'It's never too late.' How Karen built a multiple six-figure investment portfolio in her 60s.

Karen was in her mid-60s, yet didn’t think she or her husband would ever be able to retire

This wasn't for want of trying. Karen had always diligently tracked the household expenses on a spreadsheet. 

It didn’t seem to matter much though, because between the mortgage and the children’s school fees, there was never much money to spare for extra savings or investments

“For many years we were just getting by. There was a period where we were struggling with all the expenses. That’s when I started becoming more methodical about tracking expenses. But other than the house and super, we never had enough leftover to build wealth for our future,” Karen told Mamamia

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Video via Mamamia.

However, once the house was paid off, and the children had finished school, there was a little more room to breathe financially and Karen wanted to put the spare money to good use. 

“I wanted to learn what I could be doing better. I didn’t want to sit back and do nothing. If I could do something to improve our future, then I felt like I should. I was particularly interested in learning more about investing, which was an area I didn’t feel confident with,” Karen shares. 


This led Karen to enrolling in Mastering Money, an online financial education program run by SkilledSmart helping adults learn to save, invest, and manage their money.

The program gave Karen the clarity and confidence she needed to grow her investments

Just three years on, Karen has a multiple-six figure investment portfolio, which is a four-fold increase from what she had prior to doing the course. 

Karen shares three money lessons she’s learned on her journey: 

1. Be open-minded and willing to expand your comfort zone.

“Prior to the course, I had bought a few shares on and off over the years when there was a little spare cash. But there was still a lot I didn’t understand about investing,” Karen shares. 

“I went into the course as an open book. I learned about things that I’d previously heard about but wasn’t very comfortable with, like ETFs and asset allocation. So it opened me up to new investment opportunities which I was then able to go and pursue with a lot more confidence. But I had to be willing to be open-minded and take on new ideas, and explore new opportunities.” 

Karen considers this a key trait to her growth, learning and ultimately, achieving success. 

“It doesn’t matter what your age is, there’s always something you can learn. You have to remain open to that because the world is changing so much,” Karen says. 


2. Persistence and patience are key to the learning journey.

Karen is keen to encourage others to invest in the learning journey. Although it can be daunting, she stresses the importance of taking it one step at a time, and not giving up. 

“You’re not going to get results overnight. It’s about committing to the learning process. It will take some time, but if you keep educating yourself, then slowly you will build confidence, you will start taking new action and over time you’ll start seeing the results,” Karen shares. 

Importantly, Karen reflects on how investing in learning has helped her reduce risk. 

“I realised that over time, as you learn, your risk reduces. You start with high risk because you don’t know what you’re doing. But as you gain skills and confidence, the risk drops. So, as I learned about investing and how to manage risk, I was able to make smarter decisions.”

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3. It’s never too late to learn something new.

Knowing what she knows now, Karen reflects on how different her life might have been if she’d learned a few of these skills earlier in life. 

“I’ve been waiting for a course like this for 30 years. If I’d known then what I now know about investing, I could have made decisions that would’ve put me in a better position. So, it’s valuable to start learning these things early, even if you just pick up one or two things,” Karen reflects.


“But it’s never too late. The things I’m doing today will benefit me and my family in years to come. Even if you’re comfortable, you shouldn’t become complacent because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I’m a big believer that there’s always something you can learn.”

Now, Karen feels more confident about her financial future than she did just a few years ago. 

“Before, I never thought I’d be able to retire. I thought my husband and I would have to work forever. Now, I’m seeing income coming in from the investments which feels very positive. I feel more confident about how we’re doing and with my investment decisions. So, I feel more positive and reassured about the future,” Karen shared.

Karen now hopes her story will inspire others to take positive steps towards a healthier and more secure financial future. 

“You can do it. Take the time to learn and practise the skills. Even ten dollars invested or saved, is ten dollars further ahead than you were before. So, if you keep taking one step at a time, you’ll start to see progress.”

Paridhi Jain is the founder of SkilledSmart, a financial education platform helping adults learn to save, manage and invest their money. For more money tips, you can grab a free e-book on "5 Money Mistakes Costing You Thousands" via their website, and learn more about their course, Mastering Money.

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