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Warning: These 4 Steps Will Make You a Confident Investor

Warning: These 4 Steps Will Make You a Confident Investor

It’s a whole new investing ball game folks.

Even just a few years ago, your odds of being able to start investing with as little as $100 were as good as a pig not rolling in mud after a storm.

Sure, people have been writing about investing with $100 for years.

But the knowledge needed to pull it off properly was crazy. And the emotional and practical obstacles to getting started were scary.

Not anymore.

If you’ve always wanted to hit the start (or restart) button on investing, here’s how you can do it with $100.

Is This You?

Let’s be honest.

Most folks believe the investing myths that abound everywhere you turn. I’m talking myths like:

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  1. Getting started with investing isn’t necessary if you eventually make enough money
  2. Investing with small amounts has no benefits
  3. You need thousands of dollars (or more) before the investment company gatekeepers will let you in
  4. People who don’t know a stock from a bond or how “The Market” works should stay away
  5. You should pay off all your debt – regardless of the terms and interest rate – before investing
  6. The best returns for a solopreneur or small business owner are always reinvesting in your business

There could actually be some truth to these myths in certain scenarios. I should know since I worked in the investment industry for a decade. But people who these myths apply to probably don’t look and act like you and me.

Every day, a new barrier to investing with small amounts is being invisibly broken down. So, if you’re determined to have your purchasing power grow faster than taxes and inflation constantly devour it, you should be investing now.

Know the Breakdown

Many people get stuck with investing because they feel they need to know the perfect investment before starting.

Here’s a secret everyone should know:

There is no such thing as a “perfect” investment. There are only suitable or appropriate investments, some of which you might already know about.

You could get tips from Warren Buffett all day long or even incredible education in less than two pages, but the fundamental process can be the same for everyone.

Here’s the breakdown to get you moving, educated, and joining a new generation of confident investors.

1. Answer Some Initial Considerations

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You don’t need to know every investing definition, process, and principle before starting.

But you do need to know your investing goals up front. Beyond ensuring your purchasing power is keeping up with the hidden bite of taxes and inflation, do you need money to pay for higher education, retirement, a future wedding, a new car, or that vacation you richly deserve? Answering this question will determine the account structure you need to pursue these big goals.

You should also consider how much to invest initially and periodically, especially if you have debt or are self-employed. Do this based on more than just financial analysis though. The health, emotional, and mental angles are essential too.

2. Choose an Investment Account Type

You could open a limited partnership, futures, or foreign currency account (among others). However, the newly empowered investor probably will find them too complex, too expensive, and too risky.

Instead, base your selection on the answer to this core question:

Do you want to invest with a focus on retirement, higher education, or something else?

If retirement, pick among retirement options like an Individual Retirement Account (U.S.), Tax-Free Savings Account (Canada), or Individual Savings Account (U.K.). If higher education, choose among options like a 529 College Savings Plan (U.S.), Registered Education Savings Plan (Canada), or Junior Individual Savings Account (U.K.). If retirement or higher education doesn’t suit your needs, the plain vanilla account is a great option.

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3. Select an Appropriate Investment

Remember there are no perfect investments for you, only suitable or appropriate ones. And among all the investment types under the sun, picking one between stocks, fixed-income (i.e. bonds), mutual funds or Exchange Traded FundsReal Estate Investment Trusts (REIT), and commodities will generally be appropriate for most people.

Just make sure you first understand core investing principles like risk tolerancediversificationliquidityrate of return, and keeping costs low before making a choice.

Filters and screening tools can be your best friend here, so use them liberally.

4. Picking an Investment Company

It starts getting easier now because your choices of account structure and investment type aren’t offered by all investment companies.

Separate from each investment company’s online functionality, support methods, and pricing model, the core decision point will be how little money the company requires to open an account and invest in specific securities.

Consider signing up for automated periodic investments to further decrease the minimum balance amounts required if otherwise too high. Just about every country has investment companies with no minimum balance amounts for certain investments or minimum amounts as low as $100.

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Tools at The Motley FoolFindTheBestFinancial Highway (Canada), and Money.co.uk (U.K.) can be really helpful.

Boom! You’re Investing

After the account is opened and you’ve placed your first trade, you’re rocking and rolling as an investor. Your investment balance might be small-time, but you should feel big-time confidence that your money can now grow to pay for your future needs.

Plus, it feels awesome to fight back against the ever-present grip of taxes and inflation.

When you act on these steps, your mind and spirit will thank you for liberating your time, money, and talent. Your pocketbook and bank account will thank you too.

So what’s it going to be folks? Commit to getting started (or restarted) with investing and let us know when it’s happening in the comments!

Featured photo credit:  time is money via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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