Pack your lunch now, and you can pack your bags later.

“If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.” Many people take investing advice from the great Warren Buffett. This advice however comes from a different Warren, Warren Miller, producer of some of the greatest skiing movies of all time! He is of course encouraging his viewers to take to the slopes in some of the sport’s most legendary landscapes. I think there is also a very direct relationship to investing, and if you follow the advice, you may be able to afford skiing some epic landscapes one year sooner!

I hear “I need to start investing” more than “I’ve started investing”. Where to start and how much to invest are two barriers that hold a lot of people back. Let’s start with some basic math to see the emphasis on early investing.

If you invest $100 every week and had an average return of 6.37% per year*, in 40 years and 7 months you would be a millionaire. If you start saving after college at 23 years old, you’d be a millionaire by the time you retire. Not bad. Why use 6.37%? That is the 10-year average return of a balanced index fund (as of 5/31/2017) which would be a moderate level of risk and provides a very realistic scenario.

Let’s say you may not have been lucky enough to start saving at such a young age. If we were to apply the same conditions over different time periods, how much would you need to save per week?

Years to invest











Weekly Investment




















It’s pretty plain to see that investing $75 per week is a lot easier than investing over $3200 per week!

So how does this apply to your situation?

In your 20’s, skip the Starbucks and pack your lunch. This can be almost $20 a day, easily putting you ahead of your goal!

In your 30’s, focus on contributing to retirement plans and maxing IRA’s. If you and our spouse each max out your IRA’s every year, this is approximately $211 per week.

In your 40’s and 50’s, look to do a combination of saving and watching expenses. Maxing out 401k and 403b plans would allow each participant to contribute $18,000 per year and $24,000 per year if you’re over 50.

Watch your budget and pay yourself first. The sooner you start saving, the easier it will be to hit your targets. Take advantage of qualified retirement plans and try to think of their limits as minimum’s when it comes to savings.

In our example here, we did not factor in taxes. Depending the type of account you are investing in and your personal tax situation, taxes may be a significant factor. A balanced index fund may also not be the appropriate investment vehicle based on your specific risk tolerance. A higher risk fund may allow you to accumulate assets faster but may also put your money at risk if you have a specific deadline. These details unique to your personal situation should be discussed with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM so they may build a portfolio designed for you.

Remember, if you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.

Happy Investing!



* This is a hypothetical examples and is for illustrative purposes only. No specific investments were used in this example. Actual results will vary. Past performance does not guarantee future returns.