Late starters: what age did you start investing?

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Late starters: what age did you start investing?

30-34
104
53%
35-39
44
22%
40-44
18
9%
45-49
15
8%
50+
15
8%
 
Total votes: 196

LateStarter1975
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Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by LateStarter1975 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:29 am

This question is obviously for the minority of bogleheads that started investing late in their lives (defined as age 30 or thereafter). I know that many bogleheads started very early (talk about the time value of money!) and some even hit the 2 comma club by age 30. But I've often wondered about those that started late. If you belong to this category, and you have had some success doing it, I want to know how you were able to catch up and not get disillusioned. What were the traits, attributes or behaviors that helped you overcome your late start and become successful in investing.
Personally, I knew nothing about investing (or money for that matter) and only started investing 3 years ago. I discovered this site last year, and while I still have a long way to go, I've made tremendous improvement in organizing my financial life. I am now set for the staying the course for the long haul. I would like the motivation in seeing someone who started late, yet have become successful despite the odds (a book comes to mind here, "Start Late, Finish Rich" by David Bach).
Thanks for your contributions. You're all appreciated
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Johm221122 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:55 am

My first year at 29 and a whole $700 :beer

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by asif408 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:34 am

I had a 401k that I put away what would probably be considered a small amount of money (~10K) in during my 20s through my first job, but other than that I didn't really start paying attention (or contributing much) to investing and my investment accounts until last year (I am 34 now). I was laid off in 2009 and went back to school in 2010 to pursue a different career path, and just started my current job in 2013. There was a pretty long period (from 2007-2013) where investing money wasn't a primary focus; getting back on my feet and finding a more satisfying career path was. I mainly stayed in my first job just to save up enough so I could fund a possible career change. I used the savings I had built up in my 20s to pay for graduate school and fortunately did not have to take out any loans or acquire any new debt, though I didn't have much other than the 401k money to my name when I left school (I think my savings account was under $1000 at the time).

I feel like I'm now finally able to put money away and see it grow. This past year, I rolled over my 401k money to a Wells Fargo Advisors IRA account my parents set up for me (they gifted me some money in 2013). I had the WFA account before I knew about this website, and unfortunately was convinced to make some less than ideal fund purchases. Since then I've moved to Vanguard and have sold off the majority of those purchases, and am now implementing my lower cost index investing strategy. I've also been funding an HSA account (wish I had funded more last year!) and am starting to fund a 457b account through work. Looking back just in the last year, my savings has grown significantly, and I believe I am on track for a comfortable retirement as long as I stay on the current course.

I don't know if I am a success yet, but I sure feel more financial stable than I was just 2 years ago. Looking back, I do wish I had been more aware of the importance of saving in retirement accounts. I did save, I just didn't save effectively and lacked the knowledge at the time to do so. Focus, determination, discipline, and the pursuit of financial knowledge are the traits I would say have been most important. I'm a pretty frugal person to begin with, but I've also cut back on some expenses recently (such as reducing my car insurance premium by going to another company). I would also add that questioning my expenses (I was with the same car insurance company for 10 years but never thought to check prices with other companies), and defining necessities and luxuries, have been great assets as well in helping me save more money.

There is nothing wrong with starting late. It just takes a little more sacrifice and work.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by mptfan » Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:43 am

I would not call 30 late.
I eat risk for breakfast. :)

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by prudent » Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:45 am

I didn't start until I was 32 or 33. I didn't think I was a late starter! Got married a few years earlier, bought a house, and it took a couple years before I was able to start saving in the 401k. I actually knew a lot about investing at the time, just had no funds to put to use. I grew up pretty poor (the house I grew up as a kid got sold a few years ago for $9,000 if that tells you anything) in a lower middle class area so the entire concept of having some money put away was foreign to everyone I knew. The only mentors I had were library books on investing. I had no concrete goal in mind other than to try to save so I wouldn't always be one paycheck away from overdue bills. IIRC my first 401k contribution was $60 per paycheck. The "free money" of the company match was like a gift from above.

Though I knew a good deal about investing, I also knew I wasn't going to be able to afford any big mistakes with our savings. Put my 401k money into 80% stocks and 20% bonds, enough to get the full company match. My wife did the same although she only got matched ten cents on the dollar. As incomes grew, we bumped up our contributions and kept expenses in check. Stayed very conservative and risk-averse (probably too much so).

