It is easy to dream up great ideas, think through great processes, theorize about potential solutions, but actually starting down the path of a difficult task seems to constantly be put on the back burner.
We see this all the time with investing, and hear excuses like:
“I don’t have enough money to invest”
“I don’t know how to invest.”
And one of the biggest one to date:
“I don’t know where to start.”
It’s time to eliminate this obstacle. As with a ball rolling down a hill, once it gets started it can pick up speed. The same can be true for you and investing. Here are seven ways to get started investing.
1. The Easy Choice – Start contributing to your company’s retirement plan today, if your company offers one. This would be a 401k, 403b or other similar employer retirement plans. This is the easiest option because you can make your savings and investments automatic. The contributions to your investment account will come out of your paycheck. The investments are chosen once and continue to get added to every time you contribute. Boom; you are now an investor.
2. The Alternative – Maybe your employer doesn’t provide a retirement plan. Don’t let that be your excuse. You can easily start saving in your own retirement account. Vanguard offers several investment vehicles that can provide you a simple, low-cost option to start investing on your own. Open up a brokerage account or a Roth account (if eligible). Then set up automatic contributions to the account and select a broad-based investment option like their Vanguard S&P 500 index fund. Once you’ve done this you’ve one-upped your employer while also becoming an investor.
3. What You Know – Take a look around. Do you see a recurring theme of items within your closet or within your house? Possibly a bunch of Nike shoes and pullovers? Or could it be that your kids’ diapers are a brand of Procter and Gamble. Or Target bags litter your house. Whichever it is, you might as well invest in the companies where you spend the most money. It can be simple and automatic. Head over to computershare.com and find the company that you are most tied to (with regards to your interests) and set up a DRIP (Dividend Re-Investment Program) account. You can set up automatic monthly contributions to this particular account. Now, when you spend money, you’re helping make yourself money!
4. The Conservative – Maybe the stock market isn’t for you. That’s fine, there are options out there for you. Look at Treasurydirect.gov. You can start to buy government bonds here. This will allow you to at least earn some interest on your cash, and it can be your first step to longer term investing.
5. The Lazy Man – The technology age has provided an app for just about everything, and getting started investing isn’t any different. So, if you say that Vanguard and Computershare are your parent’s investment options, then maybe check out Acorns or Digit.co. Both of these products help you save automatically into investment accounts. Acorns looks to take your spare change from your spending and invest those monies into a diversified investment account. While Digit.co analyzes your spending habits, and then invests excess funds from your checking account on a regular basis. The beauty of these apps is that they don’t just save your money, they invest it! So while you are spending, they will work to get you started investing… win, win.
6. Not Yet Innovative – Maybe you aren’t ready to move all your investing and saving to the ‘app’esphere.’ That’s ok. Another option for you could be to set up an account with Sharebuilder Investment Plan by Capital One. This is a good, low-cost option of automating your saving into a diverse set of investment options. You can choose from thousands of options and your savings are automatically contributed to each of the investments.
7. The Book Worm – Maybe you want to take it slow to getting started investing. That’s fine. You should learn from the best as a baby step. Make sure to read one of my favorites The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. He is the guy that Warran Buffett learned from, which I have to say worked out very well! It’s a long read, so for those that are ready to start investing sooner, then take a look at The Little Book of Investing by John Bogle. He is the founder of Vanguard and the father of the index fund (the ETF before ETFs were born). That’s a way to get knowledge from some of the best investors before you start to invest.
*Bonus! The Hybrid – You’re ready to get started investing, but you’re looking for a lifeguard before you jump into the deep end of investments. Then you should take a look at Wela. By investing through Wela, you have access to not only our Wela Strategies ETFs which are guided by a team of experienced investment professionals but also our financial tools and resources. Our advisors act as your investing lifeguards, allowing you to jump into the water with confidence. It's easy to get started. Click here to learn more.
The uncertainty has been cleared, the questions about how to actually invest are answered. And you are now full steam ahead to investing in your financial future.
Our team member, Eddie Goepp, always says that the best day to start investing is yesterday. The second best day is today. Head that advice, as it has proven to be successful for many before us and likely for many after us.
Disclosure: The information is provided to you as a resource for educational purposes only. Nothing herein should be considered investment, legal, or tax advice. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. Past performance is not indicative of future results when considering any investment vehicle. This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. It is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax, or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.