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ENOUGH EXCUSES:
Why You Need to Start Investing Your Savings--Today

“Investing is an essential part of any financial plan,” wrote Eric Rosenberg in a Balance.com blog last week. “Unfortunately, many people don’t invest their savings, offering a wide range of excuses for keeping their money out of the market.

Rosenberg’s audience is young, smart, perhaps newly employed, but not necessarily financially savvy. Unfortunately, it’s not just theses “newbies” who replace action with excuses.

Which excuses sound familiar to you?

Excuse 1: “I’m saving—I just don’t want to risk my savings in the stock market.”

As Rosenberg and many other financial experts have reminded us, you can’t "save your way to retirement." That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t save; it means that in order to accumulate enough money to safely retire, you need to multiply your savings by investing it wisely. The real risk is not losing money in the stock market, but rather not accumulating enough to ever achieve what the Compass Institute refers to as Retirement Income Security.

Excuse 2: “I’m only an amateur—I wouldn’t even know what questions to ask, and I’m afraid of being taken advantage of by the brokers.”

There was a day when calling your father’s broker to get a stock tip was the only way to start investing. But sites like Balance.com, Investopedia, and many others now provide plenty of basic information to build your know-how, and on-line brokerage accounts make trading easy and fairly inexpensive. If your company offers a 401(k) plan, you can (and should) start contributing as much pre-tax income as you can to a retirement investment account, even if for now you just allow the “default” investment option to tell you where to invest. .

Excuse 3: “I’m still young. I’ll start saving in a few years. In the meantime, I don’t want to miss out on the fun I can have with the money I’m making now.”

Rosenberg’s article shows how much you can accumulate by saving even $20 a month from the money you might spend on things you can easily afford to pass up. And the sooner, the better. Invest $200 a month at age 30 with the average gains of the stock market and you’ll have a balance of about $600,000 when you’re 55. Not a bad start! (And what if you started at 25? Compass Investors has a calculator to help you answer that question. And, if the answer to that question does not motivate you to start investing now, nothing ever will!).

The key to long-term financial success is getting past those excuses, the procrastination, the hope, the fear—all that emotion—and making that first investment; signing up for that 401(k); taking ten minutes to open up that online brokerage account. If you have “fear of missing out” today, start thinking about what that really means: delaying that first investment today means missing out on your opportunity to make youth your greatest advantage.
 

Kevin L. Coppola, President, Compass Investors, LLC

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