The following is the first in a series of blogs on eclectic topics to tell stories that may interest you. The first story is about investing and taking that first step. Stories to follow include interesting places to see around Ottawa and how listening doesn’t always mean hearing.
Making a career change or starting an exercise program–taking the first step is always the hardest.
And what if it that first step feels like it is off a cliff?
How do you move ahead to make a life change when inside your whole being just wants to turn and run the other way – or at least to the kitchen for ice cream and potato chips?
Getting organized, taking stock, finding a focus, seems overwhelming when you look at the Internet. Buy me, try me, do it my way messages abound for everything from buying clothes to real estate to taking a step to change your life.
One of my big steps was to move into the world of investing in stocks. Not an easy step. I had invested in mutual funds for years and a few GICs here and there. But I wanted more from my investments. Not that there aren’t good investment opportunities through these channels – there are. But for me I just didn’t see the growth that I wanted – or needed.
For many single Moms out there the path to financial freedom is a slow and difficult one. Children’s activities and their growth are expensive, trying to manage on less than when there were two incomes, and child support does not make up the difference.
I came to direct investing in stocks rather later than I wanted to. I was nervous, afraid to make a change. Staying the course was easier. But someone that I worked with had a side business on how to invest. He was passionate about it. And he was making money.
The workshop I took with him through his company at http://www.simplyinvesting.com/ was informative and opened up a new world. I asked him to help with a starting point and he offered up a couple of suggestions. I followed his advice and my stock has been making money and adding dividends to my funds ever since.
Focus on one stock at a time
When you buy into a fund the purchase includes multiple stocks, not all of which are good buys. When you own multiple funds often the same stock shows up, duplicating your purchase. It reduces the effectiveness of your investment. Purchasing an individual stock allows you to focus on buying in at an optimum time and selling or holding as long as it fits with your investment strategy. It allows more flexibility and you choose how you want to diversify.
Easier to keep track of investments
When you create your account at your chosen trading account location, you can quickly see all your investments in one location through the online portal. It is window into how well your stock is doing at any given time. Check out your bank for a trading account. There are also trading accounts not directly connected to any bank. Here are a few trading accounts you can check out:
While all trading accounts charge some sort of fee for their services, the fee is often a one-time payment per each transaction. The fee is usually very reasonable. Depending on your time line for growth and your willingness to do your research, you can reduce the amount you pay in fees by investing for yourself.
Eliminate purchase of stocks you disagree with
When you buy into a fund, it may well include a stock you don’t want to own such as tobacco or firearms. This is a dilemma that may be hard to avoid because companies are so often interconnected and have investments in multiple areas.
Time – friend or foe
Like anything you do, you have to put in the time to learn, understand and keep on top of your investments to make a go of it. It is not for someone who does not have the patience to sift through advice and sometimes hard to follow information on what to invest in and the best strategy. You have to be sure you want to do it.
You hear it with your investments all the time – no guarantees that past performance will translate into future performance. The stock market is full of quirky results. So you have to do your own research and be on top of things. But in the long run, you will be the beneficiary. And the number of people who have made money on the stock market must say something about its viability as a way to help you towards a better retirement.
Since purchasing my first stock, I have expanded on the number of stocks I invest in, and I have taken additional courses and subscribe to other online resources to help me learn. I believe direct investing is a fabulous way to create stability and growth for retirement.
Still you have to be prudent and I recommend taking the slow start – a small step. Learning the trade, the lingo and getting started through a course or two to get the basics is the best way to go, such as the course through Simply Investing.
I do not recommend wildly jumping into the fray without careful consideration before making any investment – no matter where. To get started learning also check out these two web sites that I have found very useful and informative. They provide excellent research to build knowledge.
Go ahead and invest in you!
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