I'm 60 years old, no net worth, no investments, living paycheck-to-paycheck.

What and how do I get started? I'm investing illiterate.

  • Hello and welcome to Money.SE! Unfortunately this question is too broad and primarily opinion based. If you can narrow it down to a specific question, we can help.
    – Michael
    May 4, 2017 at 15:05
  • This might be useful: money.stackexchange.com/questions/79065/…
    – Michael
    May 4, 2017 at 16:37
  • 3
    If you are living paycheck-to-paycheck it is really a bad idea for you to start investing. Investments should come out of your savings that you can spare. A good move here would be for you to consult a trusted financial adviser instead.
    – MH.Q
    May 5, 2017 at 17:35

3 Answers 3


You can't get started investing.

There are preliminary steps that must be taken prior to beginning to invest:

  1. Get on a budget. A budget is a plan to spend your money and is a skill that needs to be learned. When you first start out you will stink, but you will get better as time goes on. There are many sub tasks in budgeting and I will give resources later.
  2. Create wiggle room. This is done by decreasing the amount spent and increasing the amount earned. You need disposable income first, living paycheck-to-paycheck will not allow you to invest.
  3. Get out of consumer debt. No investment out there can compare to the interest charged on car payments or credit cards when risk is taken to account. This is a great first investment. Stop borrowing, and get out of debt. This will in turn create more wiggle room.
  4. Save an emergency fund. Emergencies happen, and borrowing to pay for them turns them into a disaster. If something happens when your investments are down, and you have no emergency fund you will be forced to liquidate your investments, losing in turn more money. Look for 6 months of expenses at this time in your life.

Only once these things are complete can you think about investing. Doing so before hand will only likely lose money in the long run. Figure these steps will take about 2.5 years. So you are 2.5 years from investing.

Read now: The Total Money Makeover. It is full of inspiring stories of people that were able to turn things around financially. This is good because it is easy to get discouraged and believe all kind of toxic beliefs about money: The little guy can't get ahead, I always will have a car payment, Its too late, etc... They are all false. Part of the book's resources are budgeting forms and hints on budgeting.

Read later: John Bogle on Investing and Bogle on Mutual Funds

One additional Item: About you calling yourself a "dummy". Building personal wealth is less about knowledge and more about behavior. The reason you don't have a positive net worth is because of how you behaved, not knowledge. Even sticking a small amount in a savings account each paycheck and not spending it would have allowed you to have a positive net worth at this point in your life.

Only by changing behavior can you start to build wealth, investing is only a small component.


Books are a great place to start, Jason Kelly's The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing will give you a broad foundation of the stock & bond market.


Have a look at my answer to a similar question (asked by a 22 yo) ...


  • Budget / Save
  • Educate yourself
  • Invest (not just the stock market)

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