If I had to select the top three questions that I’m asked most often by new members and coaching clients, the questions would undoubtedly be the following:
1) WHAT SHOULD I INVEST IN?
There are two primary factors that determine what you should be investing in: 1) Your personal investment criteria and 2) The current investing and economic landscape. Both are independent variables, but both should be taken into consideration.
Starting with your personal investment criteria, this includes things like your current level of disposable income, your level of risk tolerance, and your long-term financial objectives. For example, if you’re 50+ years of age, investing for retirement, have a thousand dollars a month in disposable income, and are only willing to assume a low level of risk, you would likely be investing in different assets and vehicles than someone who’s young and is willing to tolerate higher levels of investment risk.
With respect to the current investing landscape, that’s a reflection of what’s going on in the world around you – the economic climate. Have certain events recently resulted in price declines for particular investments and asset classes? If so, there may be some high-quality investments available at a discount. Think of it like a sale at your local retailer – the merchandise on the shelf is the same, but the prices have come down.
2) HOW MUCH MONEY SHOULD I BE INVESTING?
Again, this comes back to purpose. I currently direct about 30% of my income toward my investments. The rest is allocated to living expenses, social contribution, and discretionary spending. Now, don’t let that 30% figure intimidate you – I’ve got some pretty aggressive long-term goals and my contribution level has grown over the years. When I initially started saving and investing, the figure was less than 5% of my income, but I made it a point to steadily increase the contribution rate as I grew my investment earnings and reduced my expenses.
Obviously, the more you can save and invest (assuming you’re saving and investing correctly), the better off you’ll be. I would encourage you to start slowly so you don’t disrupt your budget too drastically, and then progressively increase the amount. There’s no reason you can’t plan on saving and investing at least 10% of your income within the next 12 months. In my opinion, that’s a perfectly attainable goal.
3) ISN’T INVESTING RISKY?
I get this question rather frequently. Let’s set the record straight – investing does NOT have to be risky.
While there can be risk associated with the field of investing, that doesn’t mean you have to be a risky investor. It’s just like driving. We can all agree that there’s risk associated with driving a car, but that doesn’t make you a risky driver, right?
Certain investments are very conservative in nature and are well suited for risk-averse investors. This could be compared to driving cautiously, using your turn signals, obeying the speed limit, and wearing your seat belt.
And on the other end of the scale, there are more speculative investments that may appeal to investors that are comfortable with assuming an aggressive risk profile. This could be compared to driving a sports car at high speeds around blind turns on a dark road.
It’s really a matter of personal preference and having the skills to mitigate risk in order to protect yourself, while still achieving your investment goals.
Whenever I think of risk, I’m reminded of this popular quote by billionaire investor Warren Buffet:
“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”
Warren is absolutely right. Knowledge reduces risk. If you know what you’re doing, it’s much harder to get hurt because you know what to avoid and you know how to reduce your exposure.
Over the years, one of the ways I’ve been able to earn relatively high returns as an investor while minimizing my risk is by adhering to the following principle:
Investment knowledge, investment quality,
and investment strategy reduce risk
If you’d like to learn more about how to reduce your financial risk, I highly recommend you check out Chapter 11 of The Pay Me Plan e-book. The entire chapter is dedicated to approaches, strategies, and products for minimizing your risk and protecting your money.
So there you have it – the three investing questions that I’m asked most often.
I hope my responses were beneficial and provided some insight in case you’ve ever wondered these questions yourself.
Those are my thoughts. Feel free to share some of yours below. Thanks for reading and as always, make it a great day.
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