by Gorica Gligorijevic
Getting started investing can be very easy and smooth since you need a little money to start. Investing is better than savings accounts because it can shorten the period of earning.
You know what, when I was just a little girl (my grandma used to sing this) my parents gave a lot of effort to teach me how to save money. Grandparents would like to give me money for some holidays with advice to keep it for rainy days. I had my savings account. From time to time, they would put some money there but most of the time they insisted I have to put. And I did it. Not frequently, I have to admit, but still. With time that habit got strong roots. Every month I’d put 10% of my earnings on my savings account. I am still doing the same. That first savings account is my 10%-account.
No matter how big or small portion is. 10% would every time end there.
I can only speak from personal experience but I am sure that other people could easily find themselves in the same situation.
I am not going to give you advice because I know that is almost impossible to put anything on your savings when you are living paycheck to paycheck. Yes, the amount of money that the majority have available to spend every month is insufficient to put something aside. Despite the old saying about money: If you save me today, I’ll save you tomorrow.
But we all know how important is to have something aside. And it is possible. Let me show you how.
Okay, do you know the rule “pay yourself first”?
Yes, starting this is hard. But do you understand the meaning of this rule? Of course, you do but why not tell it again. This means you have to put on your savings every month some amount of money. It doesn’t matter how much it is. A few dollars, or other currency you have. Just when you get your salary, put aside several coins. Every month. And you will see, that amount will grow with time. Try this. I am not going to tell how should you spend this money. You may have enough for exotic travel, or to buy a car, or after some time you may have enough for house buying deposit. Just start.
No, I will never tell you to live below your means.
Sacrificing isn’t a good way to save anything except life. If you try this method, living below your means, you will be unhappy and you will always have the feeling that something was taken from you. It can be a trigger for something more serious. But, anyway, try not to purchase the famous brands, too expensive things. Do it occasionally if it makes you happy. But don’t let it be your goal. Life is a lot more than brands.
Create a budget
What you can do is to make a budget frame. It is a smart idea to write down the amount of money you have every month. You can do that in some excel spreadsheet, or just in some memo. Also, there is a lot of money management apps you can use. OK, that’s the first step. The next is to subtract all the costs you have, for example, taxes, debts, loans if you have (don’t worry, we all have), etc. What you have in your hands after these deductions is your net income. This is the amount you have to use as a base for creating your budget. So, track your spending to be able to make some adjustments if it is necessary and possible, of course. You should review your budget from time to time to be sure you are on a good track.
Getting started investing
Do you know that your money can work for you? Yes. Let’s assume that after one year of saving you have enough for exotic travel. Why do you need to make it right now? Go somewhere else and save e.g. $1.000 on your trip. That amount is more than enough for getting started off investing. You can do that with less money, here you will find how. You can choose to invest in some mutual funds (it is probably the best for starting), or stocks, or real estate. By investing you will generate greater return than your money sleeping in your savings account. If you invest in something you will let your money work for you. The whole process may be done with your banker’s help. Your bank has financial advisors, investment advisors, they will tell you where to invest. Or you can engage some brokers.
The advantages of investing
One of the main advantages of investment is that you can have your money work for you to earn more. Let’s say this way. You don’t need to work more to earn more. Your investment will that for you. Investing could bring you a higher living standard, for example.
Further, you can apply investment plans for saving and growing money. The best part of investing is that you can be a long-term investor and money earned from investments can be spent to cover future expenses, for example, for your retirement, or buying a house, new car, your children’s higher education costs, or just you want to have more.
It is important for you to understand that investing isn’t gambling.
You can make a profit on investment due to research and careful choice of a suitable investment vehicle. It isn’t betting. The truth is that you can make losses in the market. That’s the reason to make less risky investments. Never mind if they have lower returns. Stay on them until you find yourselves capable to play riskier. That time may never come. You can stay in safe investments for your whole life. It is OK.
In that way, you will protect your property in the long run.
So, you can see that getting started investing isn’t always the hardest part. It can be very easy and smooth. You just need a little money to start. At least if you have some targeted amount you have to save in some period, investing will short that period. You’ll be able to gain it sooner. Sounds good, don’t you think?