Hope for your financial life and beyond

How to Invest 1,000 Dollars at Age 18

A while back, I had a conversation with a former student of mine who is looking to invest in the stock market. He was in college and had some money sitting around that he didn’t need for school. He wanted to know how to invest 1,000 dollars and whether it was realistic or not at this time of his life.

how to invest 1,000 dollarsHis situation was similar to what many 18-year-olds face. They’ve worked full-time summer jobs since they were 16 and maybe even part-time ones during the school year. Their college expenses are taken care of either through scholarships or the bank of mom and dad. The money they have earned is just sitting in their savings account drawing little to no interest. Does it make sense for them to do something else with it, like beginning to invest?

The answer is “YES…it absolutely makes sense” but with a very big “BUT…”.

Before I get to the “BUT…” though, lets look at some assumptions about 18-year-olds that are going to impact how they invest and where they put their money.

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What to Invest in When You are Scared to Invest

There are times when the stock market causes real fear for investors. It’s scary to see the markets and your portfolio value go down day after day. This is especially true for those closer to retirement. At times like that, it’s hard to know what to invest in or whether one should be investing at all.

what to invest in

You can’t discount the power of fear. Even the most seasoned investors get it from time to time. However, those who have been investing for a long time know something that perhaps a beginning investor doesn’t know – fear is not necessarily an excuse to stop investing.

But fear could be something that prompts you to reevaluate what to invest in. Market downturns are a great time to look again at your portfolio and analyze your strategy. Every time I’ve done that, it has actually served to calm me down. It reminds me that I am following sound investing practices that will serve me well in the long run.

There is good news if you are scared of the markets and don’t know what to invest in. There are a couple simple strategies to follow that can help you sleep easier at night. Here are several to consider that will help you put your fears to rest.

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5 Tips for Getting Started with Individual Stock Trading

Despite what you might think or have heard, not all investing is created equal. There is a big difference in investing in the stock market and investing by trading individual stocks. Both are classified as investing. But in reality individual stock trading is quite different from traditional investing.

The biggest difference relates to time frames. Individual stock trading is more focused on short-term movements in the market. Trades are done frequently based on the up and down movement of the individual stock. Stock traders try to gauge the momentum of the market and use things like technical analysis to give them an advantage in trading.

Traditional investing has a more long-term focus, spanning years and even decades. Instead of focusing on individual stocks, long-term investors traditionally rely on mutual funds as their investing vehicle of choice. Mutual funds provide more stability and spread your investing dollars around over many different stocks. In that way, they create instance diversity for your money.

There are times in the markets history when stocks have been red hot. In fact, in the last couple of years, the indexes have been climbing higher and higher, setting new records along the way. At times like this, individual stock trading becomes enticing. And with new options to invest in, like the few bitcoin stocks that are moving higher, people can be drawn into this time of investing.

It’s important to remember though that there are things to consider before trading in individual stocks. Even when things are going great, you must always be aware of the risks. Otherwise, you might get yourself into a lot of trouble. Keep these tips in mind if you are interested in individual stock trading.

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Your Best Investment Ever Won’t Be In The Stock Market

What is the best investment you’ve ever made? Historical analysis suggests an investor in the U.S. stock market can reasonably count on an average annual return of 8-10%. There will be good years and bad to live through, but that’s a pretty good return for your money.

best investmentWhile the stock market is known as the great creator of wealth, it’s not the best investment you can ever make. It’s also not land, rental properties, CDs, bonds, or commodities. None of those will bring the level of return needed to really succeed in your life, in your career and with your finances.

One investment outshines all these in terms of total lifetime return. That’s the investment you make in yourself. Nothing will move you forward quicker, push you farther and have more lasting impact than the time and money spent on oneself. Here’s how.

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The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Investing Money the Right Way

Success in our personal financial life is something we all desire. What that financial success looks like is different for each situation. However, there is one undeniable truth that applies to all of us when thinking about how to achieve our financial dreams and goals – investing money will help you get there.

investing moneyThere are several challenges though when it comes to investing money. For one, people scare themselves out of investing money for fear of losing it. They see the ups and downs of the stock market and don’t want to be involved with that volatility.

Others may not know how to invest or where to start. I remember learning about investing money in my early twenties and feeling extremely overwhelmed.

Still others may feel they lack the time to really make investing work for them. They either started to late in life to make a difference or just don’t have time in their daily schedule to learn about it.

And finally, perhaps the biggest challenge of all – some just don’t have the money to invest.

If you fall into any of those categories or are a beginner just looking to learn about investing money, this article is for you. From my own experience, I had many questions of my own when I first started. So I’ll be answering some of the most basic ones I had like:

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Are CDs a Good Investment for the Average Joe?

