After reading the following sentence in an article promising help and ease when it came to an investment strategy, I left feeling quite the opposite.
“Investing is the only way to build wealth,” says Bola Onada Sokunbi, a Certified Financial Education Instructor.
Cool. So the money I’ve saved and have sitting in my bank account for the last 10 years isn’t growing and expanding and promising me stability later on? And I need to be doing more on top of saving (which is already a difficult enough challenge)?
It’s funny how the second you reward yourself for hitting that exponential savings goal is the same second the Internet chides you for not having invested said goal amount.
Investing money is hard. It requires a financial literacy that not a lot of people truly know. Even attempting to learn it is confusing and overwhelming — its basic terminology eliciting immediate perspiration.
So then, what is the next step regarding your hard earned cash? And what are the tangible ways you can grow your money without feeling helpless and totally out of control?
1 | Take a class —
Knowledge is power. Charles Schwab is one of the investment firms I use that actually offers monthly, free investment education classes that will walk you through different long and short-term techniques toward financial prowess.
I went to one of these and found it immeasurably reassuring. It is by no means not intimidating walking into the Charles Schwab offices wearing yoga pants and realizing you might be underdressed, but everyone was so friendly and the class was small enough where I left feeling more confident about my investments based on my goals.
2 | Figure out what you want both long and short term —
This seems self explanatory, yet something absolutely critical. Taking the time to figure out what you’d like monetarily will make your investments that much more rewarding. These short vs. long term goals can be anything, from going on vacation to buying a house to, of course, retirement.
3 | Find an investment tool (human or otherwise) —
There are a plethora of resources to help you invest… it’s just about finding the right one.
For instance, I found a female-run financial planning service that looked phenomenal, however the budget for three-months of service was close to $3,000… and for me, that was a little lofty.
If you’d rather have something that’s interactive, user-friendly, and still hands on enough where you don’t feel like you have zero control, then use financial planning and investment services like Wealthfront and Ellevest. Both services ask you questions about your goals, only take a .25% annual fee, and pick all the stocks for you based on your answers. You can also set up automatic monthly investments — consider it your personal 401K plan!
4 | Determine your level of risk —
My sweet Internet instigator Bola also says this: “The standard rule of thumb in investment timing is to subtract your age from 100 to figure out your investment split. For example: if you’re 30, that’s 70 percent of your portfolio that you should keep in investments (higher risk), with the remaining 30 percent in cash or bonds (lower risk).”
It’s a great equation that can help identify risk and guide you into the investment light if you’re totally lost. However, keep in mind that the stock market is cyclical (especially now with the current political landscape) so you have to be totally comfortable with your decisions knowing that growth comes with loss, and vice versa.
5 | Get to it —
You’ll never know unless you do it. So start small and diversify your investment. Don’t put everything into one fund. Keep an eye on how your stocks are doing — but remember, growth takes time. There are no rules that say you have to invest everything you own. But believe me when I say it feels good to know your knowledgeable and in total control of how much money you’re investing.
Nicole Best is a freelance copywriter and published author living in Los Angeles. Her book of poetry on modern dating culture can be found at independent bookstores locally and in San Francisco. She’s also currently a student at the Uprights Citizen Brigade, where she’s learning to write sketch comedy shows. You can follow her on Instagram at @nikkiibest or follow her poetry at @haikantwithyou.