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If you ask most people under the age of 30 what they're thinking about, you'll never hear them say "retirement." Most people who are in their 30s won't really bother trying to invest for retirement, because it's really not easy to do so.
By the time 40 rolls about, though, it becomes clear that those folks may have made a mistake in their thinking. Years pass sooner than you'd expect them to, and if you're looking to avoid major problems later on, you'll need to start investing now.
Here's what someone should know if they are just starting to invest at 30—and how they should go about it.
Yes, time in your 20s would have been better spent if you chose to invest for retirement in your prime, but let's be real, life doesn't always allow that. Take a deep breath. All is not lost. Right now, you need to take a look at your financial situation and work it to your advantage.
Take some time to examine all the different retirement routes you have open to you. If you understand anything about social security, you will be happy to know that you already have been paying into it—which means you might have a little bit of cash available to you as your retirement income already.
Consider starting up a micro-investing app that can open up a Roth IRA for you.
A Roth IRA is one of the easiest ways to invest for retirement, and also offers ample tax benefits, too! A lot of the best micro-investing apps actually are now offering up Roth IRA services as a way to help those who want to invest in the stock market get a better grip on their retirement.
When you're 30, you can only contribute around $5,500 per year. However, that money quickly adds up thanks to the extra time that you still have. It's a good move.
If you're looking for a good Roth IRA service, or if you're just interested in getting a robo-advisor app that will help you plan better retirement moves, we suggest checking out Betterment or Stash. Both apps are excellent when it comes to being a great investment platform.
If your employer offers a 401(k), you're in luck.
A 401(k) is the best way to invest for retirement, regardless of your age. This is a company-provided benefit that allows you to invest a bunch of your pre-tax dollars into a retirement fund that's managed by your company.
In many cases, you might even have employer-matched funding. So, rather than have to fund your own retirement account, you might actually be able to have your employer fund as much as 50 percent of it, too. The more money you put in, the better off you are.
You might also want to read up on some good retirement literature.
I know, I know. Learning to invest for retirement is like, the least sexy thing ever. However, it's something you're going to have to do if you actually want to make the right moves in your old age, you're going to have to do it.
Besides reading some of the best books on investing ever written, you might want to check out top titles for retirement planning. We suggest How to Make Your Money Last by Jane Bryant Quinn.
This book tells you what you should plan for, common retirement mistakes people make, and more. Some of the tips are common sense, while others might surprise you. Either way, it's a great read.
Don't underestimate the power of passive income.
While having a good stock portfolio, a solid IRA, and a good 401(k) can all do wonders, the truth is that there's also another way you can invest for retirement that can prove to be even better.
I'm talking, of course, about passive income. Passive income comes from assets you have that make money while you sleep. These could be things like being a silent partner in a business, buying dividend stocks, or selling creative rights to things you've made.
Some also gain a passive income by renting rooms, or similar means. The key thing to remember here is that making your money work for you is often the best way to go about investing in your future.
Have a good idea of how you'd want to live when you retire.
You can't really plan for retirement without figuring out how much retirement savings you'd need in order to make your life comfortable. Most people will need around $2 million in order to live out their lives without having to work.
That being said, more is obviously better, especially with the skyrocketing healthcare costs. A good retirement plan calculator can help you figure out how much you'd need.
That, or you could read up on how Chris Hogan would suggest you figure out your retirement costs. His book, Retire Inspired, has gotten the nod of approval from major personal finance bigwigs like David Ramsey.
You could also do the index fund retirement plan.
This is not a real plan, per se, but it is something that has helped countless people amass a seriously impressive sum of money. The way that people invest for retirement this way is that they regularly invest in a major stock market index fund—usually one of the best S&P 500 index funds.
The idea behind this is that the market typically will give around 7 percent average annual returns in the long term. This makes it better than a mutual fund, and also tends to help you retain your money's value better than it would in inflation.
One thing you should NOT do is invest in crypto or personal real estate.
Sorry, but it's true. Don't hate me. If you're trying to invest for retirement, you should not be plunking down all your cash in high-risk investments. Cryptocurrencies are one of the most dangerous investments you can make—and as such, should only be a small portion of your investment portfolio.
Another major mistake? Spending all your money on a house you're living in. A house actually is a huge liability in most cases, simply because you have a lot of upkeep and a lot of risks to consider.
Use common sense. Stick to tried and true options, and have a plan for each investment that you have.
Make a point to get aggressive with your savings and retirement.
If you're just starting to invest for retirement at 30, you're going to have your work cut out for you—a lot more so than you would have at 20. So, you're going to have to save more money to retire wealthy... or more realistically, retire at all.
You need to get aggressive with just about every aspect of your financial state. You'll need to ask for more money, take on an extra job, save up more money, and basically do whatever you can to ensure that you save every penny you can.
If you're very aggressive, you'll retire wealthy.
Finally, remember that you can't rely on anyone else to do it for you.
There's a very tempting mindset that involves blind optimism, and believing that someone will just hand you the money when you need it the most. It's such a common mindset to have, but it's a horrible way to think.
You cannot rely on others to invest for retirement for you. You have to do it. If you don't, well, you're going going to be able to retire at all—and that will be all your fault.