Investing Money – An Introduction
Playing baseball and collecting baseball cards just might be the lifeblood of the summer, for many boys and girls around the world (especially boys!). Between sweaty afternoons at the ball field, and buying packs of cards at the store, card collecting is still a fun time.
Of course, as any professional baseball card collector knows, there is SO MUCH MORE to the art of collecting than just buying a pack of cards randomly at the store. In fact, the best collectors (no matter what they are collecting) are knowledgeable, organizational freaks (in a good way ), and extremely passionate about their collection.
Just like professional baseball card collectors, the best investors out there are also knowledgeable, organizational freaks, and extremely passionate about improving their portfolio (or their clients).
The focus of today’s article is to teach others how to start an investment “collection” or portfolio. Regardless of the type of investing, whether it be in stocks, real estate, or starting a business… you will be able to find helpful information here.
There are some advanced topics that could be discussed in the investing realm, but this article is all about the basics… investing 101. Come and learn the basics of investing, along with some direct comparisons on how to start a baseball card collection (in case you were ever interested ).
Let’s get started…play ball!
Start an Investment “Collection”
In order to start an AWESOME investment portfolio, the following steps should be taken:
- Get mentally prepared.
- Get educated.
- Start collecting (or buying).
- Maintain the new collection or portfolio.
Let’s dive into each of these steps to help you get the right footing before you start investing.
Step #1 – Get Mentally Prepared
Before anyone starts investing, they should get mentally prepared by addressing these three areas:
- Prepare Financially
- Get Serious About it
- Keep it Fun and Simple
1. Prepare Financially
Before investing, be budgeting consistently, saving money regularly, out of debt (for the most part), and already putting money away for retirement. Also, maybe earning some extra income could be helpful.
The reason this is part of getting mentally prepared is because the money that is used for investing should be money that is not “needed”. It needs to be money that can be lost and the important day to day expenses can still be paid.
For those who have massive amounts of debt, tread the waters of investing carefully. Potentially losing money that may be needed elsewhere may add stress into life that isn’t needed.
2. Get Serious About it
Investing your hard earned money should be looked at very seriously. This is your financial future we are talking about. Doing well with investing can improve your financial situation remarkably. No one should start investing until they are ready to put in the time to be serious with it.
3. Keep it Fun and Simple
This is a big step. Even though getting serious about investing is the previous step, don’t feel overwhelmed by all of the information and moving parts that come along with investing. Anyone can be confident with investing…just take it slow and get the feet moving in the right direction before you start doing advanced stuff.
In Step #3 – Start Collecting, there are a number of resources to help a beginner get started. These should help keep things simple and help improve one’s confidence!
Investing can be just as fun as collecting baseball cards! Anyone can invest their money and get lucky…but by using the right tools and preparing properly, those who want to become successful investors can make it a reality!
ACTION STEP: Make sure you are in a good, smart spot to be investing. If you aren’t, visit the other sections of becoming a Personal Money Manager before you move on.
Step #2 – Educate Yourself
There is a lot to getting educated about investing. Because of that, this section has been broken up into a few different sections: Investing Concepts, Type of Investments, and terminology. Education is the key to being able to invest smartly, effectively, and efficiently.
Key Investing Concepts
Concept #1 – Let Money Work for You
The beautiful part of investing is that it puts your money to work. For those of us who have day (or night) jobs, we work hard to earn more money. Well, investing is a different way to earn money, without increasing the hours you work during the day. Investments earn money 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Needless to say, it’s pretty awesome!
Concept #2 – Compound Interest
Compounding interest is the heart of investing. It enables one’s money to become a powerful income-generating tool. Compound interest is the process of creating new income and interest off of the money that has already been invested. There are two ingredients: the reinvestment of earnings and time. The greater of both ingredients (especially time) increases the result. Here is a helpful calculator on compound interest.
Concept #3 – Reasonable Expectation of Profit
You need to have a reasonable expectation of profit before you enter into an investment. Regardless of a “top stocks” list, or an expert sharing his/her opinion on good stocks to invest in, you need to be able to expect a profit.
