Money And Investing Advice For Beginners

Learning the ins and outs of money and investing can be daunting, but you just need to take a few basic steps to get started.

Make Financial Goals

How and where you invest your cash is entirely dependent on your financial goals. You must determine whether you plan to invest for just a few years or a few decades, and whether you want to save up just enough money for retirement, or if you also need to save up for your children’s tuition, and if you plan to provide them with an inheritance after your death. There are different funds and investments that are best suited to each of these efforts.

Invest On Your Own or Get Help

After examining your financial needs and goals, determine whether you feel you can navigate the investment waters on your own, or whether you would prefer to hire a financial advisor or a full-service stock brokerage firm to manage your funds. You will obviously pay more money to have someone assist you in your investments, but if you do not feel confident about your ability to learn and maneuver in the world of money matters the commissions and fees may be well worth the cost. If you do want to manage your capital yourself, there are plenty of simple investments and discount brokerage firms that will allow you full control. Just be prepared to invest plenty of time as well as money in order to learn the tricks of the trade.

Explore Investment Options

Even if you decide to have someone else handle your money, it is still a good idea to know what kind of investment choices are out there and which ones are housing your funds. Some of the most basic options include:

  • Traditional Savings Vehicles
These consist of savings accounts, money market accounts, and Certificates of Deposit (CDs.) While these are the safest of investments (your principal is never at risk), they do not generally offer high rates of return. If you only have a little time to invest before you need to use the capital, these are the right choice, but higher yielding options are best for long-term investment.
  • Stocks and Bonds
Stocks are shares sold by individual companies while bonds are basically loans made by investors to governments and corporations. Bonds are much safer, but stocks often have very high returns over the long-run. Mutual funds are a good way to spread out your risk as they allow you to buy into pools of stocks and bonds. Also if your employer offers a matching 401k plan, be sure to take advantage of the free money. These plans invest in stocks and bonds and other assets and can save you a lot on taxes as you start to save.
  • Real Estate
Another avenue for investing is real estate. Property values tend to appreciate slowly but consistently over time, so real estate is generally best as a mid- to long-term investment.

Whether you know a little or a lot about investing, the key is to make a plan and get started right away.

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