Ask Paul: I'm new to investing and wish I'd started earlier
I'm a new reader and can see you give really savvy advice. I'm 34 years old and have a decent job. I've only just started investing for the purpose of dividends.
The only thing is, I feel like I need to pour in every cent I have each year to hopefully get five-digit returns in seven to 10 years. And that's only investing in one stock!
I can't help but feel the dread in thinking I should have started sooner, and I want to do this to help save for a house and have money work for me instead of putting money aside in the bank.
Do you have any advice? Is it possible I could get high returns and not need to wait until I'm 60 because I started late? Any tactics around this? And should I avoid having all my eggs in one basket?
Readers are being kind to me this month, and I do thank you for your positive comment on my thoughts about money. I think we all learn a few things as we go through life, and a lot of my life has been in the world of money.
I am responding to your question with a big smile, firstly because you are worried, at age 34, that you should have started investing earlier. With hindsight, I should have done the same, but it seemed to me that beer, golf, sailing and travel were a cracking investment.
Thank heavens I took that approach. Sure, if I had started saving once I left university, I'd be a lot richer, but now in my late 60s I am pleased to have done okay with money, but more pleased about my life, marriage, kids, grandkids and friendships.
Money is great; it gives you choices.
But you have ample decades to do well with money.
The balancing act for you is saving. This is, of course, the difference between what you earn and what you spend. You will have super building up for your later life, but investing on a regular basis is really good.
Topping up your savings, through direct shares or a low-cost exchange traded fund, makes a lot of sense. At age 34, though, you are your own best investment. What can you do to improve your work skills so you can earn more money with better career prospects? Will an extra qualification help you?
My net worth at age 34 was negligible, but with education, developing my work skills and so on, I felt I was in a position to do okay. Most of us make most of our money well after age 34. So, keep saving, but develop relevant work skills.
Ask Paul: Where are they now?
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