Before you start investing, here’s what the experts want you to know
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If you’re ready to hit the market, there are a few things the experts want you to know.
Investing is a great way to grow wealth, but you have to be smart about it, says certified financial planner Cathy Curtis, founder and CEO of Curtis Financial Planning in Oakland, Calif.
This means not necessarily following the last hot stock or the last trade.
“A lot of young people have a distorted view of how to invest in the markets,” said Curtis, a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.
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“They invest in IPOs [ initial public offerings]businesses that they find cool,” she added.
“It makes sense for them to buy these things that they see friends and girlfriends using these products, but they don’t necessarily understand if it’s a good investment.”
New investors flooded the market during the pandemic. Some have stacked up under certain names, like meme stocks, or jumped into cryptocurrencies.
While the S&P 500 index ended up up more than 25% in 2021, it’s a different story in 2022, with a decline of around 13% so far for the year. Cryptocurrencies have taken a hit.
That has led to rising skepticism around the markets for younger investors, said financial adviser Mitch Goldberg, president of ClientFirst Strategy in Melville, New York.
“Every generation has to go through this,” he said.
“This generation is no different than what we went through during the technological disaster of 2000,” Goldberg added. “People thought they had it all figured out with the new paradigm.”
Steps to follow
If you have a 401(k) plan, the first thing to do is invest money in it, at least up to the business, Curtis advised.
If that’s not an option, open a Roth Individual Retirement Account. (See income limits here.) The money is paid out after tax, so it grows tax-free and isn’t taxed when you withdraw it. You can also withdraw your contributions at any time, without penalty.
When choosing investments, the best thing to do is to keep it simple. Start by using a diversified fund, like an S&P 500 index fund, Goldberg said. Not only will this help you grow your money in the long run, but it will also help you learn more about the markets.
Remember that history shows that over time the stock market goes up. Since 2009, the S&P 500 has averaged gains of around 15% per year.
Also, set aside money to invest on your paycheck before you start spending, or you’ll be relying on your willpower to do so, Goldberg said.
“If you save and invest the money before spending the rest of your salary, your chances of becoming an investor and accumulating net worth increase dramatically,” he noted.
Finally, don’t dwell on knowing how many you need for retirement at this point, according to Goldberg. It can be overwhelming and prevent you from starting.
“You just have to start small,” he said. “It could be $50, $100 a month or a week just to get used to the idea of having money in another account.”
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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in tassels.