Dear DTA, 

I’m turning 50 in three months. I haven’t been smart with my money. I wish I could go back in time, but I can’t. Is it too late to retire comfortably? What should I do now?

-Jessica P. 

Hi, Jessica.

Thanks for writing in. It’s always a pleasure to hear from our readers.

First, I just want you to know that you’re not alone. Most people make poor choices with money.

One could argue that our education system fails us in this regard. Instead of learning how to dissect a frog, we should probably be taught how aspects of finance like budgets, compounding, and amortization work.

But I digress.

The great news here is, you’ve decided to admit your mistakes, own up to the situation, and commit to a new plan moving forward.

Congratulations for doing so. This could radically change your life.

I don’t know much about you or your situation.

Furthermore, I’m limited in terms of what I can get into today.

So my aim will be to share some quality and actionable resources with you.

I want to point you in the right direction as it pertains to dramatically improving your financial future.

Before I do so, though, I want to quickly tell you a little bit about who I am and why I’m the one responding to you.

I was once in the same exact position as you.

I found myself in a poor financial position in life. And I had nobody to blame but myself for my predicament.

But I decided to own up to my mistakes and formulate a plan of action.

The only difference between us is that I was younger than you when I began this journey.

Nonetheless, the principles are the same.

Regardless of your age, what I’m about to share with you still applies.

When I started my journey toward financial enlightenment and freedom, I was below broke. My net worth was less than $0.

Worse, I found myself unemployed during the depths of the Great Recession.

Not a fantastic place to be. That’s putting it mildly.

But I moved halfway across the US, got a new job, completely downshifted my lifestyle, saved a high percentage of my income, and invested my savings into high-quality dividend growth stocks.

And it worked.

My Early Retirement Blueprint lays out exactly how I went from below broke to financially independent in just six years.

In fact, I was able to quit my job and retire in my early 30s!

Now, it’s not possible for you to retire in your 30s because you’re already almost 50.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t comfortably retire at a reasonable age.

It’s even possible for you to retire a little bit earlier than some of your co-workers – if you start working hard, living well below your means, and properly investing for the long term.

You need to start doing all of that today.

Moreover, the economy is doing much better today than it was back in 2009, when I started to get in gear.

Take advantage of that, whether it means asking for a raise, picking up a side hustle of some type, or even looking for a new job that pays more.

If you can increase your income, that’s more capital you can save and invest.

On the other side of the budget, you have to control your spending.

The first thing to do is start tracking every single penny of spending. It’s not possible to know how to cut spending without knowing what or where you’re spending.

Then it’s time to live below your means, Jessica.

Don’t be afraid to get radical here.

Maybe you should look into moving into a smaller house or apartment.

Investigate whether or not it’s possible to get by with one less car. Or no car at all.

Spending on food should also be questioned. Restaurant visits, for example, could be completely eliminated.

Once you’re saving money, it’s time to intelligently invest your capital for the long haul.

On this point, I’m a bit biased.

I say that because the strategy of dividend growth investing has treated me exceedingly well.

This strategy advocates buying shares in world-class enterprises that pay regularly and reliably growing cash dividend payments to shareholders.

Buy these shares when they’re undervalued. Then hold for the long haul.

I know it sounds simple. That’s because it is.

But simple isn’t bad.

There’s nothing worthwhile about needlessly complicating something, especially as it pertains to investing.

Fellow contributor Dave Van Knapp put together a fantastic series of “lessons” on this investment strategy.

It’s basically the A-Z of DGI. The series goes over what this strategy is, why it’s so wonderful, and how to successfully execute it.

Check out his Dividend Growth Investing Lessons for more.

Jason Fieber's Dividend Growth PortfolioAs for me, I can’t say enough good things about dividend growth investing.

I built my FIRE Fund, which is my real-money early retirement stock portfolio, by following this strategy.

That Fund, by the way, generates five-figure passive dividend income.

It’s enough to cover my essential expenses in life.

Better yet, it’s growing organically because of the nature of the businesses I’ve invested in.

In fact, the dividend growth I’m realizing far exceeds inflation. That means my purchasing power is regularly increasing.

When you’re ready to invest, you won’t be short on ideas.

More than 800 US-listed stocks can be found on the Dividend Champions, Contenders, and Challengers list.

Undervalued Dividend Growth Stock of the Week by Jason FieberThis is the best resource around for finding high-quality dividend growth stocks. Every stock on that list has raised dividends each year for at least the last five consecutive years.

Drilling things down even further, I personally take the time every Sunday to highlight a compelling long-term dividend growth stock investment idea.

These ideas are shared via the Undervalued Dividend Growth Stock of the Week series.

I basically filter stocks from the CCC list to find those that are particularly appealing at the time of publication.

I factor in fundamentals, competitive advantages, risks, and valuation. And I also include opinions from professional equity analysts.

Then I share my findings with the investment community, free of charge.

These are some fantastic resources, Jessica.

But it’s ultimately up to you to read through them, put a plan together that works for you, and then take action.

No matter what you decide to do, I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice.

Start today. 

I wish you luck and success.

Jason Fieber

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Disclaimer: Jason Fieber is not a licensed financial advisor, tax professional, or stock broker. Please consult with a licensed investment professional before investing any of your money. If your money is not FDIC insured, it may decline in value. To protect the privacy of our readers, any names published in this article are under aliases. In addition, text may be edited, omitted or paraphrased for grammar or length.