Investing is one of the best ways to grow your money over time, but it may feel daunting at first. For newcomers especially.
No matter if it’s retirement savings, new home purchases, or tuition for your children’s college education – investing can help you meet those financial goals more quickly. Here’s how to get started investing.
What is investing?
How2invest is the practice of placing money to work to generate higher returns than savings alone. While savings involve no risk, investing can create greater growth through compounding interest and the risk-return tradeoff.
Step one in managing risk is assessing your personal risk tolerance, which involves deciding how much of your investment can be lost without significantly altering its return over time. Your time horizon, or duration of holding investments, will determine this threshold amount and thus how it impacts long-term returns.
Investing is different than gambling in that the latter relies on pure chance, typically producing negative expected returns. Before beginning an investment portfolio, individuals should ensure they are financially capable and have built up sufficient emergency savings accounts as well as paying down short-term debt such as credit cards and payday loans.
How do I start investing?
Investing can help you accumulate wealth over time and take the next steps on your financial journey – whether that means buying a home, returning to school or retiring comfortably. But before diving in head first it’s essential that you assess your current financial position and establish how much risk is acceptable before investing.
Setting financial goals that align with your vision for the future is the first step of investing. This book provides a framework for making these decisions and provides advice on prioritizing and adapting goals as life changes occur.
This comprehensive guide covers everything from how the stock market works to IRAs, 401(k)s and retirement planning. Drawing from her decades of experience, the author provides both investment basics and practical advice that you can apply. In addition, discover how taxes affect investments as well as diversification methods that may help minimize risk.
How much should I invest?
No single answer exists when it comes to investing. Your decisions depend on your unique financial landscape and investment goals; but understanding your budget and starting point will allow you to determine what percentage of income can go towards investments.
Start by creating a monthly budget that details both essential spending (rent, utilities, debt payments and groceries) and discretionary spending (like entertainment and shopping trips) separately. This will give you an idea of the percentage of income that is safe to set aside as investments without jeopardizing day-to-day finances.
From there, use the 50/30/20 rule to create an economically sound investing and spending plan. Save 50% of your income for necessities; spend 30% on wants; and invest 20% in asset classes such as stocks. Please keep in mind this article provides general guidelines about investing; your circumstances may differ significantly; for more specific assistance regarding your specific goals contact a SmartVestor Pro today.
How do I choose a broker?
Investing is an exhilarating journey that can help you build wealth over time and secure the future you envision for yourself, but getting started can be daunting. There will likely be unfamiliar words and concepts to navigate as well as competing advice to consider.
Selecting an online broker that meets your investing needs and preferences is key. Take time to consider all features that matter most and prioritize those.
As an example, you might prefer a broker offering multiple accounts such as education savings (ESA) and custodial accounts for dependents, or perhaps one offering both Roth and traditional retirement accounts or allowing you to transfer an existing 401k or IRA.
Fees and commissions: Investigate whether your broker charges account minimums, trading commissions or maintenance fees – in case you require support during business hours it is essential that they can easily connect you with someone.