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Start Investing Now
I continue to hear that people are confused about how to start investing. Honestly, I don’t understand such bewilderment. If you ask me, investing has never been easier. Maybe before the Internet, but not now. There is so much information out there, no one should be at a loss. However, money mentalities are responsible for this. Everyone has their priorities and if managing their money is not near the top of the list, it gets forgotten. If someone is immersed in their career or other priorities, their money mentality takes a back seat. Totally understandable.
Learning how to invest can be a lifetime endeavor, and a confusing one. With the number of available investments, it can be dizzying to even attempt to understand it all. Dizziness leads to zone-out, and ultimately, non-action.
Here are a few remedies to ensure that you are participating in the world of investments.
These will take you less than 10 minutes to set up. I believe having an open account will give you a focus. Once the account is created, you should put your deposits on auto-pilot. Setting up an automatic contribution is ideal, but if you don’t, I recommend putting the account’s website in your Favorites list and opening it on a weekly basis.
Using a Robo-adviser
I just came across M1 Finance. If you’re new to investing, this is a great option. The features of this service are so far ahead from the 1980s, when I started investing. It takes under 3 minutes to link your bank account to the site and you can start investing.
It’s almost like being at the custom salad bar. If you don’t want the bland pre-packaged version, you can choose which salad ingredients you want. I like their drop-down menus and the visuals using pie charts. Categories range from ultra-conservative to aggressive, with sector categories, and General Investing to Responsible Investing. For the amount of choices available to you, and the ability to invest with fractional shares, their .25% fees are comparable (up to a $100,000 account).
There are many arguments for the fee percentage but there’s also value in an actively managed portfolio for people that are gun-shy at investing.
Use this link to get started: http://mbsy.co/m1finance/31722246
Investing in DRIPs
Invest in a DRIP. I had a very short conversation with someone that admitted she had no idea how to manage her money. I mentioned investing in dividend reinvestment plans (DRIPs) and she returned a blank stare. However, when I mentioned Disney, her eyes flew wide open. She had no idea that Disney shares could be bought in a DRIP.
I love DRIPs. They’re in alignment with my dollar-cost averaging, incurable saver addiction. I love consistency and, with a DRIP account, it gives your money a separate envelope to be regularly dropped into. Most companies have automatic deposit options.
I have several DRIP accounts. Because I am already invested to the max in my tax-deferred accounts, these DRIP accounts give me an alternate sense of accomplishment. I like seeing the accumulation of shares and the subsequent dividend reinvestments.
Your initial investment varies by stock but can be as low as $250.
Look for their recommendations in the Pros and Cons section. Be careful of fees.
This website evaluates companies’ DRIPs and provides the specs such as the initial purchase, minimum additional purchase, maximum purchase, and sale fee information. http://www.dripadvice.com/
Open an account with Vanguard and invest in one of their index funds. If you’re confused by all the choices, just go with VTSMX. It’s their low-fee US stock blended fund: Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Investor. The minimum investment is $3,000.
Another household name with competitive rates and many choices. I have had a Schwab account since 1995 and use their Research feature often. There is a $1,000 minimum to open an account. The $1,000 minimum is waived if automatic deposits are selected.