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Money Advice for Life
Why you need to be investing during your 20s and 30s
Repeat after me: Investing is for everyone. If you are in your 20s and 30s and you haven’t explored investment options – it’s time to start. This blog breaks down why you should care about investing during your 20s and 30s, the options available to you and how you can easily turn time into money.
Growing up, I thought of “investing” as some sort of mix between The Wolf of Wall Street and Dragon’s Den. I pictured people in suits trading stocks and speaking a whole other language filled with terms that I didn’t understand like “bullish”, “NASDAQ” and “hedge funds”. I considered decisions around TFSAs, mutual funds and pension plans to be a problem for my 40s and I would much rather talk about RSVPs instead of RRSPs.
Well, I’m here to tell you as a 30-year old who is a few years into his journey with investing – this frame of thinking is not uncommon but it is a myth. If you escape your mid-30’s without exploring investment options with your advisor – you’re already behind and have missed out on the opportunity to make your money work for you and help set you up to meet your short and long term savings goals. Plus, many investment options, especially the ones I’m going to go over in this blog, are easy, flexible and you can see returns right away. I’ll break down these intimidating terms and behaviours, my experience with each of them and why they make sense for your 20s and 30s. Let’s start!
RESPs, RRSPS, TFSAs, Oh My!
Part of the reason why conversations about investing are so intimidating is because we throw around acronyms and assume everyone knows what they mean. Let’s slow this conversation down and break down what each of these options are:
RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan): An option for investing that incentivizes you to save for retirement by giving you a potential tax break on your current income and allowing you to pay the taxes when you retire and when your tax rate is most likely lower than it is now.
TFSA (Tax-Free Savings Account): An investing option that incentivizes you to save money as you do not need to pay taxes on any of the gains your investment makes. Utilized for short and long term savings goals.
Term deposits: A deposit account where you lock in your money for a set period of time, typically one to a few years, but the interest you receive is higher compared to a traditional savings account where you can access your money at any time.
RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan): An investing option available for caregivers to save for their children’s education after high school. Your savings grow tax free with no taxes on the earnings that you make.
If you need more details about what each of these options mean, check out one of our previous blogs Investment Terminology 101 for a more detailed breakdown of each option.
Why do these matter in your 20s and 30s?: Instead of just letting your money sit there in your chequing or savings account, why not make your money work for you and grow? For so long, I left all of my money sitting in my chequing account because I knew that I’d always have access to it. Now I’m kicking myself thinking about all of the money that I could have generated if I would have utilized one of the options above. I worked with my financial advisor to establish an amount where my balance never came close to dipping under and I invested that in a two-year term deposit where the interest rate I gained was much higher than a traditional savings account. After my deposit matured in two years, I was able to use my earnings to help pay for a large chunk of my LASIK eye surgery. Now I see clearly (literally and figuratively) that I wasn’t even using this money in the first place and this helped me accomplish a short-term savings goal.
I’ve recently journeyed into the land of mutual funds and they have turned into my favorite option for investing. Mutual funds are essentially a portfolio of investments consisting of stocks, bonds or other securities that a professional manages for you. There is often a much higher rate of return in mutual funds but it is a riskier option compared to the options listed above as there is no guaranteed return. There is also a fee for the professional management of your portfolio but it’s small and it’s worth it to ensure it’s being done correctly. Plus you barely have to lift a finger while your investment grows.
At the beginning of COVID-19, my financial advisor walked me through why investing in mutual funds during a global crisis, if you have the discretionary income to do so, is a great idea. When a global crisis hits the market, like a worldwide pandemic, the price of shares and stocks typically decrease. This allows you to purchase more units in your equity mutual fund than you would during times of economic growth and stability. As the market recovers and the value of the shares/stocks increase, your mutual fund equity holdings would also increase in value. Plus, you can choose your risk tolerance where you can generate a potential higher rate of return if you can stomach the higher volatility.
Why do these matter in your 20s and 30s?: Mutual funds are a great long-term investment as the market may fluctuate through crisis, but as seen in this graph in our blog Should I Be Investing During a Pandemic, the market always recovers. The key is to view mutual funds as a long-term option and not to pull out your investments during global crisis before they have a chance to recover. If you invest in mutual funds in your 20s or 30s and commit to keeping your investment in long-term, you can crank up the risk tolerance in order to give your investment the most potential to grow. I started investing in mutual funds when the market was at its lowest during COVID-19 and the investment has grown significantly since that time. This investment has the potential to grow as the market recovers. If you're in the financial position to consider investing long-term in your 20s and 30s, mutual funds are a great option because starting now allows more time for your investment to generate compound returns which has the potential for more money in your pocket. If you’re interested, chat with an investment advisor and they’ll explore this option with you and get you started.
Learn about the cost of waiting with our new Cost of Waiting calculator.
Automated pension contributions
I get it – contributing to your pension when you are just beginning your career does not sound like the most fun way to spend your paycheques. But hear me out because this is one of the most valuable behaviours I’ve established since I started working full-time. There is no magic threshold to hit where you have enough money to support yourself when you retire as it all depends on the lifestyle you want to live so it’s never too early to start contributing to your pension. Manually putting away some of your income into your pension can be tedious and a bit of a buzzkill. Many workplaces give you the option to contribute a portion of your paycheque to your pension through an automated transfer when pay day rolls around. I take advantage of this so I don’t even need to see the amount come off my paycheque but I can take comfort in the fact that I am setting my future self up for success by putting this money away and letting it grow. Plus, a lot of workplaces want to encourage their employees to save for their retirement so they will match these payments up to a specific amount.
Even if your workplace doesn’t match your contribution, it’s still an important habit to consistently add to your pension as your pension fund is an investment that earns money over time. By contributing to your pension regularly, you are increasing the amount of potential earnings it can generate.
Why do these matter in your 20s and 30s?: It’s free money! It took me a while to dismiss the devil on my shoulder who wanted to spend my entire paycheque, but the potential for long-term gain is so worth it. Your income may not be at its peak in your 20s and 30s but establishing a solid floor to begin generating compound interest could make a big difference down the road. If you rely on almost every dime of your paycheque to make ends meet, start with putting away 2% of every paycheque and work your way up until you get to 5-7%. You’ll thank yourself later for being disciplined with your pension contributing behaviour as an extra percentage put away could translate to thousands of dollars down the road.
So if you are a 20 or 30 year old who have yet to explore these investing options and are looking for a nudge to get started – this is your push! Think about your short and long term goals and picture yourself reaching that moment where you get to cash in on your hard work. Whatever that moment is, the above investing options can help get you there on time.
Mutual funds are offered through Credential Asset Management Inc. Mutual funds and other securities are offered through Credential Securities, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Credential Securities is a registered mark owned by Aviso Wealth Inc. Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Unless otherwise stated, mutual funds, other securities and cash balances are not covered by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation or by any other government deposit insurer that insures deposits in credit unions. Mutual funds and other securities are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. This report is provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell any mutual funds and other securities.