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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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Published on November 20, 2018

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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