I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who wouldn’t say “Yes” to the question, “Would you like to make/have more money?” Aside from our job, the best way to get more money is by investing what you have in various financial products like savings accounts, the stock market, real estate or business ventures. Some would even use CDs as a valid investment. But are CDs a good investment for the average person?

Let’s find out.

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Should You Invest in the Stock Market During a Trump Administration?

Last week the stock market was setting all-time highs as the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 20,000 for the first time. Since the close of trading on Nov. 4th, the market has raced ahead by over 2,200 points to where it stands today. Of course it remains to be seen whether this market can sustain the momentum or not under the leadership of our new President, Donald Trump.

stock marketJust typing that last sentence seems surreal, for people in both parties. We hardly could have imagined this two years ago. Whatever your political views, you have to give him credit for doing what no one thought possible. It’s something we haven’t seen in the history of our government.

President Trump is still an unknown quantity. By his own words, he is new to the political scene. We do not fully know how he will proceed with matters of national policy or foreign affairs because he doesn’t have a long track record for us to parse through. But we do know one thing about him. President Trump is a businessman through and through. He has done well for his family and the thousands of people he has employed.

Will this expertise be good for businesses across the country though? And will it translate into upward momentum in the stock market? Should you invest in the market during the Trump presidency, be it four or eight years? Let’s try to find out.

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This Smith and Wesson Stock Chart Reveals Our Biggest Fear

Smith and Wesson stock is reaching heights never seen before in the history of the company. The stock price closed at $29.07 on Friday, just 30 cents shy of it’s all time high. However, that alone doesn’t tell the whole story.

Smith and Wesson stock has been tracing higher for the last five years. As you can see from the stock chart below, on Sept. 26, 2011, it traded at $2.52. If you would have bought then, you’d be looking at a 1,053 percent increase. Not bad for a five-year investment.

smith and wesson stock

Chart courtesy of Morningstar.com

The bulk of the rise in the stock price has occurred since January of 2015. Since that time Smith and Wesson stock has risen from around $10 per share to what we see today. Again, not a bad return for a year and a half investment.

So what’s driving the stock price? Well, in the most basic of investment world terms, it’s company sales. Just a few weeks ago the company announced fourth quarter sales of $221.1 million. That figure was an increase of 22.2% over the fourth quarter of last year.

So the company is growing by selling more of its product. Those sales are leading to increased profits and a healthier company balance sheet. Investors are taking notice and more are purchasing the stock for their portfolios (hence the rise in Smith and Wesson stock price).

“But what’s driving sales?” you might be asking. Well, in case you don’t know Smith and Wesson manufactures and sells firearm products and accessories. That’s right…it’s a gun company.

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The Easy and Hard Parts to Becoming a Millionaire by Age 65

Would you feel financially secure if you became a millionaire? I’d say most people would. A million dollar net worth provides the cushion you’d need to weather almost any financial storm. Becoming a millionaire should set your financial worries at ease.

becoming a millionaireThat doesn’t mean you can live recklessly and spend money on whatever you want. Do that and you might find yourself broke before you know it.

Nor does it necessarily mean you can stop working. A millionaire at 75 can sit back and enjoy the fruit of their labor. A millionaire at 35 still has many more years of life expenses in front of them.

Becoming a millionaire is both easy and hard. That may seem contradictory. How can something be both easy and hard? As you can see from the following graphs, the contradictory nature of that statement can best be viewed through three variables:

time, income and choices.

Becoming a Millionaire by Age 65 in Visuals

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The 4 Stages of Investing and How to Win Long Term

I’ve been investing now for almost 20 years and have experienced various stages of investing during that time. My wife brought several mutual funds into our marriage and that became my first exposure to the stock market. It didn’t take long for me to see how investing could have a positive impact on our financial future.

the 4 stages of investingOver the years our investments have evolved and our assets have grown. We’ve branched out into other avenues of investing beyond the stock market. It took some time to get there but the results have been worth it.

Making money in the market is a journey. You’ll go through various stages of investing along the way that are marked by specific decisions. How you handle each one of these stages will determine your ability to win long-term.

The 4 Stages of Investing

I hope you are thinking about investing. Next to the personal earnings you receive from your job, investing is the #1 way to build wealth. It does take some time for significant wealth to accumulate and you’ll have to go through these stages of investing to get there:

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2 Milestones You Need to Reach Before Investing Money

When it comes to investing money in the stock market, time is your greatest ally and your greatest enemy. The longer you are investing money the greater likelihood you’ll generate great wealth. Shortening that time period by just a few years could significantly reduce the amount of wealth you’ll create.

That’s why it’s important to get started early – in fact, the earlier the better. Time is the most critical element in the investing equation. It doesn’t matter if you are a high school student making minimum wage at a summer job, a college student paying your way through school or married with your first child on the way. The earlier one can begin investing, even in small amounts, the more one can maximize big returns in the long run.

The following examples demonstrate this point:

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