It Is Never Too Late to Start Investing

by Hank

Several Soldiers I know have nothing saved for retirement.  Not one dime.  That wouldn’t be a cause for concern if they were privates just entering the sevice, but these Soldiers are mid-level Non-Commissioned Officers, sergeants who have been in the Army for almost ten years or more.  These Soldiers have even earned large bonuses for reenlisting and still have saved nothing.  Their lack of forethought will doom them to a lifetime of working if they do not catch up their savings and investing for retirement.

 

It’s never too late to start investing for the future.  I am continuously bombarded with people telling me that they can’t afford to save.  I tell them that they can’t afford NOT to save.  The military retirement system alone is not enough for us to live on in the end.  Telling yourself that you can’t afford to save is a copout.  We have to save and invest if we want to have any hope of enjoying our golden years.  Everyone can afford to save something.

 

David Bach wrote about people finding their “Latte Factor” in his book, “The Automatic Millionaire”.  Bach says that we can save thousands of dollars each year by cutting out expensive unnecessary consumer purchases.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am a huge coffee drinker and fan of Starbucks.  I love my double lattes as much as the next guy, but it can get very expensive if you buy them everyday. 

 

A latte at your local coffee house costs about $4. If you stop at the coffee shop before work everyday, that is $20 a week, $80 a month, or $960 a year.  And, that also assumes that you do not buy a muffin with your morning coffee.

 

How many members of the military smoke or chew tobacco?  A two pack a day habit can cost you about $135 a month for three cartons or $1,620 a year.  The same thing can be said about dip.  A can of dip costs about $4.  If you dip a can a day, then that can add up to over $1,400 a year.  Today in the PX, I was blown away when I saw that a case of 24 cans of Monster energy soda costs over $50.  Brewing your own coffee at home or smoking only one pack a day instead of two will leave you with almost $1,000 to invest every year.  These are just certain examples.  There are things that we can all do to spend less and save more.  Saving small amounts help you develop good habits so you can invest larger sums later after you get the hang of it.

 

Other ideas to save you money include cutting out premium channels from your cable bill, clipping coupons, or shopping around for the best deals online.  Do you have any other ideas or tips to save a few dollars here or there?  I’d love to hear them.  Leave a comment to share with everyone or send me an e-mail.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jarheadead August 28, 2008 at 1:22 am

I am sure all these guys drive some pretty nice rides. I know I did (still do) but I have gotten smart and will no longer buy a new car just because. The money that I have wasted on cars alone (5 new cars in 8 years) is stupid. Get a car keep it drive it make it last. Once I get my CC and car paid off (all I need is a trip to Iraq) it will be the equivalant of almost $1000 pay raise or about 500 a paycheck. Since that is about 20% of my pay I am going to jack my TSP up by 10% once they are paid off (might wait a month or two so I can get my TV and a few other things but it will get bumped up shortly after paying them off)

Hank August 28, 2008 at 8:45 am

Great point Jarheadead about the cars. I completely forgot about that. Thanks…

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