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Many People Think That Investment Is Risky, But The Fact Is It’s Risky Not To Invest

Many People Think That Investment Is Risky, But The Fact Is It’s Risky Not To Invest

You might think that now is not the right time to invest because you really don’t have a lot of money. However, that’s a common misconception that could jeopardize your financial future.

The best time to invest is when you’re young, because your money will have more time to grow. An early strategy of consistent investment will give you a nest egg later on in life that you can use for major purchases or, better yet, retirement.

Here are some common misconceptions that millennials have about investing.

“The Stock Market Is Too Risky”

You might think that the stock market is just too risky. You were around when the financial markets took a nosedive in 2008 and perhaps even noticed how it affected your own family. You’ve read about the great stock market crash of 1929 and you’re certain that you don’t want to park your money in stocks with an uncertain future.

While there’s no doubt that the stock market crashed decades ago and experienced a bit of a mini-crash in 2008, it’s also proven to be one of the most valuable means of building wealth since its inception. Even if you started investing in stocks in 2005, just a few years before the recession hit, you would still have a return of 72 percent over 10 years. Over the lifespan of its existence – since 1950 – the S&P 500 has enjoyed a return of more than 12,000 percent.

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So while there certainly will be hiccups along the way, the historical trend favors those who invest in stocks.

“OK, I’ll Find the Best Company and Buy Its Stock”

You might be holding back on investing because you want to find a great company with a business model you can fully support.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with investing in a great company, the last thing you want to do is to park all of your money in that one company. If it goes belly-up, then you could lose your entire investment.

Instead, opt for diversification. Spread your money among various stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

“If you want to manage portfolio volatility” says Tom Biwer, an investment manager at Wells Fargo, “then following that old cliché about not having all your eggs in a single basket is a good idea.”

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“I’ll Just Buy Into Companies That Other People Are Buying”

A go with the flow mindset might work when you’re on a road trip and trying to decide your driving speed. However, that’s not always the best way to invest your money.

If you think you should invest in XYZ Corp. because everybody else thinks it’s great and is investing in it, then you might be buying a stock that is considered overbought. In a nutshell, that means the stock price could come collapsing down at any time. You might end up taking a steep loss.

“My Uncle Gave Me a Great Stock Tip; I’ll Buy Into That Company”

As stock market guru Jim Cramer says: “Tips are for waiters.”

Somebody might be telling you what you think is a hot tip about a company that’s about to be acquired or report stellar earnings. However, if the person giving you this information really knows that and tells you about it, then he or she is committing a crime. It’s called insider trading and it can get you into a lot of trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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The best advice is to do your own research with publicly available information and purchase stocks accordingly.

“I’m Just Going to Put Cash in a Lockbox and Save That Way”

The problem with stuffing cash in the proverbial mattress is that your money won’t grow. However, what will grow is the cost of products and services that you buy. That’s called inflation.

So if you put cash away in a lockbox, you’re in reality losing money because, thanks to inflation, that money loses its purchasing power over time.

“My Car Is Considered an Asset; It’s An Investment”

While a car purchase may be the biggest purchase you commit to besides your home, the large price tag doesn’t make it an investment. An investment is supposed to make you money. A home is more likely to appreciate over time, while a car depreciates over time. Buying a luxury car for resale value doesn’t make sense because only 1/10 of the top cars for resale value are over the “luxury threshold” of $35,000.

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It’s important to acknowledge that car purchases are not investments. So remember to research all your options carefully to see how well your vehicle model and make resell, because you’ll never be able to recoup your initial cost of buying the car in the first place. It’s much better to buy a cheaper car and put your money towards better investments.

“I’m Living Paycheck to Paycheck; I Don’t Have Money to Invest”

This might seem like a valid excuse, but the reality is that you should opt for some lifestyle changes so you can put some money away into a mutual fund.

As noted above, time is your friend when it comes to investing in the stock market. As Marcia Brixey has pointed out, if you start investing $10 per week at 8 percent beginning at age 30, you’ll have just over $99,000 by age 65. However, if you had started 10 years earlier with that same investment strategy, you would have earned more than $228,000 – a difference of more than $129,000.

Once you learn the facts and become more comfortable with investing, you can watch your money grow. Won’t that be a great feeling?

Featured photo credit: http://photopin.com via flickr.com

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Anum Yoon

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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How It Leads to Financial Improvement

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

Types of Personal Finance Software

When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

When to Use Personal Finance Software

So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

1. You Have Multiple Accounts

There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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How to Get Started

From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

Final Thoughts

Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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