It was basic and boring: increase savings as income grew, don't touch the retirement money, keep spending in check, avoid trying to compete with others. Oh, one more thing: our close circle of friends lived similarly (whether any of them had lots of money, I don't know, but we had similar spending routines). Did lose touch with a couple good friends over the years who really started to live large, as we had very little in common any more.

I never rued not starting earlier. It wasn't possible, and I couldn't do anything about it. I was actually pretty thrilled to be able to put aside money each month. And I certainly wasn't disillusioned about where I was (or am now). It is what it is, and I did what I could. And I don't even think beginning to start saving in early to mid-30's is that unusual.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by acegolfer » Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:50 am

I have invested in stocks since I was 15.
I started using BH philosophy at age 25.
But I don't consider these as investments. I was learning how the stock market operates.

I got my first real job at age 31 to contribute to the retirement fund so I chose the first option.
Last edited by acegolfer on Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by MathWizard » Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:56 am

I was investing in my human capital, and then paying back student loans during my 20s.
Started investing when I turned 31.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by rayson » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:18 am

prudent wrote:I didn't start until I was 32 or 33. I didn't think I was a late starter! Got married a few years earlier, bought a house, and it took a couple years before I was able to start saving in the 401k. I actually knew a lot about investing at the time, just had no funds to put to use. I grew up pretty poor (the house I grew up as a kid got sold a few years ago for $9,000 if that tells you anything) in a lower middle class area so the entire concept of having some money put away was foreign to everyone I knew. The only mentors I had were library books on investing. I had no concrete goal in mind other than to try to save so I wouldn't always be one paycheck away from overdue bills. IIRC my first 401k contribution was $60 per paycheck. The "free money" of the company match was like a gift from above.

Though I knew a good deal about investing, I also knew I wasn't going to be able to afford any big mistakes with our savings. Put my 401k money into 80% stocks and 20% bonds, enough to get the full company match. My wife did the same although she only got matched ten cents on the dollar. As incomes grew, we bumped up our contributions and kept expenses in check. Stayed very conservative and risk-averse (probably too much so).

It was basic and boring: increase savings as income grew, don't touch the retirement money, keep spending in check, avoid trying to compete with others. Oh, one more thing: our close circle of friends lived similarly (whether any of them had lots of money, I don't know, but we had similar spending routines). Did lose touch with a couple good friends over the years who really started to live large, as we had very little in common any more.

I never rued not starting earlier. It wasn't possible, and I couldn't do anything about it. I was actually pretty thrilled to be able to put aside money each month. And I certainly wasn't disillusioned about where I was (or am now). It is what it is, and I did what I could. And I don't even think beginning to start saving in early to mid-30's is that unusual.


+1

Very insightful post.. :sharebeer

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by traumadoc77 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:27 am

When I finished residency @ 32. I wish I would have started earlier but oh well...

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by InvestorNewb » Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:31 am

I started about two years ago at age 30. I don't regret not starting earlier, considering the events that took place in 2001 and 2008.
My Portfolio: VTI [US], VXUS [Int'l], VNQ [REIT], VCN [Canada] (largest to smallest)

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Rodc » Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:35 am

After being a hippy mountain man, climbing, skiiing, hiking more than working, and professional student I started my first full time job at age 33.

I have a modest pension that grows year by year, so does my wife, which helps. Started investing in index funds, no major goofs (like bailing in a crash etc.) and just kept socking away money month by month in 401K. I put in 5%, employer put in 5% (pension is like another 5% more or less), and after a while started to increase percent with every pay raise, and now contribute 14%+5% match.

Bought a fix'er up house in a good school district over 20 years ago, did not go crazy spending money on it, but did keep it up well, and have not hopped house to house. Have serious equity in a house worth much more than I paid for it; even factoring taxes and upkeep far better deal than renting.

Between (future) SS, pensions, savings, and home equity (could downsize into cheaper area, apartment etc if needed) reached a "could just barely retire" status after about 24 years, though would be tough especially with kids still at home. In a very low cost of living section of the country would even be solidly middle class. By the time I'm in 30 years, assuming no major job change, we will be in very good shape for a pretty cushy retirement.

