How to Invest When You Are in Your 20s and 30s (2022)

What are the best investments for young adults? Although there is no one-size-fits-all investment strategy, mutual funds offer young investors one of the best investment types.

Learn why mutual funds can be a good investment for young and novice investors and which mutual funds are best for investors in their 20s and 30s.

Key Takeaways

  • Young investors might not know what stocks or industries to invest in, making mutual funds ideal since they hold many securities.
  • Many mutual funds provide diversification, which helps the fund reduce the risk of loss.
  • Those in their 20s looking to build a portfolio should consider index funds, which are funds that track an index such as the S&P 500.
  • For young investors saving for retirement, target-date mutual funds invest in a mix of stocks, bonds, and cash that assumes a person invests until a specific year.
  • Watch out for mutual fund fees and commissions. "No-load funds" may not charge sales load but may charge other expenses.

Why Mutual Funds Are Best for Young Investors

A mutual fund is an investment that contains a basket of securities. Investors buy into the fund by pooling their money. The fund could contain stocks, bonds, or a mixture of investments and it's usually managed by an investment manager. The fund might track an underlying index, such as the , or it could be designed to invest in a select number of stocks or securities, such as technology or bank stocks.

Mutual funds are not just for beginners or young people. They are used by professional money managers and expert investors around the world. Below are the primary reasons mutual funds can be an ideal investment for those in their 20s or beginning investors:


Most investors in their 20s and 30s don't have complex financial needs. Mutual funds are easy to research and buy. Many brokers offer various funds and the ability to establish an automatic direct deposit from your payroll each pay period to buy shares of the fund. This makes them a good choice for young investors.

(Video) How To Invest In Your 20’s to be Wealthy In Your 30’s


As a young, novice investor, you might not know what stocks or industries to invest in, which makes mutual funds ideal since they hold dozens or hundreds of securities. A young investor can get started and do well with just one or two funds.

Many mutual funds provide diversification, which helps the fund to reduce the risk of loss. For example, if one company's stock performs poorly, the other stocks might not decline, providing a type of hedge against market risk. However, there is always the risk of loss with mutual funds as with many other investments.


Typically, young people in their 20s don't make a high income during the first several years of employment. Mutual funds don't require a huge upfront cost to get started and there are many low-cost funds that don't require a financial advisor to purchase. However, you'll likely need to establish an account with a broker, which is relatively painless.

Fidelity has some index funds that require no minimum investment, have no minimums to open an account, and charge a zero expense ratio.

Investment Goals in Your 20s

When you are in your 20s, it's helpful to determine your financial plan and investment goals and whether you're investing for the short-term or long-term.


It's important to establish a budget with your monthly income and expenses. Your budget can help you get started in determining how much you can afford to invest.

Emergency Fund

Some of your short and long-term goals might include creating an emergency fund. A savings account or money market account can hold the cash allocated to your emergency fund. This money can be used for those unexpected expenses such as a car repair, loss of job, or medical expenses.

(Video) The Best Ways to Invest in Your 20s | Phil Town

Major Life Expenses

Your major life expenses over the next five to ten years might include purchasing a house or starting a family. A home is one of the biggest investments that you can buy. Calculate how many years from now you want to own a home or start a family and start saving early for the downpayment, which is typically 10% to 20% of a home's purchase price.


Compound interest is the process of earning interest on your investment gains or interest. Compounding benefits the young since you have many years to reinvest your market gains, which can build long-term wealth.

401(k) Employer Match

If available, sign up for a retirement plan or 401(k) through your employer. These employer-sponsored plans may match your contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary. For example, you might be required to contribute 5% of your salary in order to qualify for a 5% match from your employer.

Best Fund Types for Investors in Their 20s and 30s

If young investors are saving for a long-term goal, such as retirement, there is likely a time horizon of up to 30 years or more. All investors should be aware of their own investment objectives and risk tolerance. But the longer you have until you need your money, the more aggressively you can invest.

Here are the basic types of funds that young investors are wise to consider:

Target Date Mutual Funds

As the name suggests, target-date mutual funds invest in a mix of stocks, bonds, and cash that assumes a person invests until a certain year. As the target date nears, the fund manager will slowly decrease market risk by shifting assets out of stocks and into bonds and cash. This is what an individual investor would do themselves. Therefore, target-date mutual funds are a type of "set it and forget it" investment.

