The Motley Fool

No savings at 50? These tips could help you make a million and retire rich

Having reached my 50s some time ago, I can tell you it’s a younger age than I imagined it to be when in my 20s!

I used to believe 50-year-olds were knocking on the door of old age, but now realise they’ve ‘barely entered’ middle age. Luckily for me, I can still pursue strenuous activities such as backpacking, cycling, swimming and many others, just like I used to. And many people my age are in the same boat.

Put your energy to work

In short, we’ve all got bags of energy (at least after that essential afternoon nap every day). And with all that energy, I think you can do some great things to build up your finances so you can potentially make a million and retire wealthy.

I’ll cut to the chase. I reckon the best way to compound your money is by investing and trading shares on the stock market. In fact, I like it so much, I’m building my own fortune that way. But to make your gains really take off, you’ve got to put some work in. And I’d start by getting interested in investing strategy and reading books about investing.

To me, the process of investing started off as an absorbing hobby and I ended up building my working life around it. But you can make great progress by treating it as a serious, time-consuming hobby that you run alongside some other career or job.

When you start diving into books about investing — often written by investors who have done very well themselves in the markets — you’ll notice that much of the advice conflicts. One guru will say one thing, and the next guru will say the opposite. But, with experience over time, and with the more reading you get under your belt, you’ll start to hone a personal strategy that suits your temperament.

Eclectic parts make a greater and personal whole

If my experience is typical, you’ll end up taking bits of advice from many different investors who’ve written books. As I said, their strategies will likely be totally different from each other’s, but somehow, you’ll make it all work for you. And I reckon the best way to accelerate the process of discovering what exactly it is that works well for you, is to be active in the markets the entire time you’re learning.

And the learning never stops, by the way, not if you are determined to achieve out-performance. Here’s a list of some of the books that helped me the most:

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

One Up on Wall Street and Beating the Street by Peter Lynch

Beyond the Zulu Principle by Jim Slater

Taming the Lion by Richard Farleigh

How to Make a Million, Slowly by John Lee

Free Capital by Guy Thomas

Buffettology by Mary Buffett

That’s not an exhaustive list, by any means, but these books really did help me to invest better. Good luck in your own investing journey and your quest for a million before retirement.

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Kevin Godbold has no position in any share mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.