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Four Things You Might Not Know About Retirement Accounts

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While working in Boyle Heights this week I realized that there are some amazing things about investing for retirement that some folks don’t know about. Setting a little money aside today to build a retirement, and generational wealth, tomorrow is really simple and it’s rather fun to watch your money increase over time. Here are four things that you might not know about investing for retirement.

#1 Anyone with earned income can start investing.
That’s correct. Anyone that has earned money can invest it in a tax-deferred mutual fund. That’s great news! It means that as soon as you begin making money, you can start putting some aside for retirement. It doesn’t matter if you’re a child star, helping out with your parent’s business, or starting your first job you can contribute money towards building generational wealth with your first check.

#2 It only takes $50 a month to invest.
There are quite a few funds that will let you open a retirement account (read: Individual Retirement Account or IRA) for as little as $50 per month if you set up automatic withdrawals from your checking account. Don’t tell me you don’t have $50 to contribute to building generational wealth because I’m pretty sure you spend more than $50 a month on non-essential items. Why not use your money to build wealth for yourself, your family, and your community? Once you’re comfortable with $50 a month, try increasing it every year.

#3 You don’t have to do much to earn money.
The sooner you get started the better off you’ll be financially. Not only will you create good savings habits, but you’ll also be able to take advantage of the ups and downs of the stock market for that much longer. Let’s say that you own one hundred shares of Shay Mutual Fund. You bought the shares for $1 each, so you spent $100. If you hold on to those shares and the mutual fund value appreciates you make money. Let’s say that over time your shares become worth $2 each. That means that you have made $100 and you know have $200 worth of Shay Mutual Fund. Congratulations! Investing can also lose money, but if you stay the course, that could be a good thing.

#4 Take advantage of dollar cost averaging.
The key to building a retirement nest egg is to contribute money steadily. Most people will have a monthly amount taken automatically from their checking account every month to contribute to their retirement account. The amount of shares you’re able to purchase depends on how much the mutual fund is selling for when you purchase it. That means that if Shay Mutual Fund cost $1 per share in January and you’re contributing $100 per month, you’ll be able to purchase 100 shares. Let’s say in February something happens to make the mutual fund share price dip, but you believe in the fund and continue to invest. If the shares dip to $0.75 per share you’ll be able to purchase 133.33 shares. Now you own 233.33 shares and your shares are worth $175. You’ve lost $25. March comes around and Shay Mutual Fund rallies. Now, Shay Mutual Fund is worth $1.50 a share so you can purchase 66.66 shares. You now own 299.99 shares and they are worth $450! In three months you’ve contributed only $300 but your shares are now worth $450. You’ve earned $150. Stick to the plan and invest the same amount, or more, every month to take advantage of small dips in the market. Using dollar cost averaging you can by more shares when the price is cheaper and fewer when the price is higher.

What are some other things that we might not know about investing in mutual funds? Leave comments with your tips because we all have something we can teach and we all have something we can learn.

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today and the author of three books on personal finance. Visit her at www.BiggerThanYourBlock.com.

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