Save for Retirement, Avoid These Mistakes

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One of the first times I started to panic about money was when I found out I was pregnant in 2017. I had zero dollars in an emergency fund, no retirement savings, and I wasn’t earning enough to support a baby as an underpaid freelance writer.

Elizabeth Ayoola and son.

In several articles I read about “easy ways to make money,” investing was an option. However, I always skipped past that suggestion because I wasn’t a whiz at math. It also felt like an income stream reserved for more insightful people with excess cash.

Once I finally accepted that there was no get-rich-quick scheme for me, I circled back to investing. It seemed to be one of the few ways to save for my son’s future and build wealth over time. I made many mistakes when I started, because who has time to learn how to pick an exchange-traded fund when you have a tornado for a toddler, a full-time job, and can barely stay awake long enough at night to engage in a hobby?

A few random ETFs and lots of self-educating later, here is what I think every parent should know about investing for retirement.

Invest for yourself first

Some parents often think they have to be altruistic, putting their needs after those of their kids. As one of those parents, saving for retirement was at the bottom of my priority list. Plus, I believed I needed to earn tons of money to get started. I later learned this wasn’t the best approach.

Anjali Jariwala, a certified financial planner from Fit Advisors based in Los Angeles, says establishing a habit of putting money away for retirement is crucial.

“Sometimes, there might be this notion that you’re being selfish because you’re prioritizing your needs over your child’s needs. And that’s not the case,” she says.

Within the first year of having my son,…

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