8 things every woman under 30 needs to know about investing

If you’re a woman in your 20s, you probably already understand that your 20s are a seriously defining defining decade. You understand that this is the time to navigate life as it comes and find your footing in all areas. It’s the time to figure out what it is you want to do with your career, what you want in a romantic partner, and really just how to be a fully functional adult. And one major part of adulthood is understanding money matters, including how saving and investing can help you secure the financial stability you so desperately need.

To help get you on your way, we’ve found a few things every woman under 30 should know about investing. You may already be saving for the future, but are you doing all you can?

There’s no time like the present to start investing in your future.

Now, we’re not saying you should expect to have everything together right now. That’s true for basically every area of your life. So it’s not like you need to be an investment master before you hit 30, but with these tips, you’ll see that it’s easier to get started than you may think. Sure, we don’t want to think about getting older, but it’s going to eventually happen, and when it does, we’ll want to retire. And if we’re going to pull that off, we’ll need some way of maintaining our lives and the lives of those we’re responsible for. “It’s never too early to start investing, and you don’t need much to invest in your future,” Brandon Krieg, of personal investing app Stash, writes.

“It’s important that Millennials go beyond the common YOLO mentality and start preparing for their older years — even starting with $5 is better than investing nothing at all.

1You can totally start small.

When people hear the word “investing”, they often immediately assume that in order to get a piece of the pie, they’ll need to acquire a large sum of cash before making their first investment. But Ed Robinson feels differently, so much so, in fact, that he created an app that actually helps you start investing with as little as $5. Ed, the President and Co-Founder of Stash, says, “There is no set amount of money that you need to invest. If you aren’t comfortable investing, start small, with as little as $5, and learn as you go.”

2Pay off any high interest debts first.

According to Daniel Cross of MoneyUnder30, many people hesitate when it comes to investing because they’ve acquired quite a bit of debt, particularly credit card debt. Since this kind of debt carries a high interest rate and a minimum balance to pay monthly, ignoring it could keep you living a paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, unable to save. Cross says, “In almost every case, paying off the credit card is a better decision than investing and accepting a lower rate of return than feeding the insatiable interest rate on the card.”

3Should you do research on your own or get an advisor?

We know the idea of investing and trying to secure a more financially stable future for yourself can seem a little intimidating. But with all the financial planning resources available online, you could simply do your research without hiring a financial advisor (although sometimes, it’s really necessary to get help from an actual human person).

Lauren Lyons Cole, who is LearnVest’s in-house Certified Financial Planner, says you should consider working with an FA if you recently came into a lot of money, if you’re prepared to put in the effort, if have an aging parent, or if you earn more than $250,000. Or if you’d really just prefer to have a professional answer all your questions.

4Automation is your friend.

When it comes to money matters, automation is your friend. We’re sure you know how easy it is to have money automatically transferred to your savings account before you have the chance to spend it. Well, the same applies to investing. “Have a portion — even the smallest amount counts — of your paycheck autodrafted to go directly into funding a 401(k) or an IRA,” Tim Stewart, Head of Business Development at HD Vest Financial Services and Tax Act, says. “If you don’t see the money ‘go into your wallet,’ it won’t be as hard to ‘watch it go out’ into your savings or investing tools.”

5Try to avoid picking individual stock.

Sure, picking up individual stocks may seem tempting, but it probably won’t work out further down the line. “Try to stay away from picking individual stocks — that runs risks similar to gambling. Make sure you are investing with low-cost investments — ETFs and low-cost mutual funds,” Michelle McKinnon, CFP®, senior wealth advisor at Payne Capital Management, and host of the $mart Women podcast told Bustle.

6Invest in what you already buy.

When it comes to investing Matt Reiner, CEO and co-founder of Wela, believes it’s best to invest in the companies you already know and support. “Invest in things you know and interact with,” he says. “Look at places you buy goods and services from, as well as applications you use, and buy those companies. You’re helping yourself with your investments when you buy the products and you understand the business.” By buying goods from and using the services of the companies you already have money invested in, you’re essentially helping your money grow.

7Create a diversified portfolio.

You’ve probably heard the saying a time or two: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” And when it comes to investing, this is seriously good advice. You should be trying investing in a variety of assets. Sam Seiden, Chief Education Officer for Online Trading Academy, suggests diversifying your portfolio. That way (if you’re lucky) all your stocks won’t ever find themselves heading downward at the same time. When you diversify, if one of two items in your stock portfolio takes a dive while the others are skyrocketing, you will still be in good standing.

“If you have too many stocks in one or two sectors, such as banking, raw materials or energy — or if you have your money in only one or two stocks — and that sector or those few stocks nosedive, your portfolio will, too, he said.

All that said, if you’re still unable to start investing your money, it’s all good, girl. Start thinking of yourself as a financial asset and invest in yourself. That’s one investment that’s guaranteed amazing returns. 2018 will be your year!

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