Investing IS NOT gambling. Gambling is risking money by betting on an uncertain outcome. Investing is risking money on certain potential outcomes. Sure, the actual outcome may not be what you like, but you will have already analyzed the risk and committed money ONLY after a reasonable expectation of profit has been realized.
Concept #4 – Diversification is the Key
Diversification is a common term among the investment community. Diversification is the process of allocating money between different types of investments to avoid exposure to losses from any one investment in the entire portfolio. In other words, it helps to reduce risk of the overall collection.
Investing in different types of stocks, or even adding in a rental property to a portfolio will help to diversify and lower the overall risk.
Types of Investments
Now let’s learn what to invest in. There are lots of different types of investments and lots of ways to put a collection together; however, most people start with these:
- Stocks, Mutual Funds, & Bonds
- Rental Properties & Real Estate
- Start Your Own Business/Buy A Business
Each of these can be short term investments, or long term investments depending on what one’s financial goals are. One thing to keep in mind, is that each of these in their own right, can also be good investments or bad investments.
However, all of these are relatively safe investment options. There are certainly good stocks to invest in, good real estate to purchase, and good businesses to buy and run. Before jumping into more advanced investment options, start by putting money into these.
There is a lot of investing jargon that one might want to learn as they jump into the investing arena. There are general investment terms, and even specific stock market terms. Below is a master list of terminology to help you get started. This master list includes common investing terms like…stocks, hedge fund, small cap stocks, etc.
Feel free to download the Investing Terminology List.
ACTION STEP: Become familiar with these concepts, types of investments, and terminology before you move on. These will create the foundation for you to confidently move forward into the investing world.
Step #3 – Start “Collecting”
Now that you have become passionate about investing, and are a bit more educated, it’s time to start creating a collection (portfolio).
Below, is a bunch of resources organized under each of the investments that were originally recommended to start with. Underneath each of those are a list of places to go online to get additional information or to start investing.
All of these are on a DIY basis. For those who aren’t interested in managing their own portfolio, getting a financial adviser to help at this stage would be recommended.
The great thing with this list, is that many of these resources have educational tips, articles, and videos to help others get even more ready to start an investment journey. Some of them also have people ready and able to help others decide which investments that should be looked at first.
- Online Stocks, Mutual Funds, Gold & Bond Brokers
- Trade King (affiliate link)
- Interactive Brokers
- Treasurer (affiliate link)
- In Penny Stock (affiliate link)
- Rental Properties & Real Estates
- Starting/Owning a Business
ACTION STEP: Start building your investing collection. Remember to contribute to your investment portfolio regularly.
Step #4 – Maintain The Collection
Now that you are officially an investor, constant maintenance of the collection is required. Make sure to routinely check in regularly, which means at least 1-4 times per month.
Maintain the portfolio by looking at the performance of each part of the collection. Is one part of the portfolio performing better than another? If so, consider adding more funds into that investment.
Or are there investments that are struggling? If so, consider selling those investments, or putting a long-term strategy in place to hopefully gain a profit in the long-term. These are all things to look at in this phase of investing.
Just like looking at the Baseball Card Pricing Guide…checking the value of a collection from time to time will be helpful to analyze and measure the overall performance.
ACTION STEP: If you are investing currently, make sure you make time to maintain your investments. Look at them often and touch base with an adviser if need be.
Further Readings – Investing Basics
- Investor.gov – Intro to investing.
- The Road to One Million – What is the best passive investment strategy?
Investment Tips & Advice
Tip & Tip #1 – Don’t Buy All at Once
Dollar Cost Averaging may be the best way to invest money into stocks, ETFs or mutual funds (not necessarily great for bonds or money market funds). What is Dollar Cost Averaging? It is a technique that is used to buy a fixed dollar amount of a specific investment on a regular basis (often monthly), regardless of the price of the share of stock.
Here is why this technique is so good:
- The emotions and fear are removed from investing.
- You stop “timing” the market and instead focus on accumulating assets.
