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How to Invest Your Money for the First Time

If you want to learn about investing money here are tips on how to invest your money for the first time.

Are you a newbie when it comes to investing money?  If so the idea of putting your money into the stock market can be overwhelming, confusing, exciting and extremely addictive.  Are you wondering how to invest your money?

If you have some cash saved up and want to invest here are some tips to get you started.

Don’t pay a fee

Just like anything in life there is no point in paying a fee until you’re sure you are happy with the service.  Hiring an investment advisor or paying for a discount brokerage service is not worth it for first time investors.  Paying a fee is only worth it if you’re making a profit that covers the fee and then some.  If you’re starting out with a small amount of cash just do it yourself.

Research your options

You may be thinking, how can I do it myself if I don’t know anything about investing money?  Well that’s a great question.  You’ll do it the exact same way anyone does, you’ll learn.  If you are looking to buy mutual funds or ETFs look at the fund facts.  If the investment objectives match yours and the level of risk is one that you’re comfortable with then that may be the right investment option for you.

Talk to your bank

A good place to start learning how to invest your money is at your bank.  Talk to a personal banker to get some recommendations and learn about the different types of options available when it comes to investing money for the first time. From there you can go home and research your options.  Before you know it you’ll be on your way to buying your first investment.

Think about your comfort with risk

There are all kinds of different investments in the world.  Some are high risk such as stocks and precious metals and some are low risk such as bonds and money market funds.  Stocks are probably not the best choice for your first investment.  Just because it’s called the stock market doesn’t mean you have to buy stocks.  Stocks invest in one company and that’s a lot of risk for your first investment.

An alternative is to purchase mutual funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs).  These are investments that purchase individual stocks and bonds to create one diverse investment.  Purchasing several different mutual funds or ETFs within your account makes a well balanced portfolio.

Just do what makes you comfortable

You may be nervous about investing money for the first time, but don’t.  At the end of the day you need to do what’s right for you and sometimes that means starting small and purchasing more investments as you become more comfortable over time.

Don’t jump into anything – especially with your money – before researching your options and seeking the advice of a professional at your local bank.  Just remember that most investments aren’t guaranteed and therefore the value of your account will fluctuate day to day.  How much it fluctuates depends on how comfortable you are with taking risk.  That’s probably slim to none at the beginning.

 

5 Simple Ways Millennials Can Improve Their Credit Health

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Today’s post was created in partnership with Credit Sesame.

To say that millennials have a complicated relationship with credit is putting it lightly. According to Avant, the typical 18 to 34-year-old has a credit score of 625 and they’re using 43% of their total credit limit.

Those numbers don’t add much to millennials’ appeal, at least where lenders are concerned. That translates to higher rate interest rates on what they borrow, assuming that they’re able to get approved for a loan in the first place.

Good credit health is a must for any millennial who’s interested in buying a car, getting a mortgage or refinancing their student loans. If you’re ready to see your score climb, here are five steps for getting your credit in shape.

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How to Plan a Wedding on a Small Budget

If You're Planning Your Special Day Here's How to Plan a Wedding on a Small Budget

If you’re planning on getting married this spring you may be trying to plan the best party the most economical way possible.  Let’s not kid ourselves, weddings and everything that comes with them can be expensive.  So how can you plan a wedding on a small budget?

The secret is to plan ahead, don’t rush, try to DIY what you can and after you’re done planning your dream wedding with all the trimmings just cut, cut, cut until you have a plan that fits into your budget.

Here are some tips to help you plan a wedding on a small budget:

Don’t get married in the spring or summer

If you want to get married in peak wedding season you’ll have to pay a hefty price for the church, hall, flowers, photographer and DJ.  Keep in mind that your happily ever after doesn’t have to start right away.  Putting off your wedding date for a few months can help save big bucks.

Consider a destination wedding

If you plan a destination wedding the price tag won’t be any more (or won’t be much more) than the price of a trip for two.  You can also stay at the destination after your family and friends leave and enjoy your honeymoon.  There are resorts who cater to brides and grooms, so shop around or ask a travel agent to help find a destination wedding that you can afford.

Skip the big poufy dress

Don’t say yes to the dress.  Why someone would pay thousands of dollars on one piece of clothing that they are going to wear only one time is beyond me.  I understand that you want to look beautiful while walking down the aisle wearing your wedding dress, but that only lasts a few seconds.  The aftermath of being in debt once your wedding is over can last a very long time.

DIY your wedding invitations

Save the dates, wedding invitations and RSVPs can be expensive.  Let’s save all that money and spend it on something that you really want to be great such as the DJ and food at the reception.  Wedding invitations don’t have to cost a fortune, if you have a Saturday afternoon to spare they can actually be quite inexpensive to make.  Grab your friends and have  a DIY wedding invitation party to help cross that task off your list.

Decorate with your bridesmaids

A hall doesn’t need to be lit up with diamonds and gold chandeliers.  If you add flowers, candles and bright table cloths to match your wedding party colors the ambiance can look like a million bucks on a small budget.  Ask your bridesmaids to help decorate the hall before your big day.

It shouldn’t take too long and all it will cost is the price of materials.  I especially appreciate a handmade centerpiece.  There’s nothing worse than a big vase of flowers in the way while trying to make conversation with other guests over dinner.

If you have taken all these tips on how to plan a wedding on a small budget and you still have a soiree that you can’t really afford the only thing left to do is cut down your guest list.  Think Carrie Bradshaw in the Sex and the City movie.  Trust me they will understand.

 

How to Manage Your Money as a Newlywed Couple

4 Ways to Manage Your Money as a Newlywed Couple During The First Year of Marriage.

Wedding season is upon us and that means couples all around the country are saying “I do” and starting their happily ever after.  As your lives merge from two into one you’ll need to decide where to live, how to raise your children and most importantly how to manage your money as a newlywed couple.

Money is the backbone of any good relationship.  Why?  Because everything we do in life from how we live, what we eat and where we travel revolves around money.  Not all couples are wealthy, the majority probably aren’t.  But that doesn’t mean you don’t need to manage your money together.

If you’re a newlywed, here are some tips on how to manage your money:

Do it together

Some couples choose to keep their money separate in individual accounts and each contribute towards the monthly household expenses.

That can work for some couples, but as a financial planner and one half of a long time couple I feel that doing things together makes a stronger couple.  If there are conflicts you can work through them together and your money as well as your marriage may be better because of it.

Be open about differences

The worst thing you can do for your couple’s money is try to push your habits onto someone else, that only works for children.  Adults have already grown into the person they are going to be and trying to change them can only put a wedge between the two of you.

Be open about your differences and be willing to lend a helping hand, but let your spouse figure out how to change their habits on their own.  That could mean talking to a professional at your local bank about investing, getting advice from a credit counsellor on how to pay off debt or signing up for a budgeting tool to track your spending.

Talk openly about your goals

If you want to work towards a goal such as buying a new car or new furniture for your home talk about it so you can save together.  Sometimes conflict arises when one spouse carries the financial burden on their shoulders.

If you are open about your expectations there will be no surprises when it comes to spending money.  It’s also always better to over communicate, sometimes to the point of annoyance.  That’s how I prefer it.

Make big decisions as a couple

Whether it’s buying new appliances or applying for a new credit card talk about your goals with your spouse and make big decisions as a couple.  This is why it’s important to be open about your saving and spending habits as well as your short term and long term goals.

The last thing you want is to make a big decision that affects you both financially and your spouse isn’t on the same page.  That can lead to misunderstandings, conflict and resentment.  After you say “I do” just remember that there is no more “I” in your newlywed couple.