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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 August 20, 2018

    30 Fun Things To Do With Your Friends Without Spending Much

    30 Fun Things To Do With Your Friends Without Spending Much

    Spending time with friends is, in and of itself, a great way to pass the time without spending a lot of money. But if you and your friends are used to going out to clubs, pubs or eateries together as your way of hanging out, then you can change it up a bit and save some money too.

    No matter where you live, there are plenty of places to go and do fun things that don’t cost a lot.

    If you are having trouble convincing your friends to do things on the cheap, then be upfront with them. Tell them straight out that you can’t spend that kind of money right now — and don’t let them pay for you either. But here are some great alternatives you can offer.

    30 Fun Things To Do With Friends Without Spending Much

    1. A potluck dinner party. Host a dinner party and ask everyone to bring a dish to share. If you are not comfortable with cooking, maybe try and learn how to cook a new dish together with your friends.

    2. Host a spa day. Give each other manicures. Try out new hairstyles. Make some facial masks or exfoliates using natural, at-home ingredients. Then drink mimosas.

    3. Movie marathon. Log into Netflix and watch every episode of “Stranger Things” Or do an ’80s movie marathon, watching “Pretty in Pink,” “The Breakfast Club” and all of our old favorites. Don’t have a Netflix membership? Get the free trial just for the marathon!

    4. Pinterest party! You know all of those cool Pinterest crafts you say you’re going to do? Do them. At home one night with friends. Then make up some of those bacon-wrapped whatevers you’ve been dying to try!

    5. Go to the park. Pack a picnic. Hang out. Watch people. Play on the swings.

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      6. Have an organization party. Set up a day of each weekend where you go to each of your friends’ houses and help them clean out a closet, a room, a garage, whatever. Serve drinks and food and trade stuff among yourselves.

      7. Hold a yard sale. After all of that cleaning, why not hang out together and make some extra cash too?

      8. Concerts in the park. All summer long, many parks host free concerts. Go with your friends. Hang out, bring a picnic dinner. This is a very relaxing way to chill out on a hot summer night after work.

      9. Volunteer together. Offer to do the yard work for the local senior center or hang out with the kids at the YMCA. After a few hours of volunteering together, you will have new respect for each other and something new to chat about.

      10. Play board games. Drag out the Scrabble or the Yahtzee. You can hang out and play all sorts of games with large groups or small ones. Hold a tournament and compete against each other. Here’re some board games ideas.

      11. Video game tournament. Not into board games? OK. Well, how about a video game tournament? Whether it’s the latest dancing game or “Call of Duty,” play against each other and award prizes (or food) to the winners.

      12. Grab a ball and a bat and go play baseball at the local park. Grab a basketball or a tennis racket. Most parks have courts and fields you can use for free as long as there isn’t an organized event going on.

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      13. Go to the school play. This might cost a little for admission, but it’s a great way to support your community and have a fun time.

      14. Iron Chef night. Bring your friends over and have an Iron Chef night where you cook dinner out of only the items in your pantry. No buying anything!

      15. Go dumpster diving. Yup. I said it. Check out the dumpsters in your area and see what you can find. You might even find dinner! Here are some tips for respectful diving.

        16. Go to yard sales. Take all that money you made at your yard sale and cruise around your town together looking for cool stuff. Maybe you could even fix something up and resell it.

        17. Go fishing.

        18. Go camping.

        19. Find some cool trails around your town and go hiking. Here’re some of the best hiking trails you should try.

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        20. Get out the bikes and bike everywhere for a weekend.

          21. Dig out the old croquet set — or borrow your Mom’s — and play croquet. Do it! Totally fun.

          22. Swap movies and music. Have everyone bring over a box of old movies and CDs they don’t want anymore — or don’t watch anymore. Then swap with abandon.

          23. Go on a walking tour of your town. Most towns or cities have a historic district. Find out if there is a walking tour available. If not, make one up!

          24. Scavenger hunt. Put your friends to the test — yes, this is for grown-ups — to find different things in your city…like a certain bike rack, a vintage sign, that sort of thing. The winner gets a dinner cooked by the losers.

          25. Find out when the free days are at your local museum or zoo. Most have them and they can be great fun to visit with friends.

          26. Hold a quilting bee. No, you don’t have to be fancy — or old — for this. Grab some old T-shirts that you love, old jeans, whatever. Cut them into squares and sew them together. Who knows? Maybe it will become a regular thing?

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          27. Go to Open Mic night. Your town is likely harboring some great talent at an open mic night that has no cover and cheap drinks!

          28. Go to a religious service. Even if you’re not religious, going to a service in an unfamiliar religion can be enlightening and a great way to meet new people.

          29. Find a swimming hole. Head to the old town swimming hole — or find a new one. What a great way to spend a lazy afternoon with friends.

            30. Start a book club, card club (canasta anyone?), sewing club or scrapbooking club. Something you and your friends like. My parents used to belong to a cooking club where once a month all of their friends gathered at one house and the host family cooked a meal from a different country. I learned a lot about food that year.

            You don’t really need to spend much to have lots of fun with your friends! Pick a few of these ideas and start trying them out this weekend with your friends!

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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