If You're Under 40, Start Investing

In a time where many people in their 20s and 30s are stretching their wallets just a little too thin, Mandy Sibiga of Ashford is watching her savings closely.

She is working two jobs and has already put aside enough money to give her an extra cushion to support herself.

"Luckily I've established myself where I do have a cash reserve set aside for any emergencies where that's three to six months of income set aside in case anything comes up, or say I do lose my job," Sibiga said.

She keeps herself on a budget by watching what she spends and contributing every month to her retirement plan.

"I'm still putting money in, and I still believe that given my timeframe, because I am still in my 30s, that I still have quite a few years to go until retirement, that the market will eventually turn around," Sibiga said.

But even if you're not like Sibiga, financial advisers say it's not too late to get yourself on track. Those in their 20s and 30s have more time to watch their savings grow, but they have to start now. That means taking a good hard look at your budget and your priorities.

"If you have a sense of what you can save, save it first, then live within the rest, and it's just more important to be saving now and adding than anything else," Camille Gagliardi, a senior financial adviser for Ameriprise, said.

Gagliardi said that an adequate cash reserve should be priority number one.

"Sometimes people say to me, 'Should I pay down debt first, or should I build up cash? My experience is that if you don't have an adequate cash reserve, you will continue to build up debt," Gagliardi said.

Gagliardi says now is also the time for 20-and-30-somethings to invest, both in retirement plans, like your company's 401k plan and in equities.

"Right now, stocks are at a 40 percent discount. If you went into Macy's, and you saw your blouse at 40 percent off, you'd be thrilled," Gagliardi said.

What you can save and invest will help you both now and when it's your turn to retire.

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