How to Get Started Investing in Your 30's

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Hey Taylor - I’m 34 and I’ve never really invested before. I’m still paying off student loans but know I need to start saving for retirement. Any suggestions? - Monique

Hey Monique - Glad you’re looking ahead! It’s hard to save for the future when you’re still paying off debt, but it’s always smart if you can do both. It will take a lot of patience, but it will be worth it in the end.

To start, you need to make sure you stay aggressive on those student loans. When the debt is gone, it frees you up to do so much more with your money. Make sure to pay down the balances with the highest APR first so you don’t keep getting hammered by interest forever.

Of course, I’d love if you were able to contribute to a retirement account at the same time as you pay down debt. It might not be feasible at first, but getting yourself to a place where you can do both will be hugely beneficial down the road. Every extra year you have money growing in an investment account makes a big difference when it comes time to retire and live off those funds, so even starting with a small amount of money will be helpful.

If possible, open your own IRA. In a recent article on GoFarWithKovar.com, I talk about how people, especially millennials with limited investment capital, should use Roth IRAs to grow retirement funds because of their flexibility. I prefer an IRA to an employer-sponsored 401(k) because of performance and hidden fees some 401(k) managers sneak in, but I’d rather you have a retirement account through your work than no account at all. You can always roll that 401(k) into an IRA later.

You can also handle your own investing through the stock market if that appeals to you. Save up a few hundred dollars so the trading fee doesn’t eat up too big a percentage of your purchase (or use the Robinhood investing app since trades on it are free) and then buy shares of a company you like. There are more complicated ways to approach stock trading, but investing in businesses you love is usually the most effective.

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