If you max out your IRA contributions each year starting at 20 years old, by the time you reach 65 you will have earned over $1.4 million in interest at a return rate of 7%. If you wait till 30, your interest drops to around $620,000. If you wait till 40, it drops down to $230,000. If you wait another 10 years till 50, you will only earn $60,000 in interest.
The cost of waiting is exponential. Of course, there is a cost to not waiting as well. In the above example, the sacrifices a 20 year old would have to make to be able to max out their IRA would be substantial. They would probably have to skip out on some college fun to work to earn some extra money. They would likely have to refrain from purchasing a new car when they got their first job and would have to limit their spending on recreation, eating out, etc. In exchange for their sacrifices, they would be rewarded with $1.4 million dollars.
Health and fitness is the same. The cost of waiting is exponential. Not just in health, physique, and performance but in emotional and mental health and fitness, in habits, and in social health. Inertia can be hard to overcome, even more so when you have decades of experience putting your health and fitness last. Waiting becomes a habit.
Just as you will not likely win the lottery, there will never be a perfect moment when your schedule, budget, and motivation all aline perfectly to cast you off into health and fitness bliss. The smarter play is to start taking action immediately. Start putting deposits into your health and fitness now so that you can reap the rewards now and in the future. No one has ever said “I’m glad I waited till I was 50 to start taking my health and fitness seriously.”
The cost of waiting is tremendous but the reward for beginning is even greater.