Hey Taylor: I’m in high school and have been taking a class on finances. I’m getting really into the concept of investing and wonder when is the right time to start. Is there a certain age when I should start, or just whenever I have a good amount of knowledge? I want to get a part-time job soon so I’ll have money to invest. — Carlos
Hey Carlos: This is a really good question. Knowledge is the most important factor, but age has a little bit to do with it, as well. The common pitch is, “It’s never too early to start investing in your future,” and while there’s a lot of truth to that, the issue isn’t so cut and dry. Let’s break it down a little further.
Starting early. The earlier you invest, the longer your money has to grow. This is categorically true, but it doesn’t account for any of the variables. It makes sense to wait until you have more capital and can make a more substantial investment. Since you are currently working and aren’t looking to work full time, you’ll likely be investing most of your monthly earnings. I don’t know enough about your financial situation, but make sure you’re saving and covering important expenses before getting too excited about investing.
Coming of age. Is there a perfect age to start investing? Not really. The age depends on whether you’re working, if you’ve gone or are planning to go to college, whether you have an emergency fund, etc. If you stay as interested in the market as you are now, you’ll keep learning, and eventually, certain investments will start to make sense. At that point, if you have the funds, you’ll be exactly the right age for investing.
The right time for you. As you can see, my answer is a little wishy-washy because we need to get a clearer idea of your future plans and goals. I think you should start investing as soon as possible, but that might mean you should wait a few years until you have a little more money and a job that seems reliable. When you start, it should feel like you’re making a smart choice with your money. If it feels like you’re gambling, it’s not the right time.
Focus on getting a job and saving some cash. After you’ve done that, you can start looking seriously into investing that money. As long as you keep learning, I’m sure you’ll do fine. Good luck!
Disclosure: Information presented is for educational purposes only and is not an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and, unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. To submit a question to be answered in this column, please send it via email to Question@GoFarWithKovar.com, or via USPS to Taylor Kovar, 415 S 1st St, Suite 300, Lufkin, TX 75901.
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