I couldn’t disagree more. The concept of systematic saving and hoping for a solid average return in the markets isn’t something that I believe in anymore. I’m 32, and have been investing in the markets since I was 18, under the assumption that if I set up automatic contributions throughout my life I would ultimately be “rich”. I started by maxing out my SEP-IRA and then by maxing my Roth. I invest monthly in a range of products, again, all with the goal of cost averaging the market to my benefit over time. Fast forward 14 years from when I began, and I have accumulated less than $60k. My invested dollar amount exceeds my current total, as it did even at the recent market highs in 2007. In other words, investing for the long haul doesn’t work like it used to, particularly for my generation. The first decade of wage earning is the most important in terms of compounding interest, and we have just experienced a completely lost decade. The hopes for recovery to make up for that lost decade (14 yrs in my case) do not appear reasonable. David
I have practiced the same debt elimination and savings techniques for years, and do so quite aggressively, though more conservatively than one of my best friends. I am 60% there in savings and my only debt is my mortgage payment. My best friend in 23 years reached 130% of his goal to become a millionaire. He began with $3000 and was more aggressive in his investing than I have been. My point is, he made it…retired last year and is living off his retirement, social security and investments to the tune of $150,000 per year. He owns two homes, bought a boat and is traveling and enjoying his life to the fullest. My goal is to follow in his footsteps. All of this takes discipline and sacrifice, but believe me it can be done by anyone, so don’t think this is a bunch of bull…anyone can do it, but you MUST make saving a life time habit. Set short term savings goals and work hard to reach them. Once you reach a short term savings goal, set your next savings goal and continue to work hard to reach it. Then repeat, repeat, etc.
Another way to utilize your talent and business skills is to run corporate workshops online. Businesses are always looking for unique ways to help educate their workforce, and if you can package your talents into a day or half-day long session, you can sell that to companies all over the world to make money online. Start by building a portfolio and then reaching out on LinkedIn to influencers at relevant companies to see if they would be interested in you teaching their team.
Become a virtual assistant. Virtual assistants perform a wide range of services for their clients, all of which can be completed online. Depending on the day, they may open and reply to emails, schedule online work or blog posts, write mock-up letters and proposals, or perform data entry. You can look for virtual assistant jobs on sites like UpWork.com and Problogger.net.
The path to success and wealth means navigating risk and challenges -- a tall order for someone in their 20s. Having an experienced mentor on your side will be invaluable. A good mentor can give you advice and be a sounding board when you’re faced with dilemmas or suffering a setback. Most of all, a mentor knows what it’s like to be in your shoes, but can help you see beyond yourself.
If you live near a university, there are likely all sorts of research studies looking for participants. While I was an undergrad at Virginia Tech, I got paid $500 to participate in a 6-week dietary study. The study provided all my meals and paid me, but I had to eat a 5,000 calorie diet of 50% fat for 6 weeks, plus I had multiple muscle biopsies, urine/blood testing, etc.
Still, many people need more than that to retire, let alone feel flush in retirement — so over time, that $500 monthly investment needs to increase. The best ways to do that are by investing any windfalls you receive or — better yet, and — increasing how much you save by 1% or 2% each year. A windfall might be any influx of cash you receive infrequently, such as a tax refund or employer bonus.

Our wage and job-growth information come from the latest edition of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook. The BLS lists “median” wages for jobs rather than “average” wages. The median wage is in the middle of the data set, with half of the jobs paying less and half paying more. BLS job-growth projections are for 2016 to 2026.
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