For example, if you are saving for retirement and think you may retire around the year 2045, you may consider a 2045 target date fund such as Vanguard Target Retirement 2045 (VTIVX).

As of May 31, 2022, the fund had 86.42% of its assets in stocks, including international equities, and nearly 13% in bonds. This investment skews more towards bonds and away from stocks as the target date approaches. The minimum investment required for this fund is $1,000, and it charges an expense ratio of 0.08%. Vanguard says this fund could be an option for those "planning to retire between 2043 and 2047."

Sometimes, target date funds invest in other mutual funds, and both funds charge fees. That makes the target date fund more expensive. Higher expenses impact fund returns.

(Video) How to Invest in Your 20s to Be Rich in Your 30s

Balanced Funds

Balanced funds are also called "hybrid funds" or "asset allocation funds." They are mutual funds that invest in a balanced asset allocation of stocks, bonds, and cash. The allocation usually remains fixed and employs a stated investment objective or style.

For example, as of May 31, 2022, Fidelity Balanced Fund (FBALX) had a portfolio of nearly 68% stocks and 31% bonds. The fund is considered a medium-risk or moderate portfolio and had a .51% expense ratio as of Oct. 30, 2021.

Index Funds

Those in their 20s looking to invest or build a portfolio should consider index funds, which are mutual funds that passively track the composition and performance of an index such as the S&P 500.

Index funds are great for young investors since they provide a broad exposure to equities and have low expense ratios. These funds can expose you to dozens or hundreds of stocks from various industries in just one fund, providing a low-cost, diversified mutual fund.

For example, the Schwab S&P 500 Index Fund (SWPPX) tracks the returns of the S&P 500 index, meaning the fund mirrors the holdings of the S&P 500. As of May 31, 2022, the fund's three-year annualized return of more than 18% was nearly identical to the S&P 500 index. The fund has no investment minimum and an expense ratio of 0.02%.

Where Young Investors Can Buy Mutual Funds

Assuming they are at least age 18, any investor can buy mutual funds through virtually any fund company or brokerage firm that offers them. Most online brokerages have no account minimums for their mutual funds.

Also, 401(k) plans typically invest in mutual funds. So, it's important to check with your employer to see if they offer a retirement plan and an employer match, but also explore the tax benefits that might be available.

(Video) 10 Best Investments to Make in Your 20s and 30s

Young people who want to build an investment portfolio without a financial advisor could invest in a no-load mutual fund company. "No-load" funds do not charge commissions. You only pay them if you use a broker.

“No-load funds” may not charge sales load, but they could still impose other fees or expenses.

The Bottom Line

Young investors or those just starting to build an investment portfolio might not know which stocks, bonds, or investments to buy. Mutual funds can help by providing broad exposure to many stocks and industries. Since mutual funds often hold dozens or hundreds of securities, they can diversify your risk of market losses.

Index funds, which track an underlying index such as the S&P 500, are popular choices for their simplicity, low fees, and low investment minimums. As with any investment, there is the risk of loss, and young investors should be aware that some funds charge fees and commissions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What investments should I make in my 20s?

Mutual funds can provide young investors access to many stocks across various industries. Index funds, for example, track an underlying index such as the S&P 500, providing broad exposure to the market.

Is it worth investing in your 20s?

Starting early can help young people in their 20s build wealth, even if you're only investing small amounts of money to start. Your investments can grow over time, particularly if the money is invested in funds that provide access to the equity and bond markets.

(Video) How To Invest Your Money In Your 20s To THRIVE In Your 30s

What are some investing strategies for your 20s?

If you're aggressive, mutual funds that hold growth stocks can be an option. For those with a long-term financial goal, such as retirement, target-date funds match the investment portfolio with your age, meaning it's aggressive when you're young and more conservative as you approach retirement.


