We are going to be working on your first investing challenge by working on your investment objectives!
This is challenge 1 of 4 in the investing series.
Note: If you are outside of the U.S. be sure to research the equivalents in your country for the tools/suggestions mentioned throughout this investing series.
Let's start at the very beginning though.......why does investing matter?
If you don't already know, when it comes to growing your money over the long term and building real wealth, investing is how you do it and although investing comes with a certain level of risk, it is the rich get rich and stay rich. However, for many people investing seems complicated and confusing but it really isn't.
You can invest in a variety of ways and the 3 major ways are
- In the stock market
- In real estate and
- In business
In this investing series we'll be focusing on the stock market.
One way to approach thinking about investing
You can think of investing similar to this example - If you were move to a country where you don't speak the language and you needed to get directions, at first it could be very frustrating. You wouldn't understand where people were telling you to go, you'd probably get lost or it would take you a lot longer to get to your destination. For many people this is ok, they can live in a different country for years and never learn how to say anything other than the basic greeting.
But then imagine you decide to take things into your own hands and fully experience all this new country has to offer. You buy a language dictionary and then you start taking language classes. After a few weeks or months you'll be able to piece together phrases and then full sentences and before you know it you are speaking the language fluently without giving it a second thought - Investing is very similar.
It takes time to learn, but with consistently, you can get the hang of it and grow your money.
Defining your investment objectives
It's important to plan to invest long term and it's equally important to clearly define your investment objectives so you can lay out the right investment plan for yourself and in relation to your financial goals.
Important to note: If you will need the money you are thinking of investing in 5 years or less, then you should not be investing it. Why? Investments take time to grow and 5 years or less may not be enough to weather a bad economy and so if you choose to withdraw your money too soon, you could potentially be taking a loss.
Over the long term however, the market tends to smooth out and historical return averages from the stock market are around ~8% - much better than the pitiful savings account interest rates and don't forget the power of compounding!
So back to your objectives!
Your investment objectives are basically want you want your money to be able to accomplish for you with growth in the long term. Examples include things like retirement, your child's education, creating a family legacy to be passed through generations, buying your dream house etc.
Once you've defined your objectives you'll need to do the following:
- Assign a date to your objectives (e.g. retirement by age 65) and determine the number of years you have to save.
- Determine how much you want to (realistically) save in total.
- Break things down into how much you need to be saving each month for each objective to be met.
Here's a great calculator from Dave Ramsey that can help you with your calculations!
Don't worry if the numbers are lower than you imagined when you lay things out realistically (due to debt and other financial obligations). You can always readjust your objectives over time as you are able to save more.
Also if you have high interest debt (consumer loans, credit cards etc) you want to make sure you focus on paying off this debt as quickly as possible before you ramp up on investing. You can start with making small investment contributions and then ramp up after your debt is gone.
Your challenge this week is to use the downloadable worksheet on this page to create your investment objectives and work on the steps listed above.
P.S. Don't forget to share your progress in the Facebook group!
It's week 14 of The 26 week savings challenge!
This week, your savings deposit amount is $55.00
(If you've been consistent with your deposits, this week's deposit will bring your balance to $406!)
- Make your transfer.
- Check off this week's amount on your savings challenge schedule.
- Share your progress in the Facebook group!
Note: This challenge will be on-going throughout this accountability program in addition to your other weekly challenges.