account and a post that gives you a play-by-play on how to open an account with them. You can see all that at the link above.
I really, really like Scottrade. Have you noticed?
Scottrade is a nice compromise of two worlds: inexpensive online brokerage firm and brick-and-mortar retail broker. Scottrade has almost 500 different stores across the country where you can walk in and sit down to talk with someone about where to invest. But if you don’t need that, you can simply go online and start an account with some of the lowest fees around. Check out my full Scottrade review.
Review of Capital One ShareBuilder
For investors that are just starting out there are two things that will slow you down from investing:
- Being afraid of costs
- Not having a habit of investing
Capital One ShareBuilder is designed to wipe out both of those problems. The idea behind Capital One ShareBuilder is to take a new investor and teach them the habit of investing through automatic investments. You tell the firm how much money you want to come out of your account and how many times per month, and automatic withdrawals that land in your Capital One ShareBuilder account will kick in.
Over time, even with small investment amounts, you will build up a nice number of shares. See what they did there?
Capital One ShareBuilder’s costs are rock bottom, too. If you don’t trade a lot and just want to keep investing money on a regular basis they can be far lower than Scottrade’s fees — which is really saying something. For new investors I can’t recommend Capital One ShareBuilder enough.
Last year I helped start the Roth IRA Movement to encourage young people to open and fund Roth IRAs. Over 140 bloggers jumped in to add their own articles and it was a huge success. The link above takes you to an easily accessible list of all of the posts. A lot of good reading here.
Start Saving for Retirement In Your 20s
No matter which broker you go with or what investment philosophy you end up selecting… please do not delay in starting your retirement savings. Investing in your 20s is the absolute way to go. Literally every day that goes by without saving for the future the harder you will need to work and save to meet the same goal.
Let your money work for you by giving it the maximum amount of time to be invested. Don’t end up eating Ramen Noodles and waiting for your next Social Security check. That’s no way to live your golden years.
This post is featured in the Self-Directed Investing For Retirement Carnival hosted by Arbor Asset Allocation Model Portfolio blog.