How should a 30 year old invest? ›

Here are seven tips for saving and investing in your 30s and taking advantage of perhaps your highest-earning years to date.
  1. Solidify a financial plan. ...
  2. Get rid of debt. ...
  3. Get your employer's retirement plan match. ...
  4. Contribute to an IRA. ...
  5. Maximize your retirement savings. ...
  6. Stick with stocks for long-term goals.
27 Oct 2021

What investments should I make in my 20s? ›

In your twenties, the best place to start investing is in a retirement account, specifically your 401K or IRA. As of 2022, you can invest up to $20,500 in a 401K and up to $6,000 in an IRA. That means you can set aside up to $26,500 each year, invest it, and allow it to grow in a tax-advantaged way.

How do you invest when you're in your 20s? ›

How to start investing in your 20s
  1. Contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. ...
  2. Open an individual retirement account (IRA) ...
  3. Find a broker or robo-advisor that meets your needs. ...
  4. Consider leveraging a financial advisor. ...
  5. Keep short-term savings somewhere easily accessible. ...
  6. Increase your savings over time.
26 Jul 2022

How much do I need to save to be a millionaire in 5 years? ›

Although hitting a home run with an investment is what dreams are made of, the most realistic path is to put aside big chunks of money every year. The historical average return for the S&P 500 index is 8%. With that return, you'd have to invest $157,830 each year for five years in order to reach $1 million.

Is 30 too old to start investing? ›

No matter how old you are, the best time to start investing was a while ago. But it's never too late to do something. Just make sure the decisions you make are the right ones for your age—your investment approach should age with you.

How much should a 22 year old invest? ›

Let me show you. If you start investing with just $3,600 per year at age 22, assuming an 8% average annual return, you'll have $1 million at age 62.
Why Start Investing Early?
AgeAmount To Invest Per Year To Reach $1 Million
4 more rows
18 Jun 2022

How can I grow my wealth in my 20s? ›

Here are 12 key steps to take in your 20s that can lead to serious success and future wealth.
  1. Create a personal budget. ...
  2. Put your money on autopilot. ...
  3. Lower your living expenses. ...
  4. Increase your retirement contributions. ...
  5. Earmark extra income. ...
  6. Stop debt in its tracks. ...
  7. Create a rainy day fund. ...
  8. Invest in yourself.
13 May 2022

How much money should I have saved by 25? ›

By age 25, you should have saved at least 0.5X your annual expenses. The more the better. In other words, if you spend $50,000 a year, you should have about $25,000 in savings. If you spend $100,000 a year, you should have at least $50,000 in savings.

How can I make passive income in my 20s? ›

23 passive income ideas to help you make money in 2022
  1. Start a dropshipping store. ...
  2. Build and monetize a blog. ...
  3. Create and sell online courses. ...
  4. Publish Instagram sponsored posts. ...
  5. Create a print-on-demand store. ...
  6. Create an app. ...
  7. Invest in stocks. ...
  8. Buy and sell properties.
27 Apr 2022

How much should you save in your 20s? ›

Many experts agree that most young adults in their 20s should allocate 10% of their income to savings.

How can I be a millionaire in 5 years? ›

Here are nine steps to help you become a millionaire in five years or less.
  1. Step 1: Create a Wealth-Building Plan. ...
  2. Step 2: Take Advantage of Employer Contributions. ...
  3. Step 3: Ask for a Raise. ...
  4. Step 4: Save a Significant Portion of Your Earnings. ...
  5. Step 5: Develop Multiple Income Streams. ...
  6. Step 6: Eliminate Debt.
5 Sept 2022

What are 4 types of investments? ›

There are four main investment types, or asset classes, that you can choose from, each with distinct characteristics, risks and benefits.
  • Growth investments. ...
  • Shares. ...
  • Property. ...
  • Defensive investments. ...
  • Cash. ...
  • Fixed interest.

What jobs make you a millionaire? ›

Here are 14 jobs that often have lucrative advancement opportunities, which can help make you a millionaire when you plan ahead and are successful in your career.
  • Professional athlete. ...
  • Investment banker. ...
  • Entrepreneur. ...
  • Lawyer. ...
  • Certified public accountant. ...
  • Insurance agent. ...
  • Engineer. ...
  • Real estate agent.

At what age do most people get rich? ›

The average age of millionaires is 57, indicating that, for most people, it takes three or four decades of hard work to accumulate substantial wealth. Research was conducted by the authors, Thomas Stanley, Ph. D., and William D.

