One of my colleagues has created a beautiful chart (which you can download here) to show you the power of compound interest, and what happens if you start saving just a little at a time when you are in your 20’s, versus starting 10 years later. Everyone should get in the habit of setting aside some of their paychecks and investing them for retirement. It is very important that you start saving and investing early because of the power of COMPOUNDING interest.
As you can see from the image above, the person starting early and then stopping after 10 years has close to $200,000 more than the person who starts later and continues investing all the way until retirement.
If you don't know a damn thing about investing (or even if you do) then this fund is your best option. With these accounts everything is done for you so you don't have to know a damn thing about investing.
We can only envy those kids who began investing their lunch money in the markets when they were 16.

Just to illustrate the value of investing early, see these charts showing how various investors have fared over time. In this example, one investor starts investing early but only contributes $2,000 a year to her investments. Here is another cool chart courtesy of Motley Fool, showing that a simple lump sum investment done earlier can make quite the difference. These are all great justifications for saving and investing in behalf of your kids, who could build a hefty portfolio by the time they are in their thirties. Like you, I didn’t get really smart (or interested) with money until my early twenties.
I would not recomment putting off savings but one should investigate vehicles that do not need to be declared when filling out the financial aid forms. Great article…even better involve your kids in the investing process from an early age.

These are the steps I would take to get on the path to investing (if I were a new investor). If you start an investment program early enough, especially for your kids, you could help them acquire a million dollars by the time they’re 40. Though I learned some basic investing concepts at a fairly early age (at 23) right after I started my first job, I do think that any kind of head start still counts for a lot. The markets are the best place to make money and the earlier you start the more you can make. Once you open an investment account (either with a mutual fund company, a brokerage firm or a bank), begin investing regularly by setting up a systematic or automatic investment program with your financial institution.

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