One of the most powerful tools for investors is time: time to allow interest to compound, time to allow market peaks and valleys to balance out, and time to allow recovery when making higher-risk, higher-reward investments.
When you’re young you may not have a lot of cash, but you have more time than you ever will again. By beginning to invest now — even if you start small — you can set yourself up for incredible long-term wealth growth.
Here are three of the best ways to take advantage of time and invest your money when you’re young. In each case, the key is to get your money working for you as soon as possible.
3. Open a Retirement Account
As the name implies, retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs are designed to grow your wealth over the course of your life. Both provide tax incentives to encourage you to save for your future, and the sooner you start saving, the more you stand to gain.
401(k)s are your best bet if you have an employer who matches your contributions. Not only are you automatically seeing a 100% return on your investment, but you’re also earning interest on double the principal. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are similar in that they can allow for tax deductions and/or deferred taxes, but are not bound to a specific employer. If you’ve maxed your 401(k) contributions, an IRA can be a great way to double down on the benefits of tax-advantaged investments.
2. Put Money in Mutual Funds
Mutual funds are a simple way to invest in a diverse portfolio, thereby minimizing your risk and — theoretically — maximizing your expected return. For as little as $1,000, you can hand your money to a professional fund manager who will spread it into a curated basket of different stocks, bonds, and other investments. Then you just sit back, relax, and passively grow wealth.
It’s important to note that this growth is tied to the success of the investments within it, which in turn depends on the success of the fund managers who select those investments. It’s important to look closely at different mutual funds and pick one that best aligns with your short- and long-term investment goals.
The biggest drawback to mutual funds is the volatility of the market. While the market generally grows over time, it goes through frequent ups and downs that can be uncomfortable to watch from the sidelines.
1. Invest in Real Estate
At first glance, investing in real estate sounds expensive and time-consuming — perhaps better suited for more experienced investors. And while it’s true that the upfront costs of real estate are greater than investing in stocks or bonds, the rewards can be much greater to match.
Property has an inherent, tangible value, and as you pay off your mortgage your equity in this value can only ever increase. The value of a home itself will also likely appreciate over time, and you have the power to grow this value even more through renovations and additions. For proactive investors, this hands-on participation in growing value can be very appealing.
For those willing to put in the work, there are many different ways to earn money with real estate: buying to hold, renting, flipping, commercial leasing, and so on. And thanks to options like Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Real Estate Mutual Funds, real estate investing can be a realistic option even for those without much money.
Of course, not all real estate investments are necessarily going to be profitable. Being able to separate lucrative opportunities from money pits takes skill, experience, intuition, and — most importantly — due diligence. If you’re considering a new property investment, especially if you’re young and new to the investing game, you should consider partnering with a trustworthy local real estate agent.
A Clever Partner Agent can help you understand the best real estate investment for your personal situation and goals, and will guide and support you as you learn the ins and outs of the industry. Not only will Clever Partner Agents make sure you’re getting the most out of your money, but they can return up to 1% of the purchase price of your investment in the form of a Home Buyer Rebate.