How 4 Ordinary People Invested To Reach Financial Goals

Patience helped these four investors make their portfolios work for them.

A single golden egg in a nest made from dollar bills isolated on white background.The single egg represents a single investment for the future, usually retirement or a college fund.
(Image credit: KaraGrubis)

It can feel discouraging to keep sacrificing as you wait for the miracle of compounding to work its magic and accumulate enough to buy a house, pay for college or fund your retirement nest egg. But ordinary people who have attained such goals — and more — are everywhere. Call them the successful investors next door. They succeed in a variety of ways, but all employ some key strategies for staying motivated and investing wisely. 

If you’re saving for a specific goal (in other words, something more concrete than just a bigger portfolio), you’ve already taken a crucial step toward success, says Daniel Crosby, author of several books on behavioral finance, including the forth- coming The Soul of Wealth. Research shows that “investors who tie their financial lives to a why — to a purpose other than just investment performance — save more and are dramatically less likely to sell in bear markets,” he says. “They report greater life satisfaction. They have more fun.” 

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Kim Clark
Senior Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Kim Clark is a veteran financial journalist who has worked at Fortune, U.S News & World Report and Money magazines. She was part of a team that won a Gerald Loeb award for coverage of elder finances, and she won the Education Writers Association's top magazine investigative prize for exposing insurance agents who used false claims about college financial aid to sell policies. As a Kiplinger Fellow at Ohio State University, she studied delivery of digital news and information. Most recently, she worked as a deputy director of the Education Writers Association, leading the training of higher education journalists around the country. She is also a prize-winning gardener, and in her spare time, picks up litter.