Is saving 500 a month good? ›

Should you strive to save even more? Yes, saving $500 per month is good. Given an average 7% return per year, saving five hundred dollars per month for 37 years will end up being $1,000,000. However, with other strategies, you might reach 1 Million USD in 21 years by saving only $500 per month.

How much do I need to invest to be a millionaire in 10 years? ›

Here it's important to understand that the longer we have to save and grow our money, the less we have to save each month to reach our goal. If we want to become a millionaire in 10 years, we would need to save about $6,000 per month.

Where should I be financially at 35? ›

So, to answer the question, we believe having one to one-and-a-half times your income saved for retirement by age 35 is a reasonable target. It's an attainable goal for someone who starts saving at age 25. For example, a 35-year-old earning $60,000 would be on track if she's saved about $60,000 to $90,000.

How much should you have saved at 32? ›

Fast answer: A general rule of thumb is to have one times your annual income saved by age 30, three times by 40, and so on.

Is 20K in savings good? ›

A sum of $20,000 sitting in your savings account could provide months of financial security should you need it. After all, experts recommend building an emergency fund equal to 3-6 months worth of expenses. However, saving $20K may seem like a lofty goal, even with a timetable of five years.

What's the 50 30 20 budget rule? ›

What is the 50/30/20 rule? The 50/30/20 rule is an easy budgeting method that can help you to manage your money effectively, simply and sustainably. The basic rule of thumb is to divide your monthly after-tax income into three spending categories: 50% for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings or paying off debt.

How much do I have to save to be a millionaire in 20 years? ›

If you're starting from scratch with zero savings, you need to save $2,200 a month to become a millionaire by March 2037. Now, let's say you already have some savings. If you already have $10,000 saved up, you'll need to put away $2,100 per month to become a millionaire by May 2037.

Is a Roth IRA or 401k better? ›

The Bottom Line. In many cases, a Roth IRA can be a better choice than a 401(k) retirement plan, as it offers more investment options and greater tax benefits. It may be especially useful if you think you'll be in a higher tax bracket later on.

At what age should I start investing? ›

An ideal age to start investing would be as soon as one is independent and is earning a regular income. In the Indian context this would usually be in the range of 24-27 years of age.

At what age should you get out of the stock market? ›

You probably want to hang it up around the age of 70, if not before. That's not only because, by that age, you are aiming to conserve what you've got more than you are aiming to make more, so you're probably moving more money into bonds, or an immediate lifetime annuity.

What is the best side hustle? ›

Best Side Hustles
  • Deliver Food And Groceries.
  • Ridesharing.
  • Start A Blog.
  • Tutoring.
  • Online Freelancing.
  • Rent Your Car.
  • List Your House.
  • Buy And Resell Stuff.
25 Sept 2022

What is the fastest way to build wealth? ›

1. Increase Your Income
  1. Venture into Business. The wealthiest people in the world are not employees but business founders. ...
  2. Take Up High-Paying Jobs. ...
  3. Run Side Hustles. ...
  4. Improve Your Skill Set. ...
  5. Create a Budget. ...
  6. Build an Emergency Fund. ...
  7. Live Below Your Means. ...
  8. Stock Market.
23 Apr 2022

Where should you be financially at 30? ›

Created with sketchtool. By 30, you should have a decent chunk of change saved for your future self, experts say — in fact, ideally your account would look like a year's worth of salary, according to Boston-based investment firm Fidelity Investments, so if you make $50,000 a year, you'd have $50,000 saved already.

How much does an average 23 year old make? ›

The median salary of 20- to 24-year-olds is $667 per week, which translates to $34,684 per year. Many Americans start out their careers in their 20s and don't earn as much as they will once they reach their 30s.

How much does the average 25 year old have in their bank account? ›

Average Savings by Age 25

The Federal Reserve doesn't provide a specific metric for savers in their 20s. Instead, it compiles savings information for Americans under 35. The Fed's most recent numbers show the average savings for the age group that includes 25-year-olds is $11,250. The median savings is $3,240.

