While it’s noble to have a goal to be a millionaire by the time you retire, it isn’t going to help you much right now if you can’t put food on the table. For now, it’s fine to think of your short-term goals first (rent, groceries, expected health expenses), then you can look towards the future.

Take a look at what’s coming in and out of your bank account daily, weekly, and monthly. Are you still earning enough to meet your basic needs and then some? Do you need to cut back on expenses here and there?

If you have plenty coming in and you’re a generally frugal person, it might be all right to take some of that money to invest. Generally speaking, there is no bad time to invest in the stock market, and the sooner you do it, the better. The longer your money sits and appreciates in there, the more you’ll have stockpiled for retirement.

While we love all the benefits of investing, the facts remain: it is crucial to make sure you’re not investing more than you can afford. And if you don’t have a solid stash of emergency savings, it may not be the right time to invest at all.

For more about how to best decide your investing capacity (and info on meeting minimums, diversifying your portfolio, and avoiding feeds), read up here.

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