Investment Advice for REAL People

“Investment”. Let’s just take a sec and think about that word, what it evokes.

If the image forming in the ether of your mind looks something like a jowly, whitehaired man, scowling through his glasses, then you know why the idea of “investment” is unrelatable to many within the general populace. How can anyone have time to think about investment, much less actually do it, when you’ve got a job, kids, a whole life just barely not spinning out of control.

I’m here to say that now is the time to invest, even if it’s just a little. When you are young, your money has a lot of time to grow. When you are old and things are slower, you really will wish that you had started now. Luckily, it’s easier than ever to do this. The advice I’m going to give you isn’t the same stuff you see everywhere else. It’s how I personally save a good bit of the money that I put into simple, growing investments for my future and the future of my kids.

  • Max Out the Amount the Government Takes Out of Your Paycheck. Any financial advisor will say that this is bad advice. You could easily have the government take the normal amount, then save the rest in an interest generating account or investment. To this I say: real world. I’m like you. I find a way to spend every bit of money that’s leftover from my bills and mortgage, even when I don’t realize it. By paying too much tax, then getting a big juicy return, I automatically throw that cash into my IRA, which gets it almost to the yearly maximum when my husband and I both contribute. Is it the best way to do this? No. Is it the only way I’ll do it? Yes.
  • Use Automatic Savings Whenever Possible. I love automatic savings like Digit, Mint, and programs through my bank. I’m able to save hundreds of dollars a year, without even trying. That’s because the money is leached out of my account in tiny bursts, sitting in another account where I can’t get my grubby hands on it. Then at the end of the year, I throw it all into my IRA to actually make it to my yearly maximum contribution.
  • Actually Learn Something About Investing. Investing isn’t all about complex strategies and fat men smoking cigars. Sometimes it’s just about prioritizing simple life decisions. One such decision was the one we made to buy our house and stop renting. This way we started to generate equity – that’s wealth. We are considering buying another house and renting it out to yield money to go to college someday for our kid. Buying a house was really inconvenient at the time. We didn’t have time for all the calls, the paperwork. But now that we have over 30% equity in our home, I see that it was the best thing to do. Reading about investment is similar. You don’t have time to read boring books are IRAs and mutual funds. But it’s worth making the time. Even if you only get to understand those two concepts, you’ll be way ahead of the game. Start by reading about debt, and learn how to do away with yours. Seriously, so many people don’t take the time to do this, and they get to a point in life where they really wish they had.

There are lots of other ways to invest, but these are the ones I have meaningfully applied to my life. With time, I hope to learn more, but even having only implemented these, I feel a lot better about my financial future than I did a couple years ago. I wish the same feeling for you and the ones you love.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.