- If the market falls, the result is more shares at a lower price.
- The portfolio is protected against market fluctuations (that always exist).
Take a look at this example:
In this example, 9.59 shares have been added to the total shares purchased, along with $191.75 of extra earnings (if sold today) just by spacing out the purchases of whatever stock was being purchased. $191.75 may not seem like a lot, but when there are thousands of dollars being investing each month…it’s a solid technique.
Having said that… Dollar Cost Averaging is NOT a good technique for investments that keep falling month in and month out. The idea is to take advantage of the low points, but with the expectation that the price will one day rise again.
It’s the best for markets that are like a roller-coaster, with many ups and downs. That way shares are purchases at an averaged price.
**Many look at Dollar Cost Averaging as an insurance policy. While there may be some extra cost to it, it will ultimately shield the portfolio from bad luck timing.
ACTION STEP: Consider setting up a Dollar Cost Averaging schedule for when you start investing.
Tip #2 – Control Emotions
Trading is not a game of emotions. Let’s repeat, because it’s important: TRADING IS NOT A GAME OF EMOTIONS.
Don’t get caught away in the moment of a crash. Don’t panic or become depressed.
If things don’t go according to plan, take a few minutes, hours, or days to think about your long-term investment strategy. Selling low in a panic is NOT part of your overall plan.
Don’t get caught up with the exhilarating feeling that comes with the rising markets. Subsequently, don’t get depressed or defeated with the markets crash.
Stick to a long-term plan. The worst of markets have always rebounded, and they most likely always will.
ACTION STEP: Make a promise to yourself to control your emotions…you’ll thank yourself later.
Tip #3 – Understand Your Risk Tolerance
he best investments today are the ones that you feel comfortable making. However, even the investments that you feel comfortable making have risks. Every investment out there has some level of risk…some higher, some lower.
A high risk tolerance investor(or an aggressive investor), is someone that is highly willing to losing money at the risk of getting really high rewards. A low risk tolerance investor (or a conservative investor), is someone that is going to lean towards investments that keep the original investment intact, while simultaneously improving that investment a little bit.
Everyone should understand where they fall on the line between these two points. Knowing your tolerance will help you build an investment strategy that will fall in line with your values.
ACTION STEP: Go online and google “risk tolerance test” or quiz and you’ll find some awesome tests that you can take to find out if you are an aggressive or conservative investor. Use that knowledge to help you build an investment strategy.
Tip #4 – Keep the Long-Term in Mind
Tip #4 is perhaps the most important tip to investing. Some may be investing in a specific fund for a specific time frame. For those who aren’t using this strategy, keep long-game in mind. The goal is to build a portfolio that is valued higher and higher over the long term. Don’t worry about the short-term loss or gain.
The best things to invest in are the ones that have long-term value. The top investments for any portfolio will be the ones that provide a reasonable return on investment (ROI) over the course of having that investment in the portfolio.
ACTION STEP: Keep the long-term in mind. Commit to it. Write it on your heart and don’t deviate from it.
Further Readings – Investing Tips
- Simply Safe Dividends – Warren Buffett’s Top 10 Pieces of Investment Advice.
- How I Grow My Wealth – Additional investing resources.
- Penny Thots – 9 alternative investment opportunities you may not know about.
- Oblivious Investor – Asset allocation and risk tolerance.
Final Thoughts on Investing Basics
Investing money doesn’t need to be hard, but it does take some time to become familiar with it. Just like collecting baseball cards, there is more to handling an investment portfolio than merely buying stock.
Don’t buy all at once, control emotions, understand your risk tolerance, and keep the long-term in mind. Before investing, get mentally prepared…get educated…and then follow up and maintain the investments, even if you have an adviser. One day, you will master this skill.
Learning how to invest is a practical money skill that will help improve your financial future. You can become a Personal Money Manager by getting good at investing and then taking advantage of that skill!
Managing your money is a key life skill that puts YOU in control…and once you have that control, then you truly have POWER OVER LIFE!
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