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10 Investing Mistakes Most People Make

10 Investing Mistakes Most People Make

Whether you are investing to build a retirement fund, or to put your excess cash to work, you should always be wary of the following investment mistakes. These can ensnare an experienced investor as easily as they can entrap a rookie. Here are 10 investing mistakes to watch out for:

1. Investing while in debt.

The phrase “cheap debt” is thrown around by the financial experts routinely. However, it does not apply to credit cards. To invest money when one is living off credit cards is a big no-no. One should repay credit card debt as soon as possible.

Similarly, putting money aside for investment while having a student loan or a house mortgage might seem like a good idea, as the expected rate of return on the investment is higher than the expected cost of debt. However, the comparison is incorrect. Today’s cost of debt is being compared to tomorrow’s rate of return. We are coming out of the zero interest rate period, and it is not unreasonable to believe that debt will become expensive again over time. One should prioritize offloading all debt before one starts setting aside money for investments.

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2. Investing with a very high cost of transaction.

When one buys or sells investments, one invariably coughs up fees and charges. In some cases, the cost of a transaction is quite high. When investing in a house, for example, be sure that you do not liquefy the investment within five to seven years. If you sell the house within that time frame, then the transaction costs will substantially eat into your rate of return.

Another avenue in which the costs are very high is investment in physical gold. Apart from the transactional costs of gold, one should account for the charges applicable for its safe and secure storage. It is more advisable to invest in gold ETFs instead of physical gold.

3. Investing with a single-minded focus on fund fees.

The internet is full of advice on choosing low-cost funds instead of paying a premium on funds managed by rock-star fund managers. Undoubtedly, a lot of advice is sound, but some investors make decisions purely based on fund fees while being ignorant to other parameters like the rate of returns they deliver, or the amount of asset diversification they have. In some cases fund houses use “cheap funds” as a marketing ploy. In Britain, HSBC’s Equity Tracker Fund has an expense ratio of 0.27% a year, while Virgin’s equivalent equity fund charges a full percentage point extra. However, both the funds are being heralded as low-cost funds by their respective fund houses.

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4. Investing in hot tips.

Hot tips and fads rule the market, and just about everyone is an expert on the Next Big Thing. However, such advice should be taken with a grain of salt. Investment is a process, and due research is a necessary aspect of this process. After all, if you are not willing to put in the time and effort necessary when making an investment, you can’t expect your investment to reward you with your returns.

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    5. Investing decisions based on market conditions.

    Market conditions cannot dictate one’s investment strategy. The inherent volatility in the market is frustrating, especially when investment portfolios underperform the benchmark index. Doubts start creeping into one’s investment strategy. However, investment strategies cannot change with the market cycles. It is imperative to have faith in one’s strategy, provided it is based on sound characteristics. A good strategy with a long-term outlook may underperform for a period of several months based on the market conditions, but in the long run it will reap the desired rewards.

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    6. Investing while overpaying for investment services and financial planners.

    There are multiple avenues for investing one’s hard-earned money. To understand all the options out there you may need assistance, and that is where financial advisers come to our aid. However, when a financial adviser builds a portfolio of low-cost index ETFs, then one wonders if there is any value to the adviser. The cost advantage of investing in a cheap ETF is consumed by the fees of the adviser. Some advisers even receive hefty commissions for recommending investment products. If that is the case then the financial adviser’s motives will not match your interests. One should be wary of such advisers.

    7. Investing on margin.

    No matter how enticing an opportunity, one shouldn’t buy stocks or investments on margin. Margin trading has its benefits, but those should be left to the professionals. If the investment is leveraged, then one bad trade can wipe out a significant chunk of one’s investments and set one back significantly. In addition, when investing in property that is not for personal use but for investment, using housing loans is not a good strategy. The recent housing crisis points to the flaws of such leveraged investing. Bottom line: always invest with money that you have and can afford to lose without any adverse impact to your financial health.

    8. Investing with an unrealistic expectation of return.

    Investing with an unrealistic expectation of return, and without accounting for the compounding magic of time, is a strategy that is doomed to fail. In pursuit of manifold returns, people dabble in the penny stock market and end up burning their hard-earned money. In the end, if an investment idea sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

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    9. Investing out of fear and greed.

