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I also started late because I had to put three kids through college. You need to develop a plan that will maximize your return. Contribute to get employer matches to your 401K. Eliminate debt, if possible. Pay all credit card balances in full (they generally charge 21% interest). I found that pre-paying my mortgage saved me thousands of dollars in interest payments and made it possible to apply my monthly payments toward investments. Consider, however, that some investments (if successful) may bring you more growth than pre-paying a mortgage. Pre-paying $100 Dollars per month on a $100,000, 30-year mortgage at 7.5% will save you over $56,000 in interest payments and reduce your payment period to just over 20 years. An investment would have to pay over 10% to improve over this (depending on your tax bracket). You can download a free mortgage amortization program from

If your 401K fund does not give you good investment choices, you may want to rollover your funds into an IRA with a stockbroker (e.g. Schwab, etc) where you will be able to select stocks that are agressive enough to meet your needs and risk tolerance.
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