21 People Tell Us How & When They Actually Started Investing

By | Friday, February 08, 2019

In a recent episode of Making It Work over on the TFD YouTube channel, we discussed something that’s super important to a ton of us reading this: how to start investing when you are decidedly not a rich person. Here, one woman illustrates how she started seriously investing wile making less than $40,000 a year:

This got us curious about others’ stories of how and when they finally started investing. It’s important to recognize that not everyone can be on the “correct” timeline when it comes to investing. Personally, I have never had a job that offered a 401K or any such retirement benefits. I opened a Roth IRA when I was 24, maxed it out for the first time last year (2018), and am planning to open another investment account this year.

But I know I’m lucky — many people aren’t given opportunities to invest or aren’t aware they even can until much later in life. I think it’s important about a lot of different experiences. Some people’s parents teach them how to invest as teenagers, but it’s crucial that we recognize those people are extremely lucky in this regard, and that isn’t the norm for most everyone. We decided to reach out to the greater TFD community to hear their stories of investing for the first time. Granted, this isn’t a perfect sample, but it’s helpful to see! Here’s what they had to say:

1. “At 22 in my 401K at my first full-time job, but I didn’t know what I was doing at that point, just that I should be doing something. I probably got my feet under me at 25 after I left that job and had to roll over that money and figure out what to do with it.” – Amanda L.

2. “Started investing at 22 and became very serious about it in 23, investing in a TFSA, an emergency fund, and the stock market! I’ve found a comfortable balance with financial security and a little bit of risk to generate profit.” – Tamara

3. “Let’s see… I’m 26 and I started at 26, lol. But I started using the Acorns app because I live a little more paycheck to paycheck than I would like, and it takes my ‘spare change’ to invest, which makes me feel better week to week.” – Carleigh

4. “Yesterday — 22!” – Crystal

5. “I started investing at 28. I read a few investing blogs and stumbled across dividend investing. I was intrigued and took the plunge! My only regret now is not starting sooner — even £25 a month can get you started and building another income stream fairly quickly.” – Nicola

6. “At 20 I downloaded a spare-change app, but I didn’t like the fees so I stopped. I opened a Roth IRA a month after graduating college — would have opened one sooner but my dad didn’t want me to lock my money up until I had a big girl job – two months after graduating I started a job and immediately starting contributing 8% to my 401k! For context, I graduated college in May 2018 at age 22 and now I’m 23!” – Taylor

7. “I was 20. I started using the Acorns app in college. I used it for about a year, but I didn’t like the dollar-a-month fee. By that point, I had a job with a 401k, and I started investing 15% of my paycheck and using the rest of my discretionary money to pay down loans.” – Moriah

8. “My dad helped me open up a Questrade account (RRSP) in my late twenties. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to use it effectively, and my money did not grow. Last year, at 33, I moved my RRSP to Wealthsimple. Best financial decision I ever made.” – Apie

9. “29. Didn’t save a dime for retirement until then or have any idea how to invest in general. Finally got started by signing up for my workplace pension and reading a ton of blogs.” – Making It Rain

10. “26 — first job out of law school. Only saved a bit but started the habit. When I left that job I had a whole $560 to roll over. The rollover check got lost & I spent HOURS on the phone w/multiple banks dealing with it, including having to sign an affidavit. But I got my $560 back!” – Champagne & Capital Gains

11. “I was 25. Went into my bank and asked if I could consolidate my debts (two hefty credit card balances plus student loans) and was told no because I had a negative net worth. Opened two investment accounts on the spot.” – Mandi

12. “16 years old and I wanted to work part-time as a movie usher earning $5.25 an hour. My mom said I couldn’t work unless I opened an IRA and saved a fixed percentage of my earnings. It all snowballed from there. Nothing fancy. Before the days of Google, Netflix, Amazon. Just behave and save.” – Don

13. “27. Learning from Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad) investing didn’t mean buying expensive items with the belief they would last a really long time and save money. It is so much more!” – Taranjeet

14. “When I was 21 and started my first ‘real’ job.” – Financial Mechanic

15. “I started with my pension at 26, then opened a 403(b) and a brokerage account last year at 31.” – Money Saved

16. “24 — I signed up for the 401k plan at my first ‘real’ job after finishing graduate school. I also started investing $200 a month in low-cost mutual funds at the same time. I believe in paying yourself first and steadily increased the amounts over time as my income increased.” – Patricia

17. “I’m 35, nearly $86k in debt, living paycheck to paycheck. I have $300 in an RSP, and $700 in a LIRA, both opened last year. That’s as much investing as I can afford.” – Amanda

18. “My current & only investment is my 401k with my employer. I started when I was 21, & I’m 25 now. I have roughly $16k saved. Def one of the easiest ways to save $$ as a young adult. Also looking into other sorts of potential investments (e.g. stocks, shares & eventually property).” – Maria

19. “Last month I began saving for retirement by opening a Roth IRA. I’m 29 but I’ve never worked for a company that offered a 401k.” – Olivia

20. “30. After years of talking about it, husband and I finally felt comfortable with our savings level to allot an amount to investing specifically.” – Annie

21. “As a kid, I got savings bonds for bday presents. But once I had a job, I started with high fee mutual funds (age 18). Didn’t take long to dump my financial advisor for one with lower fees and better return. Once my income moved up, bought RRSPs, then TFSAs as soon as available.” – Sandra

Image via Unsplash

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