How can I make $1000 a month passively? ›

54 Best Passive Income Ideas to Earn $1,000+ (October 2022)
  1. Invest in Dividend Growth Stocks.
  2. Invest in (crowdfunded) real estate.
  3. Earn credit card sign-up bonuses.
  4. Earn new bank account promotions.
  5. Save with a High Yield Savings Account.
  6. Save with Certificates of Deposit (Brokered & Regular)
19 Sept 2022

How can I make 5k in a month? ›

How to make $5,000 a month from home (or anywhere)
  1. Freelance your skills. Freelancing is one of the quickest ways to start earning from home. ...
  2. Drop servicing. Drop servicing is like freelancing on steroids. ...
  3. Internet scoping. ...
  4. Blogging. ...
  5. Virtual assistant. ...
  6. Amazon. ...
  7. Investing. ...
  8. Photography.

How much should I be making at 30? ›

From ages 25-34, the median wage is $60,000 and will increase to a median wage of $90,000 by ages 45-59. Compare that with a major in the health field, which has a median wage of $53,000 at ages 25-34 and grows to a median wage of $72,000 by ages 45-59.

What should you not do in your 20s? ›

Here are a few things that you should be wary of doing in your twenties.
  • Trying to make your life look a certain way by the time you're 30. ...
  • Settling for anything less than the best. ...
  • Not stepping out of your comfort zone. ...
  • Pressuring yourself. ...
  • Comparing. ...
  • Making it all about the money. ...
  • Complaining about how busy you are.
26 Apr 2019

How much does the average 22 year old have in savings? ›

Of “young millennials” — which GOBankingRates defines as those between 18 and 24 years old — 72% have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts and 31% have $0. A sliver (8%) have over $10,000 saved.

How much money do you need to retire with $100000 a year income? ›

Percentage Of Your Salary

Some experts recommend that you save at least 70 – 80% of your preretirement income. This means if you earned $100,000 year before retiring, you should plan on spending $70,000 – $80,000 a year in retirement.

Where do most millionaires invest their money? ›

For more than 200 years, investing in real estate has been the most popular investment for millionaires to keep their money. During all these years, real estate investments have been the primary way millionaires have had of making and keeping their wealth.

What are billionaires investing in? ›

We've compiled a list of some of the most common investments that billionaires make when looking for sustained growth of their money over time.
This Is Where Billionaires Keep Their Money
  • Cash and Cash Equivalents. ...
  • Commodities. ...
  • Foreign Currencies. ...
  • Securities. ...
  • Private Equity and Hedge Funds. ...
  • Real Estate. ...
  • Collectibles.
16 Sept 2022

What is the best asset to buy now? ›

  1. High-yield savings accounts. Online savings accounts and cash management accounts provide higher rates of return than you'll get in a traditional bank savings or checking account. ...
  2. Certificates of deposit. ...
  3. Money market funds. ...
  4. Government bonds. ...
  5. Corporate bonds. ...
  6. Mutual funds. ...
  7. Index funds. ...
  8. Exchange-traded funds.
5 days ago

How many types of income do you need to be a millionaire? ›

Remember, the average millionaire has 7 different income streams.

How do beginners buy stocks? ›

The easiest way to buy stocks is through an online stockbroker. After opening and funding your account, you can buy stocks through the broker's website in a matter of minutes. Other options include using a full-service stockbroker, or buying stock directly from the company.

What kind of investments make the most money? ›

Almost everyone should own stocks. That's because stocks have consistently proven the best way for the average person to build wealth over the long term. U.S. stocks have delivered better returns than bonds, savings yields, and gold over the past four decades.

How do I invest my money to make money? ›

  1. How to invest $1,000 to make money fast.
  2. Play the stock market.
  3. Invest in a money-making course.
  4. Trade commodities.
  5. Trade cryptocurrencies.
  6. Use peer-to-peer lending.
  7. Trade options.
  8. Flip real estate contracts.

How much should I be investing at 30? ›

Fast answer: A general rule of thumb is to have one times your annual income saved by age 30, three times by 40, and so on.

Is it too late to save for retirement at 30? ›

The simple answer is it's never too late to start saving for your retirement, but you should think about starting to save as soon as you can. The biggest advantage working for you if you start early is compound interest, which essentially means your money can make you money.

