AC
Ashley Copeland
5 months ago

Money Maven: I Started My IRA When I Was 21 (and You Can Too)!

Our Money Maven series follows the stories and advice of Ashley Copeland, millennial dollar diva and host of the Stacks and the City podcast. For more - download the app! 

I’ll be honest, when I think of IRAs and retirement, I think of old, dry (white) men in gaudy Hawaiian shirts discussing the elusive “market” as they tee off somewhere in Palm Springs.

That’s because we’ve painted the stock market as this mysterious and exclusive place for a certain echelon of America to bask in their wealth.

Y’all, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

By 21, I had $10,000 saved from college refund checks and cash from working as a three-star server at Cracker Barrel. I had NO idea what to do with all this coin.

After months of research from books, blogs, and banks, all signs pointed at that fancy invest word.

No one in my family invested, but everyone in the financial industry said it was a key component to build wealth. So I thought, If they can do it, why can’t I?

Easier said than done.

I called banks, investment firms, alleged “personal finance experts.” Most told me I didn’t meet the minimum requirement to invest with them (*eye roll*).

Undeterred, I walked into the bank I had a checking account with and sat down with an investment advisor, who was the first person to take me seriously. He explained the investing process, and which types of investments worked best for me at that stage in my life.

From there, I started a Roth IRA and a general investment account. Since having the Roth IRA, I have seen it grow well beyond the $5,500 I pledged to contribute every year.

Retirement can happen anytime.

Most people think of retirement as hitting your golden years and moving to Florida, but it really just means that you’re living your best life without having to physically work for your coins anymore.

Instead of your paychecks coming from working on someone else’s clock, your checks come from the stock market (or other types of passive income).

Start saving NOW.

If you save a little teeny bit every day (and I’m talking as little as $20 a month), you have the potential to make that into THOUSANDS over the years.

Let’s do some math: If you’re 25 and save $20 a month over twelve months, 12x20 equals $240 a year.

$240 per year for 40 years (when you turn 65) is $9600—and that’s without the benefit of interest.

Add the average stock market return of 7 percent and you’ll have a whopping $51,000—much of that money you didn’t have to work for.

But what if I lose all my money?!

Guess what? You will lose your hard-earned coins. It will happen. The stock market goes up and down.

However, over the long term, you will earn more than you lose as long as you stay consistent. Ignore the hysteria from “experts” in custom Italian suits and keep doing whatever you’re doing.

The calamity in 2008 will be a blip in time in 2050 when it’s time to cash out and live on your #rockafellerstatus.

Follow Ashley on Instagram @stacksnthecity.

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Hey Nav.igator, just so you know, we have financial advisors reviewing our content, but our articles are only meant to be educational. Consider this friendly information, not financial advice (talk to a professional for that!).