Regular investing, low debt, modest (but not spartan) lifestyle relative to income, avoiding major mistakes, no house jumping, and a little luck, and here we are.

FWIW started saving for kids college when they were born and that is coming along just fine as well. Started with what we could afford and increased it year by year.
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by LateStarter1975 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:03 pm

Thanks for all your posts. One thing I've noted is that the majority do no regret not starting earlier and some of you even think starting to invest in your 30's is not late. So what would you consider starting late? When I visualize those graphs of the two brothers that started investing at different times, one at 18 to 26 and the other from 25 to 65, it always shows that the first brother who started earlier and only invested for 8 or 9 years still had much more money at retirement.
I started investing at age 36 and I wish I started earlier for that singular reason. However, it feels refreshing to know you're making progress.
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by nodenuff2 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:13 pm

Started at 32 when the company I worked for started a 401k. 3% I think.
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Ice-9 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:15 pm

Technically, I started at age 25 with mandatory participation in my workplace retirement account and also a small taxable investment. However, (1) I really didn't know what I was doing and (2) wasn't really that interested in learning more.

I consider age 32 when I really started investing. I learned what a Roth was and started one. I upped my contributions to my workplace account to the max and moved everything to the few index funds in that plan. And I liquidated my small taxable account at my bank's brokerage (EXPENSIVE active funds with loads) and put it in Total Stock Market at Vanguard. I also started reading Vanguard Diehards at the Morningstar Forums, the predecessor to bogleheads.org.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Jon » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:22 pm

I began investing at age 31. Like some others here, starting earlier wasn't really possible due to life circumstances.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by iaminam » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:49 pm

I started pretty late. Always had one thing or the other but knew that if I don't start, I will be working till I die. Started when I was 39 and now I am 42. By the way, started visiting (and joined) Bogleheads pretty late as well (just recently). This is my first post and hope to get some help (already have by reading the wiki, board messages and few books that are recommended).

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Ron » Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:26 pm

I didn't start early since I felt there was no need to do so. My first job (1971-79) had a defined benefit (pension) plan. Why worry about retirement? Of course, I left the company after 8 years and vesting at that time was set at 10 years, so I received no benefit. Also, this was before a 401(k) was offered and TIRA's were only offered to those that did not have company pension plans (which I did). The availability of TIRA's for those that had a pension was not available until 1982 - after the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 was passed.

Upon starting my next job (the company I retired from), I felt there was no reason for retirement investing since like my former company, I was covered by a (very) generous defined benefit (pension) plan. However, that plan was eliminated and a 401(k) plan was put into place instead of the pension plan in 1982, the year I turned 34. When the 401(k) plan was started, the company matched 8% at dollar for dollar (100% match). Of course, over the years under different financial conditions and different owners, this was gradually reduced.

My wife/me contributed the maximum to our respective IRA's (deductible, non-deductible, Roth's) over the years along with catch-up contributions as allowed as we aged. As far as our respective 401(k) plans, I contributed "above the line" (e.g. taxable) for many years as I became older. My wife limited her 401(k) to only 15% of her salary. Additionally, my wife receives two small monthly pension checks from former employers - "earned" benefits before the age of 401(k)'s.

You probably do what you know based upon your own family history. My parents/grandparents had good pensions and never saved a dime for retirement. The game was changed during my/wife's primary earning years, but I can't complain how things turned out. We certainly have retirement assets well beyond what we would have even considered possible in our early years.

If we didn't have pensions (or the promise of them) from our early earning years, I'm sure we would have gotten on the savings/investment track earlier but based upon what we knew at the time, along with the investment vehicles available and those we could qualify for, we followed a different path than those just starting out today.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by LateStarter1975 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:03 pm

iaminam wrote:I started pretty late. Always had one thing or the other but knew that if I don't start, I will be working till I die. Started when I was 39 and now I am 42. By the way, started visiting (and joined) Bogleheads pretty late as well (just recently). This is my first post and hope to get some help (already have by reading the wiki, board messages and few books that are recommended).



