For many, even hearing the word investing seems like a frightening proposition filled with great risk and little reward. While investing your hard earned money certainly involves patience and a willingness to learn some key principles, it does not have to be the intimidating process that many make it out to be. According to research, there are four concerns people often cite when choosing not to invest: lack of knowledge or experience, lack of pricing transparency, distrust of the financial industry and the sheer complexity of investing. Below, we discuss ways to conquer each of these concerns and begin investing well.
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE/EXPERIENCE
We can’t sit here and act like investing is a walk in the park. It takes time, patience and at least a general understanding of some finance and investment principles. However, you do not need to have your MBA or have worked in finance for 10 years to grasp the fundamentals of investing. Luckily, we live in an age where you have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. A simple internet search can return articles, blogs, podcasts and more that discuss concepts such as long-term compounding of returns or diversification to lower risk. Solid research combined with common sense can put you well on your way to investing sensibly.
LACK OF PRICING TRANSPARENCY
Surely, there are often additional charges, such as fixed index annuities and variable annuities, that can seem confusing or excessive when considering the cost of investing. However, there are plenty of investment structures out there with clearly defined and labeled fees. Sites like morningstar.com allow you to search for investment quotes and discover the annual expenses and sales charges associated with that fund, providing you with a clear directive and comparison to invest where it makes the most sense for you.
DISTRUST OF THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY
Markets shift on a daily, sometimes even hourly basis, and there are financial advisers out there who take advantage of people’s lack of knowledge, so while a dose of skepticism may be healthy when you begin investing, it should not stop you entirely. If you understand upfront that the markets will indeed fluctuate, sometimes dramatically, so you must remain patient, and know that every investment firm may not have your best interest in mind, you will enter the market cautiously and avoid falling into unknown investment traps.
COMPLEXITY OF INVESTING
Many financial firms will advise a plan of constantly scanning the market and jumping in and out of funds based on new data to be the smartest investor, a process that truly does sound complicated and confusing. However, while this process may work for some, it is not a one-size-fits-all formula. There are a variety of options, from total stock or bond market index funds to target fund portfolios, where you can build wealth for your future with less hassle and constant shifting.
Many let the fear of failure stop them from even trying, but you don’t have to let your fears control you. Be smart, consider your options and do some solid research to mitigate uncertainties, then get those feet wet and start planning and investing for your future, today.