You are never too young to learn how to invest your money. You are never too broke to invest in your future either. When we are young, we are told to be carefree, to enjoy life and live in the moment. What we aren’t told is that one day we will get old and want to retire. By the time most people realize that, they have a lot of catching up to do. Below are a few tips so that you can start investing in your future now, even if it seems so far away.
This post has been written by our regular writer, Kimberly Studdard. Enjoy!
Do Your Research
There is so much that goes on in the world of investing. My first tip is to make sure that you do extensive research BEFORE you start investing your money. Read different books from accredited sources, read articles on websites and blogs (like this one!), ask people that you love and trust how they invest, and also talk to a professional if they offer a free consultation. Keep in mind that professionals may make commissions on the money they get from you, so never make a decision that you haven’t thought about thoroughly. Investing when you’re young doesn’t have to mean that you are uninformed.
Learn The Terms
This goes along with doing your research, but it deserves its own point. Sure, you can research what the best ways to invest are, but do you know what ROI, ETFs, Index Funds, and compound interest means? If not, you need to learn the basic terminology of investing. While learning to invest while you’re young, investigating these terms will not only help you sound smart, but if you learn the meaning behind them, they will help you understand the process of investing.
Set A Limit
I am not telling you to throw your entire paycheck into your retirement fund or mutual funds. However, you should think about a good number that you know you could comfortably set aside every month, and make a plan to actually use that money to invest. It could be as little as $25 a month, or as much as $250. Just make sure that no matter what, you are putting this money aside every month to invest.
Once you have an idea of how much you want to invest every month, now is the time to decide how you want to invest it. There is a plethora of websites that give you options on where to invest your money, but a few different options are:
- your retirement plan through your employer (or a similar plan if you are self employed),
- mutual funds,
…and other ways as well. This will require time and research on your part, because you want to make sure you are choosing the best investments for what you want to achieve later in life. If you want to just be comfortable in Belize after retiring, you will have different goals than someone who wants to have a condo with all the amenities in Aspen.
Once you have decided on the type of investments you want to contribute to, start looking at ways to automate your payments. For your 401k, your employer can normally set up an automatic amount that comes out of your check every time you get paid.
You could use an App like Acorns if you choose to invest in stocks and bonds. This app takes the change from your purchases and invests it for you, so you don’t have to worry about taking the time to do it yourself. Of course, you should still keep an eye on how your money is being invested. If you are investing while you are young, this could be a great option because there isn’t much that you would lose (if you even lose money at all!)
Once you have experience in one way of investing, try to diversify your portfolio. If you start off simple, like a 401k, look into stocks. If you dipped your toes into stocks, look into bonds. None of us want to lose our money, but sometimes it happens.
If your portfolio is diverse, you have a lesser chance of losing out if one of your higher risked investments tanks. Also, if you aren’t always playing it completely safe, you could potentially hit it big. Remember that most likely, you will not become a millionaire overnight, but there is nothing wrong with taking a higher calculated risk, if you have the money to do so.
Keep Yourself In Check
If you start to feel overwhelmed at any point in your investing journey, or if you haven’t taken a look at your portfolio in a while, take a step back and evaluate what you are doing. Are you saving the money that you want to save? Are you making decisions that reflect where you want to be in 20, 30, or even 40 years? Could you do more with your portfolio? Asking questions like these can help keep you in check, and make sure that you are on the path to financial freedom in the future.
Investing when you are young can be hard work. It can be overwhelming, tedious, and could possibly even make you wish you were a child again. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Educating yourself, and working towards your goals can allow you to fund your future, and even invest in yourself.
Investing when you’re young – are you on board?