Welcome to the forum. Trust me, you will learn fast. Just be ready to read as much as you can consume here and with books. In the past 18 months, I have probably read over 50 personal finance books and consume a lot of blogs and especially this site. You will do well if you stick the principles espoused here. All the best
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Toons » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:29 pm

Started @30.........34 years ago :happy
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Gill » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:36 pm

Bought GM stock in my teens and have been in equities ever since.
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Christine_NM » Thu Jun 19, 2014 5:40 pm

Before age 35 all I had was an emergency fund (aka savings account) and a mortgage.

By age 39 I had added an IRA and begun work at my final employer with savings plan and defined benefit pension.

In those olden days of the 1960's and 70's we did not think much about retirement. Everyone was young...people over 40 complained of age discrimination :D
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by effillus » Thu Jun 19, 2014 6:38 pm

Did not start until age 50. Will turn 60 this year. Have never had a job that paid $50,000, but have saved/invested $500,000. Owe it to Vanguard and the Bogleheads.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by LateStarter1975 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 6:59 pm

effillus wrote:Did not start until age 50. Will turn 60 this year. Have never had a job that paid $50,000, but have saved/invested $500,000. Owe it to Vanguard and the Bogleheads.


This is exactly the kind of inspiring stories I am looking for.So in just 10 years, you were able to accumulate $500,000. You're a rock star. So do you care to shed more light on the details of how you were able to accompolish this feat? By the congratulations...it's not easy at all.
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Johm221122 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:14 pm

LateStarter1975 wrote:
effillus wrote:Did not start until age 50. Will turn 60 this year. Have never had a job that paid $50,000, but have saved/invested $500,000. Owe it to Vanguard and the Bogleheads.


This is exactly the kind of inspiring stories I am looking for.So in just 10 years, you were able to accumulate $500,000. You're a rock star. So do you care to shed more light on the details of how you were able to accompolish this feat? By the congratulations...it's not easy at all.

This is quiet an accomplishment, what is your savings rate and AA

John

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by effillus » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:15 pm

I live way below my means in a rural area where living is cheap to begin with and work a second job. No big risks, just slow and steady wins the race. Wish I'd been smart enough to have started in the 1980s, but it's never too late to start. When you turn 50 and old age is staring you in the face, you get serious fast. Main things: live below your means, take a second job and don't do anything stupid.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by sscritic » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:21 pm

Age 30. My grandfather gave me $3000 worth of stock in his company and did the same for my wife and child (only one at the time). My wife and I gave our shares to our child. All of this was in anticipation of a buy out, so my daughter had $9000 for me to invest, which I did.

I guess I don't count, as I wasn't investing for myself, but for her.

Maybe I did do some investing before then, but then I wouldn't be able to answer your question, so I lied. Or maybe not. All I remember is Putnam Investors, but I don't know if that was before or after I invested my daughter's money. So maybe I was over 30 and maybe I was under 30. The last century is so last century, who can even remember it?

Quiz time: when the did the annual gift tax exclusion first hit $3000 and when was it last $3000? Maybe we can figure out when all this happened.

Answer:
For the years 1943-1981 the threshold was just $3000

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by effillus » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:21 pm

AA is 40/60, but that's not the key. The key is that my months expenses are just $900 a month. I max out a 401k, 457b, Roth and add a little to taxable when I have extra. The key is how much you put away.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by flyingaway » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:29 pm

I started my 403(b) at the age of 34, but did not pay any attention to it until I was 47. Implicitly I stayed the course. My understanding of investing just began three years ago when I figured out the differences between large cap and small cap funds, and value and growth funds.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by sscritic » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:33 pm

Oh man, caught me. I started working at a place that enrolled me in TIAA-CREF at age 26. They forced me to invest against my will. I guess that was investing, but not the sort of investing where I had taxable money and could choose to invest in PPG or Westinghouse or even Putnam Investors.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by LateStarter1975 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:43 pm

effillus wrote:AA is 40/60, but that's not the key. The key is that my months expenses are just $900 a month. I max out a 401k, 457b, Roth and add a little to taxable when I have extra. The key is how much you put away.



