When I told readers that January would be “back to basics” month at Get Rich Slowly, the number-one request I received was to write about how to invest.
Rather than scatter investing info throughout the month, I decided to collect the essentials into one mammoth article. Here it is: all you need to know about how to invest — even if you're a beginner.
In writing this article, I tried not to bog it down with jargon and definitions. (I'm sure I let some of that slip through the cracks, though. I apologize.) Nor did I dive deep. Instead, I aimed to share the basic info you need to get started with investing.
What follows are eight simple rules for how to invest. And in the end, I'll show you how to put these rules into practice. First, let's dispel some popular misconceptions.
Investing Isn't Gambling — and It Isn't Magic Either
Investing scares many people. The subject seems complicated and mysterious, almost magical. Or maybe it seems like gambling. When the average person meets with his financial adviser, it's often easiest to sit still, smile, and nod.
One of the problems is that the investing world is filled with jargon. What are commodities? What's alpha? An expense ratio? How do bonds differ from stocks? And sometimes, familiar terms – such as risk – mean something altogether different on Wall Street than they do on Main Street.
Plus, we're bombarded by conflicting opinions. Everywhere you look, there's a financial expert who's convinced she's right. There's a never-ending flood of opinions about how to invest, and many of them are contradictory. One guru says to buy real estate, another says to buy gold. Your cousin got rich with Bitcoin. One pundit argues that the stock market is headed for record highs, while her partner says we're due for a “correction”. Who should you believe?
Perhaps the biggest problem is complexity – or perceived complexity. To survive and seem useful, the financial services industry has created an aura of mystery around investing, and then offered itself as a light in the darkness. (How convenient!) As amateurs, it's easy to buy into the idea that we need somebody to lead us through the jungle of finance.
Here's the truth: Investing doesn't have to be difficult. Investing is not gambling, and it's not magic.
You are perfectly capable of learning how to invest. In fact, it's likely that — even if you know nothing right now — you can earn better investment returns than 80% of the population without any scammy tricks or expensive tips sheets.
Today, I want to convince you that if you keep things simple, you can do your own investing and receive above-average returns – all with a minimum of work and worry. Sound good? Great! Let's learn how to invest. [Read more…]