Financial Literacy - Financial tuneup
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investing
Top 10 investing blunders

8. Putting it off

Retirement is decades away. You don't need to worry about it, right?

In the world of saving, procrastination is your worst enemy. If you're smart, you'll get started early.

According to MarksJarvis, in order to accumulate $1 million at retirement, you'll need to invest just $20 a week in a simple stock market mutual fund when you're 19, about a $100 a week if you wait until you're 35, and roughly $300 a week if you delay until age 45, assuming a retirement age of 65 and an average annual return of 10 percent. (Of course, while 10 percent is in the ballpark of how the market performed historically over many decades, there's no guarantee that it will continue to do so.)

Getting to a million bucks
"Of course, you can catch up," MarksJarvis says, "but then you have to dig in deeper and it's actually a little more painful than if you were just saving small amounts to begin with."

But don't ever give up. A person who, at age 45, has accumulated $30,000 can still end up with a nest egg of about $460,000, if they put away $5,000 per year for 20 years, points out MarksJarvis. This assumes an annualized return of 9.6 percent.

Many people delay investing because of debt, says Salmen, but there's no excuse not to take the easy pickings.

"Some people want to invest money but say 'I'm not going to do it until I get my debts paid off, and it makes sense.' For most people, they're never going to get there," he warns.

"At the very least, you should be taking advantage of the company matches in your retirement fund, which deliver a guaranteed 50 percent return on investment in the first year. That's free money. I don't know anywhere else you're going to get those kinds of returns."
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