That is really impressive. You were not even aggressive with your AA. I guess my take home from your story is to live WAY below my means and invest as much as you can without trying to hit any particular savings rate. Great!
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by avenger » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:15 pm

I started almost 3 years ago at age 31. I've saved $270k across taxable and tax-advantaged accounts and paid off $100k debt. Just motivated to get myself caught up with retirement savings and pay off debt.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Sheepdog » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:30 pm

We saved in savings accounts, bought some CDs and savings bonds mainly until I was in my 50s. I did have some company stock (part of my company savings plan, but investing in stocks and bonds? Not really.
When I was 59 (1992) we had only $132,000 invested in mutual funds, CDs and savings bonds. I did have a future company pension coming. I was saving a lot and investing somewhat. . By 1995 (62) I had $270,000. In 1998 (65) and retiring, the nest egg was up to $460,000. I took the pension as a lump sum ($222K) and added to that. So at 66, I had $710,000 invested. It has grown since to a $M and has supplied my living expenses.
I voted "50s". Yes, I started very late, but it worked out. I don't recommend anyone trying it, though. I was very lucky. :shock:
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:44 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (financial planning).
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Fallible » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:46 pm

I'm surprised that so many here started saving in their early 30s, as I did. I actually began saving a few times in my late 20s, but always found a way to spend it.
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by pennstater2005 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:48 pm

Didn't start seriously saving until I was 32 or 33. I was putting money away monthly around 28, but it was negligible.
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Bracket » Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:11 pm

Started at age 30. Prior to that I was a med student, resident, knew nothing about investing, had no money, etc

The bad is that I should have started much sooner.
The good is that by the time I decided to open my first IRA I had read one book (Eric Tyson personal finance for dummies) that told me to use Vanguard and an index fund (VFINX), which I did.

8 years, several books, one blunder (bought a house in 2007 and sold for a loss in 2010) and many many forum visits later I'm approaching 7 figures. Having a relatively high salary certainly helps, but so does obtaining an education about financial and investing matters, something that our current system does a terrible job of. I plan to ensure my son learns all this much earlier than I did.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Liz618 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:24 pm

effillus wrote:Did not start until age 50. Will turn 60 this year. Have never had a job that paid $50,000, but have saved/invested $500,000. Owe it to Vanguard and the Bogleheads.


Wow, that is fantastic. I am 52, my husband is 51. I found this forum in Feb. 2014, and immediately opened a Roth IRA for myself and my husband. My husband has a small 401k from a previous employer that we rolled over this year with Vanguard. We don't have pensions in our future, only SS.

I hope to read more inspiring stories like yours. Bravo!!

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by cmr86 » Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:20 pm

I know I'm not really in the late category, being 27 and all...

...but I began investing just this year. And I'm putting in about $14k this year and hopefully $17k next year. Roughly 30% of my income in all.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by vested1 » Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:52 am

I started at age 37 over the objections of my (ex) wife, who got half of the paltry amount in the 401k at age 39 (7.5k). I got serious about saving after that and upped my percentage in the 401k. I convinced my (new) wife to start contributing to her 401k at her age 50 over her objections. I have to admit that the lump sum of 400k at my retirement at age 57 was a major factor, as well as continuing to work so far at age 62, but combined accounts are now over 900k.

The IRA, with no contributions is now outpacing our somewhat aggressive contributions in both 401k's with dividends and growth. With a 60/40 AA, a bit of lucky timing and finding this forum we should be in good shape to retire next year in July. With my wife's DB pension and our SS strategy the retirement accounts should be about 30% or less of our retirement income.

I have no illusions about my investing acumen, which I am constantly trying to improve, and only wish that I would have started earlier. Perhaps if my parents or any relative had been a saver I would have had an example to follow, although that's no excuse. In that regard I encourage my children to contribute to their accounts regularly. They will be in much better shape financially than I was because of their saving habits, and may also have a pleasant surprise at my passing.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by LateStarter1975 » Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:52 am

cmr86 wrote:I know I'm not really in the late category, being 27 and all...

...but I began investing just this year. And I'm putting in about $14k this year and hopefully $17k next year. Roughly 30% of my income in all.



