Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Valuable and Timely Advice

If I were you--assuming you're younger than 40--and if I had any extra cash (aye, there's the rub), I'd open an investment account ASAP and start investing in either individual stocks and/or mutual funds. There is no better time than now, especially if you're in your 20's.

The advice I give to all young people is SAVE NOW, NOW!!! I mean NOW!!! Even if it's "only" $50 a month..or whatever you can afford to save! Forget about waiting til later because you'll have to save even MORE later due to compounding interest, inflation, whatever. I'm no expert, but all I do know is, I started saving from the time I started working parttime in high school. My husband and I started investing when we were in our 20's with the help of a "financial advisor" from what is now Ameriprise (I'll be happy to refer anyone!). We knew nothing and still know very little about the stock market or mutual funds, but yet today we are "comfortable" despite never having high paying jobs.

Now that the stock market is in the dumps, we lost almost half of the value of our investments and yes, it's scary, but I haven't taken out a single dollar because I'm confident it will eventually be worth it to wait. This is why, for the new investors, it's such a great opportunity. You get to buy in at super low prices.

I recommend talking to an advisor (ours doesn't charge anything as he gets paid by Ameriprise) or you could even open and manage your own online account. For individual stock advice, Jim Jubak at is pretty good. I wish I had listened to him when he advised switching to cash last year!!

If you do plan to invest, do so gradually, do not plunk a chunk in the market all at once tomorrow. As all advisors recommend, invest a little every month to take advantage of "dollar cost averaging."

Once again... do not wait. You'll thank me later, believe me! (By the way, I get nothing for linking to Jim Jubak.)

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