Tips For Investors Just Starting Out

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Way back in 2013, we posted an article with timeless relevance for military service members looking to establish new careers at home. The article was titled Keys To Saving When You Start Your Career, and it contained a number of vital tips that can help you toward financial independence. One of these tips was to take advantage of a savings account (as opposed to simply a checking account) with your bank, and in this post I’m going to take that idea a few steps further. Specifically, I’m going to address some beginner investment tips, so that you can take your savings and apply them to a financial market that may help them to grow over time.

Throw Out Your Emotions

This is the most important tip for any new investor, whether you’re a young adult just starting off on your own, a military veteran starting a new career, or anything in between: leave emotion out of the equation. quotes renowned investment advisor Jim Cramer as taking the idea of emotion one step further, as he states that you should check hope at the door as well.

The idea is simple, really. Wanting a stock to do well, or hoping for the best from a given company, can expose you to irrational risks. For example, I very badly want to invest in the innovative tech company Tesla because its CEO, Elon Musk, has taken the place formerly held by Steve Jobs as the most inventive visionary genius on the planet. The company makes cool products, promises bold moves to come, and is openly seeking to control entire new markets, such as home-powering batteries and self-driving cars. It’s incredibly interesting. But its stock is highly volatile. Going by emotion, nothing seems like a better investment; I hope it does well. But going by good financial sense, there are better, more stable options available.

Look For Alternative Investments

There’s no exact definition for what comprises an alternative investment, but I’d interpret it as something that exists outside the traditional stock market as we know it. Simply put, managing the market, day trading, or even checking in regularly on your own portfolio can be very complicated if you don’t have the relevant experience or background. For this reason, some beginner investors do better thinking outside the box and seeking alternatives.

One such alternative that is fairly popular all over the world is the precious metal market. While you can trade stock in mining companies and gold and silver ETFs in more conventional portfolios, the actual purchase of precious metal as an investment is done through private services as an independent practice. Online marketplace is a high-volume source for investors intrigued by the concept purchasing actual precious metal. The site serves as a one-stop shop, so to speak, for the purchase, storage, and eventual sale of gold or silver, all secure and all without the hassle of the stock market.

Or, if you want to think smaller, there are also a number of independent user services emerging for the sake of personal investment. Acorns is one highly rated app that more or less allows you to choose a bundle of investments to put “spare change” in when you purchase things with a card (for example, a $3.75 purchase might dump the remaining $0.25 into the investment).

Similarly, Robinhood has been hailed as a helpful tool for making personal investments via a simple app, without fees. All of these services, and even alternatives like the precious metal market, still need to be approached with careful consideration and strategy, but they give you the ability to start investing in low-hassle environments.

Play The Long Game

Finally, I recommend that any new or beginning investor play the long game, which simply means investing over the long term rather than trying for quick, short gains. As mentioned before, day trading requires a great deal of experience and attention, and it’s just something that most beginners aren’t prepared for. Naturally, once you gain the necessary experience, short-term investments may become more appealing, and more doable. But in the meantime, I suggest sticking to the long game.

This essentially means putting your money into a few investments where you’re comfortable leaving it over a period of a year or more. Done strategically, this can result in gradual growth in your finances, and in the meantime you’ll begin to learn how best to read and analyze the markets you’re interested in.



The Military Guide was founded by retired Navy Officer, Doug Nordman, author of the book, The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement. The goal of this site is to help you to use your military and veterans benefits to make better informed financial decisions. Thank you for your service!

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