Ready to Invest? Consider This First.

When it comes to investing, we're all a little like Adam Sandler's character in "The Wedding Singer," who said, "I'm a big fan of money. ...I have a little. I keep it in a jar on top of my refrigerator. I'd like to put more in that jar."

If you're ready to put a bit more in that "jar," here are four things for you to think about that will help you to plan how to take the plunge into investing. (Believe it or not, it's easier than you think!)

Where's The Money Coming From?

When you ask yourself this question: "Do I have the money within my current budget to invest?" -- make sure the answer is yes.

Investing is not without risks, even for those who have expendable income. It's even riskier to take money that's needed for the household -- or that's being held in savings as an emergency cushion for expenses -- and invest it with the hope that it will bear abundant fruit and supplement your income. It sounds like common sense, but you'd be surprised how many folks invest dollars needed elsewhere in a gamble to make more.

We feel it's a great tidbit of advice that bears repeating: do not invest unless it is well within your budget to do so.

If it's clear that there's not enough extra to safely start investing: design a plan to start saving. Maybe it's forgoing that daily cup of Starbucks and socking away those dollars, or maybe it's brown bagging your lunch a few days a week. Use the savings to build a dedicated account with which to start your investing.

Know Your Goal

When you're financially comfortable enough, consider your investment goals. Goals keep us on track when working towards something specific (like making it through Thanksgiving dinner without blowing up at your mother-in-law's "advice..."), and having a goal when you're considering investing is a great way to create a road map to success. 

Step back a minute and ask yourself: why am I investing?  Sure, we know you want to make money.  But where is that money going to eventually end up?  Buying a house?  Starting your kids' college funds?  Planning to retire?  Know where you want to go, and it will be easier to figure out how to get there.

Do Your Homework

While you're saving and setting your goals, start doing your homework. Learn the basics of investing -- and what options are out there for you -- before handing over your money.

Look at it this way: you would not want to start a new job without some form of orientation or training.  Why would you start putting money at risk without knowing the ins and outs of where it's going?  It's a no-brainer: follow the advice you give to your kiddos on a nightly basis and do that homework.

We'll be featuring several great articles on MomVesting to start you off -- read up on financial definitions, whether or not you'll need a money manager, what some safe "first steps" in investing are, and more, coming up on MomVesting.

This article appears in the Carnival of Personal Finance. Be sure to head over there to read more great personal finance articles.

Anonymous's picture

Carnival of Personal Finance #281: Halloween Candy Edition wrote:

Mon, 11/01/2010 - 10:44 Comment #: 1

[...] [...]

Anonymous's picture

What’s in Your Wallet? | Money Smart Life wrote:

Mon, 11/08/2010 - 05:31 Comment #: 2

[...] Ready to Invest? Consider This First. @ Momvesting– Low-Risk Investment Planning @ The Oblivious Investor– The Secret To [...]

Anonymous's picture

Briana @ GBR wrote:

Tue, 11/09/2010 - 19:34 Comment #: 3

This post was just for me. I'm considering investing, but there's so many options, and I don't want to make a mistake. I'm doing my homework and considering starting with Lending Club, or something of that nature, and of course having someone else handle investing my 401k/IRA money.

Jessica Schmeidler's picture

Jessica Schmeidler wrote:

Wed, 11/10/2010 - 15:21 Comment #: 4

Briana,

It sounds like you have your head on straight, so you're already ahead of the game for most. Hehe.

Here at MomVesting, we're starting from the ground up on investing, so stick with us, and we'll help you with some of that homework. ;o)

Just keep contributing to your 401K; it sounds like you're already onto a great start.

Anonymous's picture

Creating A Product From Experience wrote:

Mon, 01/03/2011 - 15:09 Comment #: 5

[...] Ready to Invest? Consider This First – Don’t throw your money at investing. Things to consider before you invest. [...]

Anonymous's picture

Women and Finances: Getting Started Budgeting and Investing wrote:

Wed, 01/18/2012 - 21:15 Comment #: 6

[...] Are you ready to invest? Here's what you need to know to make sure. [...]

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