Good for you...the earlier you start the better for you down the road, as it becomes easier and second nature. In my first year of investing in my 401K 3 years ago, I only saved $6,000, but this gradually has increased and it's a lot easier for me now
Debt is dangerous...simple is beautiful

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by LateStarter1975 » Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:53 am

avenger wrote:I started almost 3 years ago at age 31. I've saved $270k across taxable and tax-advantaged accounts and paid off $100k debt. Just motivated to get myself caught up with retirement savings and pay off debt.

cheers ... -Mark



Wow, that's impressive! Isn't it amazing what motivation can do? I love stories like this...keeps me going!
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by LateStarter1975 » Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:59 am

Bracket wrote:Started at age 30. Prior to that I was a med student, resident, knew nothing about investing, had no money, etc

The bad is that I should have started much sooner.
The good is that by the time I decided to open my first IRA I had read one book (Eric Tyson personal finance for dummies) that told me to use Vanguard and an index fund (VFINX), which I did.

8 years, several books, one blunder (bought a house in 2007 and sold for a loss in 2010) and many many forum visits later I'm approaching 7 figures. Having a relatively high salary certainly helps, but so does obtaining an education about financial and investing matters, something that our current system does a terrible job of. I plan to ensure my son learns all this much earlier than I did.


+1
My story is similar. Came to this country 7 years ago at age 32, finished residency 4 years ago. Since late 2010, been making low six figures but living paycheck to paycheck and in debt (car loans, credit card debt). Being introduced to Dave Ramsey in 2011 was my epiphany. Paid off all debts last October. Have consumed, and still consume lots of reasonable financial education and investing topics, including this site, and getting better and more knowledgeable. Hope to get near a 7 figure portfolio 10 years from now
Debt is dangerous...simple is beautiful

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steve roy
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by steve roy » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:01 am

Didn't get seriously started saving for retirement until age forty. What saved the family bacon was the Mrs. And I were in Taft-Hartley pension plans from our twenties.

The wife intends to retire at 62. I'll exit the work force three weeks shy of my 68th birthday. We'll both take Social Security at 70.
Last edited by steve roy on Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by Dave55 » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:02 am

+1 Well Done Congrats!
effillus wrote:Did not start until age 50. Will turn 60 this year. Have never had a job that paid $50,000, but have saved/invested $500,000. Owe it to Vanguard and the Bogleheads.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by LateStarter1975 » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:03 am

Sheepdog wrote:We saved in savings accounts, bought some CDs and savings bonds mainly until I was in my 50s. I did have some company stock (part of my company savings plan, but investing in stocks and bonds? Not really.
When I was 59 (1992) we had only $132,000 invested in mutual funds, CDs and savings bonds. I did have a future company pension coming. I was saving a lot and investing somewhat. . By 1995 (62) I had $270,000. In 1998 (65) and retiring, the nest egg was up to $460,000. I took the pension as a lump sum ($222K) and added to that. So at 66, I had $710,000 invested. It has grown since to a $M and has supplied my living expenses.
I voted "50s". Yes, I started very late, but it worked out. I don't recommend anyone trying it, though. I was very lucky. :shock:



It's reassuring reading these kind of stories to know that even if you start late, you can still achieve some success. I have some friends that believe it's already too late for them to start and have given up investing. I can encourage them with stories like this. Thanks for sharing
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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by GracieLou » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:43 am

I started investing at 32, but lost my job in 2007. I re-started my investments in 2009 and have been consistently saving ever since. The most important piece of advice I ever received was to save as much as I could on a consistent basis. This advice rings true every time I watch my 401(k) and Roth IRA grow :happy .

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by basspond » Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:50 am

When I graduated high school my parents gave me a $100 savings bond. Cashed it out 30 years later when it stopped earning interest.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by black jack » Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:49 am

effilus (accumulating $500k in 10 years on a $50k income) is definitely the rock star in this thread but their technique (living on $900 a month) is hard to emulate for those not in a rural area: heck, my mortgage on a modest home in the DC suburbs is more than $900/month.

At the other extreme is avenger, who has saved $270k and paid off $100k in loans in "almost 3 years." Most people (even on this forum) probably don't even MAKE $370k in three years, let alone are able to set that much aside.

In both cases, though, the basic principle is the same: live below your means and invest the rest.

