At What Age Should You Start Investing?

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I am now into my early 40’s. Have a wonderful wife and 3 young children. We own a house (or rather pay a mortgage on one) and have a typical crazy life carting around our 3 kids.

I really can’t complain about much to be honest.

However, when it comes to our finances, I have one major regret so far in life. If I would have taken a different approach 20 – 30 years ago, we may already be financially independent – or at least much further along.

My One Major Regret

My #1 regret in life when it comes to my personal finances is that I didn’t start investing in dividend stocks at an early age.

I would say that for the majority of my life, I have lived at or below my means. Before I met my future wife and got married, I always saved a good portion of my paycheck. I remember dumping hundreds and hundreds of dollars each month into mutual funds.

The problem was that I was blindly investing this money into mutual funds. I would read investment magazines and pick funds that were recommended by so-called analysts.

At least I wasn’t blowing my money and investing it instead. However, it wasn’t necessarily the best option for my future.

Even worse, I later took that money from my mutual fund investments and began using it for day trading. I certainly had no clue what I was doing then and lost a good amount of capital having fun in the market.

Then there was a year when I got really greedy and decided to buy and sell option contracts. At one point I was up $30,000 and rolling along trading options. Two months after reaching that peak, I had lost all the profit and was in the hole for another $5,000.

I missed a wonderful opportunity of starting my dividend income portfolio 20+ years ago which I still regret to this day.

What if I Would Have Invested Sooner?

I often think back now on what-if? What if I would have taken all those funds 20+ years ago and invested in awesome dividend paying companies like McDonald’s (MCD), Coca-Cola (KO), and Wal-Mart (WMT).

What if I would have focused on long term, steady growth companies that pay a dividend every year? Investing that $30,000 (from trading options) alone 20 years ago would have built a solid foundation of investments.

I can’t go back in time and change the way I invested my money. But I can help to teach my 3 children the power of investing early.

Investing When You Are 12 Years Old

My oldest son will be 12 years old this year. Recently he started to earn money by doing odd jobs around our neighborhood. In just a couple days work, he has earned over $120 from these odd jobs and is excited to earn more.

His original goal was to earn money to buy what every 12 year old boy wants – video games.

However, one evening at dinner I asked him if he wanted to instead use his money to earn even more income? He had a very interested look in his eye and at that point I knew he was hooked.

My son and I spent the next evening talking about dividend stocks. The more and more I explained the concept to him, the more he wanted to start investing. It certainly made my day.

I told him that if I would have started to invest in dividend stocks when I was 12 (some 30 years ago), I probably would not have to work anymore.

While he is not going to be earning any significant income for several more years from working, I think it is important to get him started investing early.

We are going to start looking at opening up a custodial account over the next few weeks so he can begin putting his money to work.

I wish I would have done the same when I was 12!

Conclusion

When did you start investing? I really didn’t start investing any money until I was about 22 years old. I am sure that is much earlier than the average person, but starting 10 years sooner would have been better.

Plus, if I wouldn’t have squandered a lot of my investment capital on day trading and options trading – I could have invested that money in dividend stocks.

Hopefully these lessons learned from my biggest financial regret will help benefit my kids.

It seems that it has started for my oldest son. He took the first step towards his financial independence this past week and he is only 12!

When did you start investing in dividend stocks? Is there any age that is too early to start investing?

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