When I was 11, my uncle told me…
“Kevin you need to invest. You’re losing your money by leaving your money in a bank.”
But did I care? Hell no. At the time, I was into Pikachu and Nickelodeon cartoons. WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME THIS?
Even though I wasn’t interested, he still gave me $500 to invest with. I still remember going to Fidelity and putting all my money into an “aggressive growth” fund.
Three years later? There was only $100 left. Fuck.
No one wants to lose money. No one wants to look stupid. So we tell ourselves we just need to figure it out one day.
Sounds great. What’s the problem?
One day never happens
I googled searched and screenshoted Investopedia for you. You’re welcome.
OMFG. Where do you start?
Sometimes the problem isn’t the lack of information. It’s that too much information overwhelms us and we get paralyzed. Because there are so many ways to invest, you get responses like this.
So what is the right choice?
Pick the simplest method and tweak things as you go along. For me, I’m not trying to be the Wolf on Wall Street. Investing is just a tool.
I want an investment that is…
Low start up cost + time efficient + decent return/ROI
AKA A GOOD DEAL
Today is your lucky day. I’m going to show you how to start with my favorite investment… index funds.
How to get started investing in 3 steps
Step one: Figure out how much money you have
The more money you have, the better opportunities you have to invest with. Only problem? Not all of us have $10k lying around… so we have to work our way up.
But before we continue, I know what you’re thinking …WTF is an index fund?
It’s basically buying small amounts of stock from the top 500 companies. It’s diversified and a mudda paaking good deal.
So I first started with my Fidelity account and invested into index funds. When I hit $3000, I transferred my money into a Vanguard account. Why? Lower fees and better performance. Finally when I hit $10,000, I was able to purchase the Vanguard Admiral shares (even lower fees).
It wasn’t overnight, but progressively I moved up. The more money you have, the better opportunities you have for investing.
Step two: Open your account
Really opening account is as easy as clicking this:
You have a few options. You can either open up a…
- Retirement account (Traditional, Roth IRA, etc…)
- Taxable account
I have all three. What should you do? Ramit does a good job at explaining the differences.
What I did: When I didn’t have a 401k, I opened up a Roth IRA and maxed out my contribution. If I had extra money, I would throw it into a taxable account. That way I was covering my ass for retirement and if I need money before retirement.
Step three: Automate your investments
This is probably the most important step… especially for those of us who are lazy.
Pick an amount you’re comfortable with and each month automatically invest directly into the index fund. It doesn’t matter if it’s $10 or $1000. You can always adjust later down the line.
Start as soon as possible and optimize later
Investing is like fitness. The best workout/investment is the one you’ll actually stick with.
As you accumulate more money, the way you invest will change and the more investment opportunities you’ll have. Maybe it’ll be real estate, individual stocks, or peer to peer lending. It doesn’t matter.
Just remember investing is not like getting a tattoo or having a kid. There’s no life long commitment. At the end of the day, you can always stop contributions and cash out your investments if you feel like it’s not for you.
So to the people who still need to figure it out, just remember…if you do nothing, you’re already losing to inflation. What are you waiting for? Make your money work for you.
Disclaimer: This is pretty basic investing. Obviously you should talk to your financial advisor, but hopefully this article shows you how easy it is to start investing. The most important thing is to just take action ASAP and start building momentum.