Best Ways To Make Money For Retirement (While In Your 20’s)

July 8, 2018 Jordan Meola 8 Comments

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read My Disclosure for more info.



You’re looking for the best ways to make money for retirement? That’s a relief.


You want to know what the BIGGEST financial regret is for people living in the United States? It might not be what you expect.


Picking up student loan debt? Nope. Credit card debt? Nope. Overspending? Nope. Owning too much of a house or a property…. no. Bad as all of these things are.


The #1 financial regret is not planning soon enough for retirement. Not being ready for retirement isn’t just a matter of not making enough money. There are plenty of people making high 6 or even 7 figure incomes that have no CLUE what they’re doing about retirement! And they aren’t ready. Many people aren’t bothering to strategize or even think about retirement!


That’s daunting. One of the things I’ve done in my career is to advise people (mostly in their early to mid 60’s), about how to make a game plan for retirement. When I first started out, I was totally shocked by how many people in their early to mid 60’s were just now starting to think about what they were going to do about their retirement money… many of them hoping to retire within 2 years!


It was sad how much of a scramble these people were in. And as a 23 year old, I realized that retirement is relevant NOW – it’s 100% right now – something that I should be planning for in my 20’s. Not something I wait until it’s too late to take action on.


Before I break down some solutions though, let’s just get straight what retirement means.


What Does “Retirement” REALLY Mean?


best ways to make money for retirement


Tell me if you’ve ever heard this before. “They’re retirement age”. “Getting ready to finally retire”. “Meh, she’ll probably NEVER retire”.


The idea people have of retirement is this: spend the vast majority of your life giving most of your daylight hours to a 9-5 grind (or whatever your hours are), try to save something, try to get some better job to pay you a little more for eating your daylight hours, and eventually hit “full retirement age” at around 65 to live off of social security, maybe a pension, and the money you’ve hopefully set aside.


And then life is just leisure and doing nothing.


I don’t think of retirement as stopping working or creating things. I wouldn’t want to stop, and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that immediately stopping work and retiring is not a healthy life change. Retirement to me means not working a job anymore. It’s living life on your own terms, working as much or as little as you choose, when you choose to do it.

Retirement also doesn’t mean no longer making money. Not how I’m defining it. It doesn’t mean settling down to live on a set social security check every month. It means being completely free financially. Liquid. Beyond concern.


There are some understandable reasons people want to stay working a job until they hit full retirement age. They get the full amount of their social security. The full amount of their pension (if there is one). Access to a 401K, and immediate transition to Medicare if they’re 65. It’s safe.

You need to decide what you want. But whether you’re going to be a business owner/investor and make your own path, or work a job, you need to make a plan.


The worst thing you can do is to do nothing.


The Best Ways To Make Money For Retirement


#1: Living Within Your Means, and Cutting Your Costs




No, I DON’T mean living like a miser! But know what your limits are financially.

Just because you have enough money in the bank for something, doesn’t mean that you can afford to buy it. Maintain a lifestyle that’s proportional to your income. This will help you avoid living paycheck to paycheck. There are people making $500,000 every year that are living as paycheck to paycheck as someone making minimum wage, because they spend money as fast as they make it.


If you’re truly living within your means, you should be able to set aside a percentage of your income for savings. Even if your income is small, and you can only spare a tiny amount, your money is at least going up.


A lot of this is just a matter of cutting costs! The old saying goes – a penny saved is a penny earned. I save an extra $2,000 every year just by using a few free phone apps and 1 rewards program.


Check out this post ==> 9 Free Phone Apps That Actually Pay Money <== to read the list of apps I use!


I did a little research, and found a bunch of totally free apps like Ibotta, and websites like Ebates, to get money back on almost everything I ever need to buy, from groceries to Christmas gifts. The extra $2,000 back in my pocket is just what added up.



#2. Avoid Debt Like The Bubonic Plague


This one might seem a little too obvious, but there are a ridiculous number of people that don’t make this a habit. It connects to the idea of living within your means.


