If you are a college student or recent graduate, this article is for you. I am sort of a nerd, and lately, I’ve been reading a book on body language. In What Every Body is Saying, our body language relates to our fight or flight mechanism, except there is a third “f.” Freeze.
Our brains automatically go into one of three responses to a threat. We either fight, flight (run away) or freeze. With investing, many people start by defaulting to the freeze response.
If you are a college student or recent graduate, the freeze response could be costing you a small fortune. Compound interest is so powerful; it almost doesn’t matter how much money you invest as long as you start young.
To help you get past the freeze response, I want to help you make investing easy. Investing should follow the KISS principle of keep it stupid simple. Once you have a simplify your investing you can move forward without fear. Here are four tips to make your investment decisions stupid simple.
Sometimes a feeling of inadequacy causes us to freeze and not invest. Yes. It would be nice to be able to put away 20% of your income, but you do not have to start that high. You can get there.
Pick an amount you feel you can handle but is also a little uncomfortable for you — something just outside your comfort zone. This way, you will grow and also be able to commit to making this contribution in the long run.
Increase Your Contributions Regularly
Now that you’ve made a small and slightly uncomfortable contribution for a little while, you need to increase how much you are saving. By now, you will have learned that you can handle this contribution without noticing it. So now, let’s contribute more.
Increase your contributions every six months. Increasing your contributions will keep you just outside your comfort zone and help you accumulate real wealth.
Make It Automatic
Many employers offer a retirement plan, and this should be your first place to invest. If we are trying to make things stupid simple, we are less concerned with how good the investments in the retirement plan are and more concerned with making investing easy.
Nothing is easier than having the contributions come directly from your paycheck. When you automate the process, you take willpower and decision making out of the picture.
If you do not have a retirement plan, most mutual fund companies offer monthly investment programs. Here at Family Life Financial, we have a program that you can start with no minimum contribution or account size. Contact us or contact a mutual fund company like Vanguard and get started today.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to picking investments, we all want the best rate of return possible, but something is better than nothing. You cannot let the fear of making a mistake allow you to miss out.
If we are going to keep things simple, simple investments are what we want. Anything you cannot understand the basic concept of, you should avoid it. This means products like life insurance and annuities are the opposite of what you want. Instead, you want to look toward mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETF’s.
Mutual funds and ETF’s investments are investments that are funded by many investors with similar investment goals. They allow you to buy stock in many different companies without having a small fortune to invest.
The most simple of a mutual fund is called index funds. Index funds are some of the least expensive, and many companies offer them. If you are looking to start investing, an index is a great place to start.
With these four tips, you can make simple investing decisions that you will not regret. If you want help getting an account opened and picking the right mutual funds, we love working with new investors. You can schedule an appointment today to get started.