I subscribe to Dave Ramsey's newsletter. He gives great advice in regards to money matters. Even with the current economic crisis.
Personally, I will never again invest in another mutual fund or individual stock. I'm in my late 60's and I've lost most of my lifetime investments. Too many fees, and in some cases too much fraud and too much uncertainty for me to deal with and still sleep at night. I don't even encourage my kids to invest in them. I've sacrificed and invested most of my adult life and have very little to show for it.
I'm currently researching other places to put my money such as bonds, etc. I've always put my money in mutual funds so that's all I know. I've decided there must be a better way. I've also found that relying on financial planners for advice is oftentimes not such a good idea. Most will put your money in places that earn them the biggest commission. Yes, I sound really negative but I'm also hopeful. I live a fugal life style and refuse to go into debt.
Look up Scott Burns' Couch Potato portfolio.
He has an investment column in the newspaper, and has this tested, updated easy method on
As everyone has indicated, the best way to invest a small amount of money is via mutual funds. But what has not been mentioned is that it is best to do invest in mutual funds via IRA account. There are several reasons for this:
* IRA accounts protect your earnings from taxes. Non-IRA funds usually have annual tax requirements and this will decrease your earnings and the growth of your funds. But funds in an IRA account will grow tax free and have accelerated growth.
* Usually IRA funds have lower minimum requirements than other mutual funds. Some mutual funds will require you to have a minimum investment of $2500. But funds in an IRA account will usually be much less.
Fidelty has a huge range of funds on offer. I suggest that you contact them to ask about minimums, etc.
A really interesting and easy to follow plan is "The Automatic Millionare" by David Bach.
If you have an hour or two to spare one day, go to te library or a nationwide 'trendy' bookstore. Grab this book , and curl up in one of the plush chairs for awhile. (I get most of my reading done this way for free)
This plan is very easy to follow and once you set it up, it requires very little maintenance. What I like about it is that its automatic. I don't have to have any will power or budgetting sense. I make the decision to save money one time and then poof, I'm saving $200+/month without even realizing it.
Its not about investing a one-time-one-lump-sum commitment. This is the worst mistake that most people make. By investing slowly, and consistently, you can take advantage of compound interest, and weather the storm of market fluctuations.
Read the book. Its not a scheme. Its not a get rich quick flashy gimmick. This is a plan that ANYONE can do that works.
Once your debt is paid off, you can invest in a DRIP account with Sharebuilder. Super easy to set up an account, can invest as little as $5.00 at a time in a good company. I would read "you have more than you think" by the Motley Fool guys. There is super great advice in there if you are insecure about how to invest. Once set up, you can increase your contributions to the Sharebuilder account and redesignate the funds as often as you want. These DRIP accounts are awesome in that you don't have to invest a ton of money at once but at least you are investing. You will purchase a portion of a share at a time. So if you have like $10 in your account, $4.00 goes to the Sharebuilder fee, and $6.00 will go to whatever stock you choose... (here's an example) If Home Depot stock is at $36.00/share (as an example) you will be purchasing a sixth of a share. Eventually you will be able to increase the amounts (as you feel comfortable). I have $50.00 going into my sharebuilder account each month and after a year of investing I have been able to save where I didn't think I could. This is a long term investing plan so don't expect overnight riches, but when you retire you will have a nice account to live off of if you have chosen your companies to invest in wisely. This is a much better way to save, I feel, than a CD which doesn't even keep up with inflation.
Read about investing at www.fool.com first so you learn how to pick the company.
I love Sharebuilder, and think it is the best way to begin saving for your future.
I hope it helps you too!
I'm retired and loving it. Here are some of the ways we saved money. It's fine to raise a calf but that is a lot of work. We had a horse ranch and I sold the foals my mares produced. It was hard work (though I sold one foal for $75,000 which paid for the farm) but I hated the unexpected vet expenses and escalating hay costs.
My best tips are easier than that.
1. Pay off credit card debt. Get help from someone like Consumer Credit Counseling (beware of scammers with similar names) if you don't know how.
2. Use equity accelerator to pay your mortgage faster. My company has saved me $71,000 in interest. Ask your mortgage company about it.
3. Invest in a mutual fund. It's easy and they manage it for you. Vanguard is a good one.
4. Eat healty at home. Eating out is very expensive. Skip soda and junk stuff. I drink real grape juice (not grape drink). I think this type of diet has kept my husband and me healthy which translated into less or no medical expense.
5. Pay cash for a used car or finance it and drive it for awhile after it's paid. I've gotten 3 cars from CarMax and they've been great! Get an extended warranty. I have a Chevy Malibu with all the bells and whistles (sunroof, remote key lock, etc) and it gets great mileage. I haven't had a repair bill since I have a Chevrolet warranty. I'll drive this car until 2008 when the warranty will expire.
6. Managing your money is as important as making it. Lots of people who had higher paying jobs than we did are up to their neck in debt and can't retire.
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