Never spend more on a credit card than you can afford to fully pay when your next credit card bill is due. Just don’t do it.

Some debt may be unavoidable. If you’re going into an occupation that requires a degree, you might need to take out some students loans. I had to. A lot of people do.


If you have some kind of debt, like student loans, then prioritize it. It’s like having a library book that you forgot to return. You know the fine is going to be brutal, but it’s better to bite the bullet and settle it, then to let it sit and keep growing into a monster.


If you need to have a monster in your life, you might be better with… I don’t know… a dessert monster? The debt monster isn’t too fun.





#3: The Power of Residual Income


If you don’t know yet that Young Retiree is all about residual income, you’ve been missing this party for a while. I talk about the power of residual income, and diverse income flows constantly, because they’re so important.


This is the key to truly building wealth, and gaining financial freedom.


There’s not just 1 path to residual income. But residual income is the 1 path to an abundant and free retirement. And you need to start now. Whether you’re 20, or 65, it doesn’t matter.


I have 4 different flows of income, and STILL don’t work a full 40 hour week.


The idea of residual income is that it continues to pay you, whether you’re actively working on it or not. There’s always an upfront investment of hard work, time, and sometimes money, but on the back end it’s a stream of paychecks that just keeps coming and coming. Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and The Business of the 21st Century, compared it perfectly to having a job. This is essentially how he put it. Having a job is kind of like those sinks or water fountains that stop running water as soon as you take your finger off the lever. When you’re holding that lever down, the water is rushing into the sink. But as soon as you take your finger off the lever, all operations cease. Residual income is the opposite. You may have to push the lever down hard, but after that it continues to run continuously, whether you’re manually working it or not.


Even more importantly, residual income can be compounded on itself.


Creating passive, residual income is all about being a business owner and investor. It’s not about luck, or a ton of natural skill and genius. It’s about finding mentors, being teachable, soaking up knowledge, and constantly making connections with others. Get this right, and you can have a flow of cash coming in long, long after you retire.


So what are the paths you can take to build residual income?



– Make A Business, and Sell Stuff


best ways to make money for retirement


Sounds like I’m oversimplifying things, right? Well, maybe a little. But with the internet at our disposal now, having a thriving physical products business (even of the multi-million dollar variety), isn’t as hard as it sounds.


You’ll need to learn how to start dropshipping, not because it’s the only way to do it, but because it’s the cheapest and most risk free way to start. I’ve done it, and I can teach you how to do it too. Dropshipping removes any of the risk of paying for inventory, because you only pay for the products you sell when and only when a sale has been made.


There are many ways you can sell things online. You can start off by selling wholesale products through online marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay. While this comes with some costs and a high level of competition, the droves of free traffic you can get through these marketplaces (which have millions of buyers), can be insanely lucrative.


My most recommended way of building a business online is through a Shopify store. This is what my wife and I did, and we did over $500 in sales within our first 9 hours of business. With the right strategies you can bring in over $1,000 a day within just a few months.


Learn how to launch an online store right here ==> How To Start A Dropshipping Business


Because of the combo of Shopify and social media, starting up an indie brand of your own, and turning it into a high paying cash flow, is easier than it has ever been. It’s not a matter of luck. It’s the product of learning how to do it, and then consistently acting on the things you’ve learned.


Once a business like this is up and running (i.e. after a LOT of set up work), it has the potential to bring in a stream of income that would sustain a life-long, semi retirement, with very little continuing work. It could even become a sell-able asset. Many owners of Amazon and Shopify brands have sold their business for 8 or 9 figures.


If you’re looking for ways to diversify your income, look into Shopify as one of your first choices. The reward potential is high for anyone willing to put in the effort, and the necessary dose of persistence.


– Real Estate

Done right, buying up properties or houses is one of the best financial investments you can ever make, for your retirement and beyond.


In fact, there is still no business venture in existance that makes more millionaires in North America and most other regions, than real estate.


