They say you have to spend money to make money, and this is especially true when you’re seeking financial guidance. Financial advisors are well-paid for their in-depth expertise and often help their clients through decisions like investing, retirement planning and long-term savings plans.
Although it’s still wise to consult a professional before any major investments, you can educate yourself enough to confidently make your own personal financial choices without the help of a professional. Nine members of the Forbes Finance Council shared their best do-it-yourself tips for individual investors looking to better manage their finances.
1. Invest for the long term.
The lure of a quick buck can guide investors to make certain investing decisions. But, unless you’re a day trader, a long-term strategy is the best way to protect your assets while ensuring ROI in the long run. The market will fluctuate over time, but history shows that it tends to go up in the long run, so looking to the future will keep an investment plan focused and profitable. – Sari Holtz, DailyForex
2. Open a Roth IRA.
If you’re just getting started with investing, a Roth IRA can be a great way to start. Since it is a tax-advantaged investment, it allows your wealth to grow and compound tax-free. Your investments are initially taxed, so you can make withdrawals tax-free in retirement. And, you will typically have access to a wider range of investment opportunities with a Roth IRA than you would with a 401(k). – Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital
3. Don’t follow fads.
I believe that everyone can be successful in managing their own finances as long as they are well-informed. A common mistake I see individuals making is investing based on a trend or fad instead of research. Read everything you can get your hands on, and question unproven assumptions. – Mahati Mukkamala, Klaviyo
4. Purchase indexed annuities.
Sold by insurance companies, indexed annuities offer a way to participate in stock market gains while limiting downside risk. When the market is climbing, you’ll share in the returns, but you’ll be protected from losses by a guaranteed return even when stocks fall. The guaranteed return means that even inexperienced investors can participate without big risk. – Danielle Kunkle, Boomer Benefits
5. Take advantage of money management apps.
I personally manage my own money and regularly use apps like Mint and Robinhood. Mint keeps my personal finances in check, and I invest through Robinhood. Both have extremely low fees and are easy to use. Money management and investing aren’t just for the pros anymore; the fintech trend has resulted in new resources and apps at your fingertips. – Rachel Carpenter, Intrinio
6. Invest in a lifecycle fund.
Lifecycle funds require very little work on your part. Unless you really know exactly what you’re doing, it’s the best way to go. As long as you keep stashing money away, it should keep working for you. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International
7. Look into low-cost index funds.
Paying investment professionals to manage your portfolio can often cost you a lot of money unnecessarily. When you add in the cost of actively managed investment options, the average managed portfolio will underperform the market.
The best investment most people can make, whether they’re wealthy or just have a few hundred dollars to invest is a low-cost index fund. – Paul Paradis, Sezzle
Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only organization for executives in successful accounting, financial planning and wealth management firms. Do I qualify?
8. Be resourceful with technology.
In the technological era, everyone can be successful with their finances without professional interference. Take advantage of the resources at your disposal. Thousands of apps and websites can aid in the investment process. Record keeping is a must-do, and it’s the only true way to monitor and adjust for proper spending. – Ibrahim AlHusseini, The Husseini Group
9. Budget, budget, budget.
Know how much you spend monthly and what you spend it on. If you’re able save $500 to $1,000 each month and place it into an investment account, you will witness the phenomenon of compounding interest first hand. Making this systematic is the key to it actually happening. Don’t look at saving money as an idea but as a way of life. You will thank yourself later. – Lance Scott, Bay Harbor Wealth Management