You took care of everyone else during the holidays – now it’s time to take care of yourself. Give yourself the gift of financial empowerment by making 2016 the year that you start investing.
Here are five tips to get started and ultimately grow your nest egg:
- Start a virtual portfolio. To begin, keep track of companies and funds that you like. Follow them in the news and look back at their performance history. Build your confidence by building your knowledge about these companies, and then jump in and invest! Don’t try to do everything at once.
- Invest in what you know. The stock market will be more interesting to you if you invest in things that you care about. If you love video games or fashion, dig deep to see what’s going on in the electronic or fashion market and find out whether your favorite brands are actually good investments. Not sure what you love? Take a look at your credit card statement and review your spending. If you are shop regularly for a specific brand or at a particular store, perhaps that is where you should start. I started GoldBean for this very reason – to help you invest in the things that you know, love and buy.
- Always keep learning. Investing isn’t that complicated, despite what some would have you believe. Make it your mission to learn. Watch videos, read until you understand, but most of all, pay attention! With knowledge comes the ability to determine when someone is trying to sell you something versus teach you something! Good resources include Personal Finance Fundamentals and Personal Investing Basics on Lynda.com, Investopedia and your favorite news outlet’s business section.
- Ask A LOT of questions. Asking questions, and asking them confidently, is a big step towards financial empowerment. Learn to differentiate fact from opinion (by asking!) and make sure that you determine where the advice is coming from (i.e., Is the person a financial professional? Do they invest their own money?). Listen for trends and ideas, not necessarily advice. Take what you hear from others and then do your own research. All the information you need to make the right decisions is out there.
- Don’t follow the crowd. Build your own skills and trust your intuition. As Warren Buffet says, “Be fearful when others are greedy – and greedy when others are fearful.” He’s amassed one of the biggest fortunes on earth by NOT following the crowd.
Making a New Years’ resolution to do more with your money shouldn’t be difficult. It’s not a chore like paying the bills; it’s an empowering change that will help you create the life that you want to live. Putting your money to work is the first step in helping you get there.
Happy New Year!
Jane Barratt is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and holds a Series 65 Securities License. She is currently Founder & CEO of GoldBean (www.hellogoldbean.com), a new online investing platform for beginners. Jane is an advocate for financial literacy and seeks to build investment expertise at scale to change people’s lives.