Obviously, a house is a big expense. And on the front end, especially without proper care and diligence, they can be more of a money pit than a lucrative investment. I have many friends who flip houses. I have a few who have lost money. A few who have handily supplemented their income. Others who make almost $10 million a year.


Here’s the thing; what happens to money you spend when you’re only renting? It may be (slightly) lower than the monthly cost of a mortgage, you may get a break on a few of the utilities or have the convenience (if you’re lucky) of having a land lord take responsibility for snow shoveling or repairs… but the money you put into rent has absolutely 0 chance of ever coming back into your pocket. The money you spend on a house has an EXTREMELY good chance of not only coming completely back to you when you sell it, but could even make you a profit!


I have several friends that bought their houses for between $40,000 and $50,0000, and sold them for $150,000 or more. Like the stock market, the housing market is not as arbitrary or impossible to calculate as many people will suggest. Buying houses that are out of repair, or foreclosures, can come far cheaper than their normal market value would be. As long as they don’t have major interior issues or piping and/or electrical problems, a new paint job and some more tender love and care can exponentially increase the property’s value.


This doesn’t mean you should just immediately go buy a few houses. Remember as we said earlier, before you can start even thinking about investing, you need to be living within your means. Unless you’re just contract flipping, investing in houses takes a reasonable amount of cash that you’re already making regularly. Don’t go in blind, or overspend. This is simply a way of growing your money.


Once you’ve invested in a few properties, and given them more sell-able traits by fixing them or renovating them, there are SEVERAL ways you can create lifelong cash flows out of them.


Selling a house can be challenging. And while it may give you an enormous chunk of cash all at once, making your money back and likely a large profit in addition, the capital gains taxes you would be stabbed for make it hardly worth it.


Instead, I would recommend renting out your property to tenants, or even to run it as an AirBnB. A rental property, especially when bought cheap, can make your money back in a matter of years, and beyond that creates a flow of income that can last for your entire life.


AirBnB may be a more temporary solution, but you can run the property as a hotel quite easily. And if your region is a popular destination, the regular payouts can be large. The more you grow, you may invest in more properties, and even more importantly invest in someone to manage the property for you (hence, retirement for you)!




When you first start to make a comfortable income it can be very tempting to blow some of that money on something like a nice car. This is a very common mistake, and one that I see perpetually among my fellow 20-something-year-olds.


A car is a bad investment. Don’t get me wrong, the vast majority of us need a car to get around. It has utility. But if your income starts to increase, your first big purchases should be in real estate, not in upgrading to a high end Jaguar or Maserati. Drive a functional vehicle, and be content with it. A nicer car will be in your future if you keep practicing smart money habits, but foregoing the instant gratification of a fancy car that is depreciating in value by the minute, for a long-term asset like a house, is the wiser choice.


– Making Money From Blogging


Do you have some knowledge worth sharing? Believe it or not, if you have what it takes to teach other people about something you’re interested in, you can probably make a lot of money through a blog.


Starting up a blog and promoting yourself may not be something you’ve ever considered. But the profit potential there is actually outstanding. And most importantly, it allows you to continue making residuals long after you’ve left the working world behind.


A company called Wealthy Affiliate helped me start up a blog, and taught me how to make it profitable. And considering the costs of most business start ups, it’s dirt cheap too. When you have a blog you can do something called affiliate marketing. Essentially, it’s the process of taking products that you’ve used, and would recommend to your readers, and posting links or banners on your site that lead to your recommended product. If your readers click through your link and buy the product, you get paid a commission.


Sounds like it would have to take a lot to make any substantial income off of, right? Well I can tell you from my experience that it takes PLENTY of work to get off the ground. But with 3.75 BILLION people currently using the internet, and the number increasing constantly, there’s a pretty massive number of potential “clickers” that could be making you money whether you’re at your computer, sleeping, or eating watermelon on a picnic 100 miles from the nearest WiFi.


Wealthy Affiliate, or similar programs, can teach you how to get your blog landing posts on the first page of Google. Once you’re there, many of those 3.75 billion people will be reading through your content, and (as long as you’re being authentic and helpful) will be clicking on your links.


