How To Get Started With Your Investment Program

by The Smarter Wallet on March 22, 2011

We all know we should invest for the future, but thinking about it and actually doing it can be poles apart. If you have an aversion to getting your investment plans in order, this may be the reason why you’re unable to move ahead.

How To Get Started With Your Investment Program

The following tips could point the way to any problems you might have, so read through them and you could find your investment plans become more of a reality in the near future.

Don’t think of investing as dull and boring.
Even if you think that investing is dry fodder, it will do you good to focus on the positive aspects of growing your money. Sure, some people think that investments are pretty boring. But in reality, you have to break through the boredom in order to start investing and to get to the results you want –- which is to have money socked away for your future needs.

Work on your investment goals.
A lot of new investors wonder how to start. Focus on the emergency fund first, then you can think about investing in more detail. You should think about ensuring you have some money tucked away that you can get to in a hurry if you need to. After this, you need to begin by figuring out what your investment goals are and how much risk you are willing to take. In my case, I got pretty excited when I learned that I could actually make my money work for me for my longer term goals. For instance, you might want to find the incentive to begin saving or investing for the future by some form of visualization. You may start dreaming about an around the world trip in 5 years or a new car in 3 years. How about that new house in 10 years? Well, it starts with that kind of nugget of thought. Now suppose you are aiming for a comfortable retirement — everyone I know is after this particular goal. Then tax advantaged savings should always be a priority, since no one wants to pay more in tax than is absolutely necessary.

Are you at a loss as to where you should begin? This happens to most people at one point or another. But you have to get past that point in order to progress. If you really don’t have a clue about investing, start reading up on the basics. There are savings accounts, stocks and a myriad of short term, medium term and long term investments. Just finding out the options might present some possibilities to you that you can then work with.

Determine how much you want to invest.
It’s no good looking into the possibility of investing in stocks unless you have the cash or disposable income to make it worthwhile. Consider how to make more money and free some more cash if you don’t have enough to fund your investment plans. So how are you going to allot your funds to your investment program? Try some of these ideas to get some extra money in. They may seem like small potatoes but things can build up over time. You can also use an automatic investment program such as the one offered by ShareBuilder, which allows you to invest little amounts at a time:

If you’re interested in learning more about Sharebuilder, you can read our Sharebuilder review here. You can also get started with investing by checking out our favorite online stock brokers here.

In any event, the rule you need to remember most of all is that you should start thinking about investing for your future as soon as you possibly can. The longer you put it off, the less time you will have to accumulate the kind of money you would like to have later in life. In particular, be aware of the power of compounding. You’ll find that the earlier you start investing, the better this law can work for you. The later you invest, the less chance (and time) for your money to grow.

The key here is to get started investing by doing things piecemeal, if need be. Save for an emergency fund. When you have additional money, start looking to create a diversified portfolio that uses asset allocation principles. Build your main asset classes gradually. You can create a stock portfolio, bond portfolio and have some left over for other investments such as precious metals.

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