5 Steps to Start Investing

Investing.  The word itself seems scary.  What happens if you make the wrong decisions and lose all your money?  Or your wrong decision means you make a lot less money than you would have if you had decided differently.  What if you hire someone and they don’t invest your money in best way?  Most people get so scared about the consequences; they don’t even venture into the world of investing and just hope for the best with a basic savings account.

But, investing can offer great financial rewards when done well.  It can mean a better lifestyle for you and your family in the near future.  Or it can be the difference between retiring comfortably or relying on social security and living on a fixed income.

Yes, investing definitely has enough benefits to make you want to take a chance.  But don’t go into it blindly; use these tips to help get started in the right direction:

First, start saving.

You’ll need money to invest and you don’t want to use the money you budgeted for your mortgage to do it.  You’ll need some savings, money that you don’t need in the immediate future to live on.  Start a savings account and start building your funds there; you’ll be able to get started with just a few hundred dollars.

Second, do your homework.

Please change to this: Learn about the traditional or alternative investment options available to you so you can find the right fit. There are a wealth of resources for finding the information you need from books to blogs to podcasts, just do some research.

Third, decide how you will invest.

Will you do it on your own or hire a professional?  When it comes to investing, those are the only two options available for getting into the stock market.  There are some great online brokerages, like E*Trade, where you can invest for yourself and find tips for success.  Or interview a few professionals to find someone you feel is knowledgeable and trustworthy to handle your investments for you.

 Fourth, determine your risk factors.

When investing your money you’ll need to determine how much risk you’re willing to take.  If you’ll need to access your funds within the next few years, you’ll probably want investments that are low risk so you don’t lose anything.  If you have plenty of time before you’re planning to retire, you can choose riskier funds that may fluctuate over time but still help you end up on top when you need your money back.

Lastly, check on your investments.

Your investment funds will change over time, some stocks going up, others down.  You’ll want to check in on them so you can make informed decisions based on what’s happening in the market.  You may want to sell something off or buy a new stock while the price is low.  You don’t need to make a habit of checking your accounts hourly, but once every week to 10 days will keep you well informed.

If you’ve done your homework and you’re reading up on investing tips regularly so that you can make informed decisions, you should see your investment accounts start to grow pretty quickly.  Just like learning anything new, there’s a learning curve to understanding your investment options, but the sooner you get started, the more money you’ll have in the long run.

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