You have to be ok with doing some writing, but once you’ve truly established yourself in a business like this, it’s amazing how passively the money is made.


If you’re trying to find more details on how it works, I’ll explain it here – How To Make Money From Blogging


To a degree, you can even do a lot of successful affiliate marketing through social media platforms, like Pinterest. The possibilities on the internet are truly endless.


So What Will You Do?


best ways to make money for retirement


The best advice I can give you in the beginning is just this: Do Something.


Find mentors. Seek out knowledge. Surround yourself with like-minded friends. Network. Persist. Be careful, but don’t let your skepticism keep you from actual opportunities. Diversify your income. Pursue residuals. Invest wisely. Become a business owner. Take more control over your own time.


… but first, step #1. Just start.


Not a whole lot changes or improves waiting for luck. Start by moving.



8 People reacted on this

  1. I found this post at the right time. It’s crazy that it doesn’t matter if you make $10 an hour or $10,000 an hour… if you don’t know how to manage your money, you will never have money for retirement.

    Especially if you’re living paycheck to paycheck.

    I agree with you that retirement shouldn’t mean work until you’re 65 and then live off your pension.

    That’s why I’m working on building a passive income now, so that I can retire sooner. But it doesn’t matter how much I make if I’m spending my money faster than I make it. It’s time to cut back on some pointless expenses.

    Thanks for sharing this… I really needed it!

    1. Thanks so much for commenting Diana, and I’m glad you found it helpful!

      You totally get it :). I saw a quote from Robert Downey Jr. online the other day that said something to the affect of – being broke is part of the journey, staying broke is a choice. It struck me as insensitive at first, but it’s absolutely true.

      When my wife graduated college she immediately started working for Americorp. She didn’t even receive minimum wage pay! She had nothing to live on but a “living stipend” of $13,000 for the whole year. She was working full time hours + overtime, making below poverty level income… and she still came out of that year with $2,000 in savings. It’s a choice. It’s a series of conscious good decisions.

      I’m stoked for the opportunities that you’re pursuing! Passive income often grows slowly at first, but it can be an avalanche (in a good way) if you stay consistent!

      Wishing you the best. 

  2. Hi Jordan,
    Thank you for sharing this post. I found it quite informative and educational. Whilst I am no longer in my twenties (or even thirties!) I still found your advice useful – especially about unnecessary spending. It’s never to late to start though! I have recently created an online store but only after that did I find out about drop shipping so have started doing this now too.
    It is definitely the way to go.
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Melanie! Great points!

      Even though my post was encouraging young people to start taking action at a young age, making or saving money for retirement is important to be doing at every age! And the fact that you started up a business is inspiring. I wish you great success in it!


  3. I feel like expecting retirement to happen in 2 years when your 63 is the same as losing 20 pounds in one day. It doesn’t happen that quick and you need to actively plan for it and execute it.

    In terms of a planning for retirement, how would you go about filling your time productively once you reach that point? I can’t imagine just sitting around all day.

    1. That’s a great comparison! In most cases, saving for retirement at the last minute doesn’t really work out for people, and they end up living paycheck to paycheck, always 1 unexpected expense away from going into debt. It’s not a good or healthy way to live.

      Staying productive in retirement… think about all the things in your life that matter to you besides work. For me, my faith, the people in my life, and the people in the world that I don’t know yet but want to… that’s what I want to invest the majority of my time in. I want to see more of the world. To visit places I haven’t yet – Iceland, Thailand, Ireland, and so on and so on. Retiring can be two completely different things depending on whether you’re ready or not. People who retire just because they felt like it was time, without taking the proper steps to prepare, will often not have enough freedom or flexibility to do whatever they want. 

      If our biggest investments in life are with people, instead of an occupation, then there will always be enough to do in retirement. If our biggest investment in life was with our occupation, retirement can be very empty. 

  4. Awesome read! I couldn’t agree more. Everything here is spot on! really like the site, I saw a few other posts on here that caught my eye, Ill have to read soon. Keep it up!

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