indicatorSaving and Investing

The #1 investing tip—and it’s surprisingly simple

By ATB Financial 5 March 2019 4 min read

GIC. RRSP. RRIF. Do all the investment acronyms seem pretty overwhelming, and sound the same to you? We get it. Investing can feel intimidating, especially when people throw around terms you don’t understand. But we’re here to help.

We wanted to share our biggest piece of investment advice with you—and don’t worry, it’s actually pretty simple. Are you ready?

Start early.

Pretty basic, right? But it’s the simple things that are usually the hardest to apply. That’s why we’re here to walk you through it.


Why does starting early make such a big difference?

Good habits go a long way. When you start investing now—when you might not be making as much as you will down the road—you’re creating patterns for your older (and higher-paid) self to continue.

It means that your money has a longer time to grow, which means more for future you if invested properly.


Top 3 investing habits when starting early

Automate your savings

When you set an amount to go towards your investments every paycheque, you don’t even have to think about it. How much easier is that then trying to remember to make a deposit every few weeks? Plus, let’s be real—going out with your friends sounds way more fun than saving money you won’t touch for years.

Start with whatever you can afford

The biggest advantage you have when you’re young is time. Letting savings compound for long uninterrupted periods is your secret sauce to larger retirement assets.

As you get older and your income increases, you can slowly start to increase the monthly amount you save.

Be curious

Educate yourself on personal finance, investing basics and behaviour finance. This can have a huge payoff since you’ll not only learn about how it all works, but how our emotions around money can often be our biggest barrier to success. Investing is a long-haul over multiple market cycles and the goal’s to remain invested for the long term.


I’m in my 20s and I don’t feel like I can invest. What would you tell me?

Many younger people don’t feel like they have enough money to invest. We get it, investing sounds like you should be dumping hundreds or thousands into a portfolio. But we challenge you to get creative. Think about it—when it comes to having enough money for a Friday night, or global travels, you’ve probably been able to make that work. You can do the same with investing, even if it doesn’t sound quite as exciting. Trust us, it’s worth it.

The good news is, saving even $25 a month is a huge win. It’s a small step that leads to long term results and the creation of a savings habit. It’s easy to overlook the benefits of starting small since it doesn't create overnight wealth. But the results are powerful—take a look:

If you saved $100 a month starting at age 20, assuming an annual return of 5%, your portfolio would grow to $144,960 at the age of 60. That’s pretty incredible for only $100/month!

In contrast, if you started saving $100/month at 40 years old with an annual return of 5%, your portfolio would only grow to $39,679. That is the benefit of starting early.


I’m well past my 20s, and I didn’t start investing early. What would you tell me?

Well, there’s good news for you: it’s never too late to start.

Everyone has different levels of investment education, and that’s totally fine—we each had different priorities and influences growing up. The main thing is to start now.

Whatever your age, get started. The older you are, the more of a challenge you’ll be up against, since your money will have less of a chance to grow. So you’ll have to be putting in more money to combat that.

But there are perks to starting later. If you’re an empty nester, expenses might be lower than they were when your kids lived at home. Since you’re further along in your career, there’s also a good chance you’re making more than you did in your 20s.

Take the amount that you were spending on the kids—or other expenses that you’re able to cut back on—and set up an automatic deposit into investment savings. As you face the tough decisions about what you want to have now vs. the life you want when you retire, we’re here to listen.


Our hope is for you to face investment without fear, and maybe even have a little fun along the way! If you’d like to talk to someone about investing—no matter what life stage you’re in—reach out to one of our experts in your area, get started online with ATB Prosper, or give us a call at 1-800-332-8383.

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