I had saved about $16k in an IRA(?) by the time I was 30, then quit my job and spent that money traveling, then went back to grad school. Turning 40 focused my mind; I started investing then. The good news is that I then discovered the Vanguard Diehards at Morningstar, and thus started on the right path. Since I turned 40 in 1999, my investing period has been defined in part by the crashes of 2000 and 2008, so I feel reasonably confident that my "stay the course" resolve has been tested.

We live below our means (well below, in one sense; my wife stopped working when our child was born, 13 years ago, and so if need be could go back to work to increase our household income) in a fairly high-cost area; by steady saving we've managed to accumulate around $400k over the past 15 years. I plan to retire at 68, after my daughter (presumably) graduates from college, and so have another 13 years to save, if the universe cooperates.

LateStarter1975 wrote:Thanks for all your posts. One thing I've noted is that the majority do no regret not starting earlier and some of you even think starting to invest in your 30's is not late. So what would you consider starting late? When I visualize those graphs of the two brothers that started investing at different times, one at 18 to 26 and the other from 25 to 65, it always shows that the first brother who started earlier and only invested for 8 or 9 years still had much more money at retirement.
I started investing at age 36 and I wish I started earlier for that singular reason. However, it feels refreshing to know you're making progress.

The secret to happiness is to view whatever you do (or happens to you) in a positive light. Even people who have been wrongly imprisoned for years often come out saying that it was the best thing that could have happened to them, saved them from the likely consequences of the life they were leading, etc. So those of us who started saving later in life are, if we're wise, going to rationalize it rather than regret it. I really enjoyed my travels, and being in grad school; I'm content now, and if I had lived my life in a different way, I might have lots more money now but would I be any happier? But I've also been fortunate: I have good health, a wonderful wife and child, and a job I enjoy. Sickness, death of loved ones, losing one's job - these would be much greater challenges to one's contentment than a late start on saving and a smaller retirement account.
We cannot absolutely prove [that they are wrong who say] that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us, and with just as much apparent reason. | -T. B. Macaulay (1800-1859)

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by cmr86 » Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:53 am

LateStarter1975 wrote:
cmr86 wrote:I know I'm not really in the late category, being 27 and all...

...but I began investing just this year. And I'm putting in about $14k this year and hopefully $17k next year. Roughly 30% of my income in all.



Good for you...the earlier you start the better for you down the road, as it becomes easier and second nature. In my first year of investing in my 401K 3 years ago, I only saved $6,000, but this gradually has increased and it's a lot easier for me now


Thanks! :happy I'll be able to keep up the savings rate so long as I can keep the other rooms of my house rented. That'll change in about two years when the girlfriend moves in (presumably), but will likely move back up when we (again, presumably) get married.

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Re: Late starters: what age did you start investing?

Post by nchunter » Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:49 pm

I started relatively late. 38 or so. Wife has always contributed to 401k and had a generous company match. Therefore by the time she was 39 she had about 250k in a 401k and a partial pension. I on the other hand sold a business and lost a small fortune. I watched all my liquidity evaporate from 07-13. I started a new career in 2010 but was still paying for past sins. However, I did manage to save about 20k in a company simple IRA. Then this year my career change has been paying off. In half a year, I have saved 17,500 in my 401k already, plus employer match of 3%. I put 50k into a taxable account this month and I am due another bonus in August that should net me another 60k. My plan is to put the entire amount in taxable account as well. We always had an emergency fund of 50k, so just this year I will have managed to have gone from 20k in retirement saving(not counting wife) to 150k plus. We live relatively frugally so my base salary and her base salary easily cover living expenses. We still save about 25% after tax income in a typical year. She puts in about 17% of her pay now to max her 401k as well. I do feel like I came roaring back this year. I feel more relaxed knowing that by end of the year all things being equal, We will have over 450k saved.
I always felt guilty for my past mistakes so it great to have the personal balance sheet cleaned up to where bonuses and extra money go straigt to retirement accounts. I know my experience is not typical because I will have made about 300k this year based on salary and commissions, plus I have a spouse making over 100k, however, with the sting of past lessons, the temptation for lifestyle creep is actually non-existent.
The first bonus hit this past friday while on vacation and while we may have indulged the kids with a dolphin tour for a few hundred bucks, I felt relieved knowing the 50 grand in the checking account was beng transfered to Vanguard come Monday.

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