I Want to Invest: Where Do I Start? Who Do I Speak To?
Most of us were not taught about personal investing, either at home or in school—but it’s never too late to learn! Where do you start? Who do you speak to? This article provides a step-by-step process, along with a bonus tip on an investing habit that will almost effortlessly contribute to your long-term financial wellbeing.
1. Start Today
“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now” (ancient proverb).
Understand the importance of investing today and “start” —because the greatest attribute of investing is compounding.
2. Have a Plan
What to invest in? Don’t invest in anything until you have established a clear investment plan.
“The best way to measure your investing success is not by whether you’re beating the market but by whether you’ve put in place a financial plan and a behavioral discipline that are likely to get you where you want to go.” – Benjamin Graham.
You may have accumulated a lump sum amount of money you wish to invest, but are unsure of how to formulate a comprehensive investment plan for your current financial situation and future financial goals. Your personal life may already be overly busy with family, work, home and recreation. There is no extra time to formulate an applicable investment plan on your own. If this sounds like you, proceed to step 3.
3. Ask for Help
If you knew what to do, then chances are that you would be doing it already. Look to a trusted investment professional such as an investment manager who will take into consideration all of your financial needs, concerns and goals to formulate your personalized investment plan and who will then manage your investments for you.
4. Set Yourself up for Success
How do you avoid the temptation of going against your investment plan and dipping into your long-term investments for short-term needs? Establish the required vehicles for financial contingencies. Make sure you have adequate life, health and dental insurance for you and your family. Set up an emergency fund that covers at least three-to-six months of regular monthly expenses.
5. Follow Through with Your Investment Plan
After that, simply stick to your investment plan.
Don’t touch your long-term investments once you have made them, no matter what is happening in the markets or what the investment media are saying day-to-day. Don’t let your emotions control your decisions. Ignore short-term ups and downs in your investments. All of this will help you avoid the pitfalls of market timing which usually results in buying investments at the top of the market and selling them at the bottom.
By following through with your investment plan you will not only be paying yourself forward but will also benefit effortlessly from the power of compounding.
Bonus Tip: Use This Investing Habit
There will always be regular monthly expenses. And there will always be unplanned expenses—something you want to buy goes on sale, a gift is purchased to mark an unexpected life event, or, less happily, you have to pay unforeseen medical, dental, car maintenance or house maintenance costs.
Expenses seem to follow a version of Parkinson’s Law whereby work increases to utilize available time: expenses increase to consume available money. Even with a strict budget, excess money in the form of windfalls, pay raises or more efficient spending is often thought of as money available to be spent rather than saved.
How do you avoid unwittingly following this law?
Each month, pay your future self a salary by setting money aside for investing. This can be a fixed amount, or better yet a percentage of your monthly income which will proportionately increase as your income increases.
This becomes your investment allocation and, subconsciously, a component of your “regular monthly expense.” You will thank yourself in years to come.
The Bottom Line
Bloom Investment Counsel, Inc. understands that investing choices can be overwhelming. Most exposure to investment media only compounds the confusion and makes it preferable to put off committing to regular investing until you can educate yourself fully—which somehow never happens. That’s why we are here to help.
For over 36 years, Bloom Investment Counsel, Inc. has been providing actively managed investment portfolios for wealthy individuals, family offices, foundations, corporations, institutions and trusts.
Our investment philosophy is clear and concise—we are committed to protecting, preserving and building clients’ wealth, one portfolio at a time.
If you are interested in having your own customized, individualized investment portfolio with personal attention from your portfolio manager, skip the third-parties—let’s talk. Not quite there yet? No problem—learn more about our investment service and our specialty focus on dividend-paying stocks, which has helped provide our clients with the confidence to invest in the stock market.
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This content is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, investment, tax, legal or accounting advice nor does it constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities referred to. Individual circumstances and current events are critical to sound investment planning; anyone wishing to act on this content should consult with his or her financial partner or advisor.