    Emotions are attached to one’s investment decisions. We all feel joy when an idea works out to our benefit, and all feel despair when a decision goes bad. However, the emotions of greed and fear should not override one’s sense of logic and reason. Greed and failure prevent one from making smart decisions; they make one follow the herd mentality instead.

    10. Investing without a plan.

    Investing is a boring process. To see meaningful returns, one needs time to do its magic. Patience is key. An investment plan, revolving around meaningful financial goals, helps when things get rough. It provides motivation to save money when the same money could easily be spent on mundane activities. It provides the focus and determination required to pursue a life of financial independence.

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    Last Updated on April 28, 2020

    9 Millionaire Success Habits That Will Inspire Your Life

    9 Millionaire Success Habits That Will Inspire Your Life

    As technology evolves and information becomes more accessible, it has also become more challenging to define success. A lot of people are trapped in the rat race while trying to discover the actual formula for success.

    You could become overwhelmed with what tools, techniques or philosophies to imbibe while trying to get tips over the internet. At every click and turn, there are ‘how-tos and quick-fix’ on how to become successful overnight. You will find several courses, articles, videos and books on how to achieve financial success.

    But what if I tell you it doesn’t have to be complicated as people made it out to be? What if you could achieve success by merely following these 9 millionaire success habits?

    1. Read for Personal Development

    A daily habit I have discovered millionaires share in common is reading. For instance, if you are an entrepreneur, you need to read to become an efficient leader and a productive business owner. Reading helps you to grow and learn without going to a business school.

    A research conducted by Thomas Crowley indicates about 85% of self-made millionaires read at least two or more books each month. [1] Warren Buffett is one of these examples. He spends 80% of his day reading. In the early days of his investment career, he would read 600 to 1000 pages in a single day.

    While millionaires sometimes read for pleasure, they also learn to improve themselves. They read topics on leadership, how-tos, self-help, biographies, lifehacks and also follow current events.

    Here’re some recommendations for you: 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

    2. Establish Multiple Sources of Income

    Another success habit I noticed about successful people is that they don’t depend on a single income source. Every millionaire possesses multiple sources of income. This helps them to manage economic challenges and also make more money.

    They are passive income addicts. They earn interests from loans, rental income from real estate, royalties from intellectual properties, dividends from investments. They also launch a side business or run a website or sell information products.

    How income is made either passively or actively is what separates the successful from the wannabes. They are always learning ways to build multiple streams of income.

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    3. Live on a Stipulated Monthly Budget

    An average millionaire does not believe in luck and jackpot. They take the time to understand cash flow-income and expenses. Based on this, they establish a monthly budget and religiously stick to it.

    The essence of the budget is to minimize unnecessary expenses. This will help you gain complete control of your financial life. Budgeting helps you to avoid overspending to achieve your financial goals. Here’re some tips to help you stuck to your budget: 32 Hacks for Sticking to Your Budget

    4. Manage and Maximize Money

    The most significant education for a millionaire is financial intelligence. Nobody attains financial freedom without gaining financial intelligence. This is the more reason millionaire, regardless of their income, keep their knowledge about tax strategies updated.

    They always seek to reduce their tax bills. One approach they employ is by living or incorporating their business in states with no income tax.

    Do you know that about 60 companies paid $0 legally in the 2018 tax year? Some of these companies that ‘avoided'(note: not evaded) federal income tax include Chevron, Amazon, Halliburton, General Motors, Delta. Their US income was totaled at $79 billion with an effective tax rate of -5%.

    What’s the deal? They got a tax refund.

    How do they accomplish these?

    An ITEP report indicated that they have the culture of throwing huge sums at tax experts who assist them in discovering creative, as well as convoluted means of paying little tax as much as possible.[2]

    5. Avoid Debt

    Another habit that separates the millionaires from the rest of the world is how they manage debt.

    They don’t live an extravagant lifestyle; instead, they only buy what they need and can pay for. They do not book hotels and flights by using their credit cards to pay for them.

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    They are conscious of the interest rates even when they use credits cards or take loans. If possible, they try to pay with cash because of its zero percent interest rate.

    6. Set Daily Goals

    It does not matter if they are setting up a business, a career, or financial projections; they have the success habit of setting short term goals. They plan daily and weekly goals to generate momentum in achieving their long-term goals.

