Until 2 weeks ago, investing seemed plain boring. Not for me. No thank you.

Honestly, investing looked complicated enough that I could get tricked into spending more money than I was gaining. More than that, I didn’t know how much money I needed to invest. But I figured I didn’t have enough.

I’ve since had a change of heart.

In the past two weeks, I have learned more about how investing works. I’ve learned that I can invest any amount of money I choose because there are accounts with no minimum starting balance. I’ve learned that some investing strategies are meant to build my money slowly, and some might promise to grow it faster – and often the more they promise, the more risk there is. Most importantly, I learned that investors should spread their money across different types of investments so their portfolio is diversified. Even if my portfolio only consists of 500 dollars.

So if you’re also young (or young-ish) and have never thought much about investing, here are some questions to ask yourself.

Are you making any efforts to monitor your personal finances?

For me, this was a no. I found the idea of counting my spending irritating, if not overwhelming. It felt like counting calories, which only makes me more anxious about my consumption.

Having reasonable control over your personal finances should come before investing. It’s difficult to spare money to invest if you can’t predict what next month’s bank balance will be.

To reign your personal finances in (or just check-in on yourself), I recommend Mint. It’s very well designed, and user-friendly. They suggest budgets, check your credit score, and most of all, it’s free! 

 

What do you stand to gain from an investment?

What’s to gain? More money, obviously. But frankly, I don’t want money to take over my life, either in excess or deficit. 

Investing, however, does not need to be thought of exclusively in terms of money. It’s also a way to voice your opinion. As an investor, you get to choose which companies you want to support, and in that way what sort of future you want to create. Buying stocks in a company  indirectly puts their mission into action. Don’t support a company’s mission? Don’t invest in them.

Socially responsible investing has become particularly popular among young investors. My good friend Kat Nyman wrote an article about ethical investing which lists ways to invest with the globe in mind.

Regardless of your budget, investing is simply not designed to multiply your money from a couple hundred into millions overnight. But investing could mean earning $450 in interest (over 10 years), instead of earning $2.50 in interest on the same amount by letting it sleep in a savings account.

Of course, if you don’t know the investment options available to you, how do you choose? That’s what Hardbacon is here for. The Hardbhttp://dev.hardbacon.ca/article/5-books-that-can-help-you-ace-the-stock-market/acon team promises to publish many articles about the different types of investing over the next weeks. And if you want to dive into some reading right away, see what introductory stock market books Stephane recommends.

Want to follow my 500 dollars?

Here’s my final problem with investment: every story out there is hypothetical. I have a hard time envisioning myself as an investor.

So I will be the leader. I will be the example.

Let me know through any Hardbacon network (on Facebook, Twitter or carrier pigeon) that you want to follow my 500 bucks. Bonus points if you can spell my name right. And I’ll tell you what and how I decide to invest my money. Until then…

 

 

If you liked this article, you’ll definitely like Hardbacon’s mobile app, which links to your banking and investing accounts, helps you plan your financial goals, budget, and invest better. The basic version of the app is free, but you can do more with Hardbacon Premium. As a loyal reader of our blog, you can get 10% off any Hardbacon Premium subscription. To take advantage of this promotion, use promo code BLOG10 when subscribing through our website.

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