Is a Roth IRA or 401k better? ›

The Bottom Line. In many cases, a Roth IRA can be a better choice than a 401(k) retirement plan, as it offers more investment options and greater tax benefits. It may be especially useful if you think you'll be in a higher tax bracket later on.

What should I do in my 30s when I retire? ›

Retirement Checklist for Your 30s
  1. Make saving for retirement a priority. Take advantage of time and the power of compounding to potentially grow your money. ...
  2. Keep your retirement savings on target. ...
  3. Prepare yourself for the unexpected. ...
  4. Learn more.

How can I become a millionaire in 5 years? ›

9 Steps To Become a Millionaire in 5 Years (or Less)
  1. Create a Plan.
  2. Employer Contributions.
  3. Ask for a Raise.
  4. Save.
  5. Income Streams.
  6. Eliminate Debt.
  7. Invest.
  8. Improve Your Skills.
5 Sept 2022

Where should I be financially at 25? ›

By age 25, you should have saved at least 0.5X your annual expenses. The more the better. In other words, if you spend $50,000 a year, you should have about $25,000 in savings. If you spend $100,000 a year, you should have at least $50,000 in savings.

How much do I need to save to be a millionaire in 20 years? ›

Putting away $1,500 a month is a good savings goal. At this rate, you'll reach millionaire status in less than 20 years. That's roughly 34 years sooner than those who save just $50 per month.

Where should I be financially at 35? ›

So, to answer the question, we believe having one to one-and-a-half times your income saved for retirement by age 35 is a reasonable target. It's an attainable goal for someone who starts saving at age 25. For example, a 35-year-old earning $60,000 would be on track if she's saved about $60,000 to $90,000.

At what age should you stop investing? ›

When to Start Spending. As there's no magic age that dictates when it's time to switch from saver to spender (some people can retire at 40, while most have to wait until their 60s or even 70+), you have to consider your own financial situation and lifestyle.

How much does the average 30 year old have in 401k? ›

Ages 30-39

Average 401(k) balance: $42,400. Median 401(k) balance: $16,500.

What is the downside of a Roth IRA? ›

One key disadvantage: Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax money, meaning that there's no tax deduction in the year of the contribution. Another drawback is that withdrawals of account earnings must not be made until at least five years have passed since the first contribution.

Can I have 2 Roth IRAs? ›

You can have multiple traditional and Roth IRAs, but your total cash contributions can't exceed the annual maximum allowed by the IRS. Distributions from a Roth IRA are tax free.

How much does a Roth IRA earn annually? ›

Roth IRAs are a popular retirement account choice for a reason. It's because they're easy to open with an online broker and historically deliver between 7% and 10% in average annual returns. Roth IRAs harness the advantages of compounding, which means even small contributions can grow significantly over time.

How much should I have saved by age 30? ›

Here's how much cash they say you should have stashed away at every age: Savings by age 30: the equivalent of your annual salary saved; if you earn $55,000 per year, by your 30th birthday you should have $55,000 saved. Savings by age 40: three times your income. Savings by age 50: six times your income.

How much saving should I have at 35? ›

By the time you are 35, you should have at least 4X your annual expenses saved up. Alternatively, you should have at least 4X your annual expenses as your net worth. In other words, if you spend $60,000 a year to live at age 35, you should have at least $240,000 in savings or have at least a $240,000 net worth.

What should my portfolio look like at 30? ›

The old rule about the best portfolio balance by age is that you should hold the percentage of stocks in your portfolio that is equal to 100 minus your age. So a 30-year-old investor should hold 70% of their portfolio in stocks.


1. How Much Money You Should Have Saved (in your 20s 30s 40s and 50s)
(Erika Kullberg)
2. How do you invest in your 20s and 30s and 50s and 60s?
(Simon Snelder)
3. How To Invest In Your 20s To Be Wealthy In Your 30s
4. Investing In Your 20s And 30s 12 Essential Tips
(Money Invest)
5. How to Invest in your 30s? | Stock Market Basics For Beginners in 2021 | Ankur Warikoo
6. 8 Rules for Investing in Your 20s & 30s | What I've learned as a Financial Adviser
(James Shack)

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