    Ensure you prioritize when setting daily goals. This will help you to achieve the most important to-dos on your list.

    Setting priorities will help you to focus on highly rewarding activities. If you desire financial freedom, it is wise to pursue activities that earn you thousands of dollars rather than hundreds of dollars.

    7. Don’t Act Rich

    The goal is not to act rich but to be productive. Interestingly, Thomas Stanley buttressed in his book that for the most prestige brands of cars, about 86% percent are toys of the non-millionaires. While most believe that people with huge fortunes tend to drive exotic cars, in reality the largest consumers of pricey cars are aspiring millionaires.[3]

    According to findings by Experian Automotive Researchers, 61% of individuals who earn $250,000 or more rarely buy luxury brands. Instead, they buy Hondas, Toyotas, and Fords like the rest of the world. The reason is they are not ready to spend money on premium cars that tend to drop in value in a couple of years as it would cost money. Millionaires invest in assets that appreciate.[4]

    8. Own or Buy Businesses

    In Robert Kiyosaki’s cashflow quadrant, he divided how you earn income into four quadrants. The E and the S quadrants take the left position while the B and the I are on the right side. According to Robert, it is possible to be on all quadrants, but the millionaires are not.[5]

    • E stands for employee – they work for others
    • S stands for self-employed – they work for themselves
    • B stands for a Business owner- employees work for them (500 or more employees)
    • I stand for Investors – Money work for them like Warren Buffet.

    Your goal is to move from the left quadrant to the right quadrants where you own big businesses or make money work for you.

    It is possible to become financially successful by pursuing what you love. For instance, if you love writing, aspire to be the best seller. Wealth and passion work together.

    Check out How to Start a Small Business with Little to No Money for tips.

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    9. Avoid Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

    A millionaire holds patience as an essential virtue. It takes patience to become successful, not only in finance but in every aspect of life. While it is possible to become financially successful at an early age, most millionaires hit it at age 50. They live a moderate life, invest in their future and retire rich.

    Bonus: How to Develop the Millionaire Success Habits?

    Having learned these habits, the next question is,

    How can I develop the Millionaire Success habits?

    Here are six values you will need to develop:

    Establish Your Life Vision

    You need to be clear about what you want in life to set yourself for a life of success. Your vision has to go beyond becoming a millionaire to understanding why you want to become one. Any great entrepreneur you will ever find has a clear vision and an established mission.

    Understanding why you are doing what you do will drive you to become the kind of successful person you want to be.

    Make Your Passion a Profession

    When your passion becomes your profession, work becomes pleasurable. Loving what you do enables money to flow to you and through you.

    So what’s going to be? Wake up every morning by speaking positive words into your work, love what you do, and focus on the work that brings you joy.

    Take a look at this article and learn how to make it happen: 5 Steps To Turn Your Passion Into A Career

    Focus on Solution

    Focusing on the solution means establishing the problem that you or your business address. This will help you focus on the solutions when others are faced with challenges.

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    A millionaire has a mindset that is fixed on the solution. He or she knows there’s a way out, and that every problem is an opportunity in disguise.

    Improve your problem solving skills with these tips: 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills

    Develop Your Leadership Skills

    Leadership skills are an asset that is indispensable if you want to develop a millionaire success habit. The more you hone your leadership skills, the more you will attract leaders who share your values.

    Be Growth-Focused

    Millionaire entrepreneurs prioritize self-improvement. Here’s how to achieve it:

    • Get a coach. Coaching will impact your life, and you will achieve peak performance in life and business when you have a life coach.
    • Be coachable. It is not enough to have a coach; you must be coachable. Sometimes, you need feedback and counsel to reposition your life and business. A coach has the wisdom and experience to counsel you from a higher perspective. The more you receive feedback and work on yourself, the more you become better at what you do and who you are.

    Flip Your Thought Pattern From Acting To Being

    It is not enough to have a millionaire success habit, you must also become a person of positive influence. This is how you can become significant. Bill Gates is not only rich; he is changing lives in Africa and different parts of the world.

    If you want to become successful, you must first be and think like a successful person. This is how resources you need can flow into your life.

    Here’s a final thought from me:

    It is not enough to do something to have something; success is about being someone who possesses what is needed to take positive and inspired actions.

    More Success Habits

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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