It’s not a bad idea to think about finding ways to grow your finances through investing. With that said, one has to know that investing can be dicey, and rushing into it without knowing the good and the bad is basically gambling with your finances. I know many people who were cruising along with their investments until the recession of 2008-2009 hit, and many people lost money needlessly, although those who were able to weather the storm made it back and more over the last couple of years.
It’s not that investing isn’t easy; it really is. All you have to do is give the right person some money and off you go. But how do you determine who the right people are? Here are 5 tips to help you:
1. Ask people who they invest with specifically, but initially only stick with people you can talk to or research online. Everyone knows at least a couple of people who are investing their money in some fashion, whether directly with a broker or through some plan at work. If you can, get names of some of these brokers and the names of their company as well. If you can find out who’s backing them even better, as many brokers are associated with a specific trade organization.
2. Research everyone, always. Ever heard of Google? There’s no excuse for not going online to check out every person whose name you might get, as well as learning something about the companies they work with. Just because someone might not be online may not mean they’re not capable, but the way I see it if they’re not visible online and you can’t get information on them be wary.
3. If they claim high rates of returns, beware and research strongly. Remember the name Bernard Madoff. There were a lot of people vouching for this guy, many famous people who thought they were making money hand over fist, and when it all came crashing down it was ugly, not only for Madoff’s family and people who were cheated but people who had cashed in, thinking they’d earned their profits legitimately and suddenly found themselves being sued by the government to return those funds. When something sounds too good, it’s smart to look at the negative reviews and see why some people might not trust them; there was a lot out on Madoff that those investing with him decided to ignore.
4. Only invest what you can stand to lose. Starting off relatively small, maybe $100 a month if you can handle it, is a lot smarter than giving someone $5,000 without knowing if you might have something major coming up such as having to replace a furnace and not having the funds to take care of it. No matter how much you invest, the returns are relatively small percentage wise, even with the most aggressive investing position. Always take care of your present as much as your future.
5. Even if you don’t understand it, make sure you talk to your broker at least once every 3 months and open your mail regularly. A big mistake many people make is not opening up their mail and seeing if their money is moving in a positive direction or not. A secondary mistake is not keeping up with their brokers, who are sometimes known to leave and suddenly you have no idea who’s managing your money, if there is anyone managing it.