Everyone wants to make money, and more and more people are starting to realise that working a 9-5 is just not going to cut it anymore. But if you don’t have the luxury of running multiple businesses from home, or being your own boss, the easiest way to grow your money is to invest.
Investing is the concept of allocating assets, usually money, into different financial vehicles, such as stocks, bonds or mutual funds, to create a profit. The bare minimum investment should be doing is beating inflation. Inflation is a measure of the rate of rising prices of goods and services in an economy. In short, over time our hard-earned money is worth less, due to the rising cost of products. It sounds somewhat bleak, and with average inflation currently working at 2.5%, the chances of saving decent money in a savings account that offers 0.5% seems slim. But a lot of investments are offering high non-guaranteed returns, often from the rate of 8% upwards. But what are the three things to consider before you put your money into investments.
1. Build an Emergency Fund
At a glance investing may seem like an obvious choice when it comes to saving money. Why not just throw all your savings into investment if it means high returns? The answer is that investment returns are NOT guaranteed- even the safest investments come with some risk, and sometimes the lock in periods are high, or the penalty for withdrawing early is expensive. To ensure that you are not over-investing, make sure that you have an emergency savings fund that is easily accessible. That way, should an emergency arise (like a large hospital bill or having to pay for car repairs), you can use your emergency money instead of jeopardising your investments.
The recommended amount you should have in your emergency fund is 3-6 months of your monthly salary. This should be a healthy buffer should the worst happen. If you already have more than that, then that’s a great time to consider investing.
2. Be Debt-Free
Before you do any investing, you should really consider paying off your debt. Having a credit card bill is fine, but having any large or bad debt will hinder you in your long-term goals. It seems counter-productive attempting to make lots of money with investments, whilst paying off lots of debt. It may be difficult paying off student debt or large loans, but you will reap the benefits in the long run when your debt isn’t eating into your assets.
3. Set Your Investment Goals
This step may seem unnecessary but it is honestly THE most important step- defining your goals. What is the reason for investing? If you are doing it out of pure greed then your judgment will become clouded when it comes to riskier investments and you risk losing it all. So have a long and hard think about why you want to invest. You are putting your money, that you worked hard for, somewhere that could give you high returns, or give you nothing. Therefore, it’s best to have a long think and define some clear goals for your future. Do you want to plan for your retirement? Save for a house? Pass something on to your children? Whatever it is, decide how much you would need and by when. Most investments are a longer-term commitment, so it’s OK to think big. If you have no clue and are just investing for the sake of it, you will quickly lose your drive and passion for making money.
These steps may seem simple, but they really are the key to an effective investment strategy. If you found this article useful, comment below your favourite tip. Don’t forget to share it with your friends who are thinking about investing.