The best time to start investing is 20 years ago. The second best time to start investing is today. Lots of us realize that we’ve lost some time that could have been spent investing, yielding a lot of future income and security. But real life, right? So many of us just didn’t have the time or money to set aside significant money for investment. We had to pay for school, kids, all of the surprises that life brings. So what do we do now? Well, I’m here to tell you that its not too late. You don’t have as much time as a younger investor, and time is your best friend when it comes to investment. But there are plenty of other ways you can make sure you have enough for retirement, and maybe a little extra to enjoy now. Here are just a few suggestions. Talk to a financial professional for personalized advice.

  • Increase Your Income. Or decrease your spending. My wife and I accomplished this by taking on freelance work for the occasional evening and weekend. We also sectioned off a portion of our house to act as an income suite, a renter living in the floor above us. This paid for our mortgage every month, leaving us a lot more money to put into savings and investments. We eventually paid off the house and bought another to act as another income property, and it has just snowballed from there. When we started out, we had no intention of being landlords, but the need for just a little bit more each month clued us into better techniques that we took advantage of over time. Your story may play out differently, but look at your resources: your home, your vehicle, your experiences, your knowledge. How can you exploit these things to your advantage, to give you a little extra money to work with each month. Those little money seeds can turn into real income later.
  • Accept some higher risk. Spread bets and longer term stock investment are ways to get money in varying lengths of time. Spread bets are a form of day trading, and you can see huge returns on your money in no time, but you can just as easily lose it. Stocks, in the form of mutual funds, will almost surely give you significant returns over the course of decades, but you’ll have to wait. Talk to your finance professional about an acceptable amount of risk for you, your growth goals, and your current financial reality.
  • Get an Individual Development Account. This is an underused federal program offering 3 cents for every 1 you save, for a specific goal or project. Possible goals include paying a down payment on a home, starting a business, or paying down a high interest loan. This is a great way to save, especially if you don’t make a lot of money. You’ll need to apply (talk to that finance professional again), but it’s a great program with amazing returns.

There are plenty of ways for an older investor to start investing and see real yields. You may have to take on a little more risk than an investor your age who has been doing this longer, but you may be able to end up in the same place. Get help. Read a lot. Make the best choices you can. You can do it.


  1. Jon @ Money Smart Guides Reply

    I would actually be against more risk. I would figure out my risk tolerance and invest that way. My reasoning would be that I would rather have a nest egg, even if it is smaller, rather than taking on more risk and end up losing it in a big market crash or worse, overreact because I can’t sleep at night for fear I might lose some money.

    Because of this, it would be all about cutting expenses and finding ways to increase my income/save more money.

    • @Jon – I think it depends on age, too. I’m much more likely to take risks right now because I feel I still have some time ahead of me to save for retirement. However, I’m probably going to feel differently in 10 years from now when I’m older and approaching retirement.

  2. If you’re older and closer to retirement, I’d be careful about taking on risky investments. If they drop, you don’t have the benefit of time in the market to wait for them to go back up.

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