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How to Start Investing

It’s not always easy to get started on a new project. It’s even more difficult when that project can have long-term effects on your finances—like investing for retirement.

But there’s no reason to put off investing just because you’ve never done it before. You need just three important things in order to get retirement investing off on the right foot:

1. The Right Foundation

To invest with confidence, simply follow Dave’s first three Baby Steps:

  1. Save $1,000 for your baby emergency fund
  2. Pay off your debt using the debt snowball method
  3. Save a fully funded emergency fund of 3–6 months of expenses

Now, with no debt and an emergency fund in place, you’ve freed up your most powerful wealth-building tool: your income. You’re ready to move on to Baby Step 4, which is investing 15% of your income in tax-favored accounts like a 401(k) and/or Roth IRA.

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2. A Commitment to Save Regularly

Taking control of your finances is more about behavior than math. So even if you’re only able to invest a small amount, the point is that you make investing a habit—one you won’t want to give up!

Retirement savings accounts are designed to make regular saving easy. With an employer’s retirement plan, a 401(k) for most of us, you can sign up to invest money automatically with each paycheck. Roth IRAs allow you to schedule regular contributions as well.

This practice is called dollar-cost averaging, and it allows you to buy more mutual fund shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high. And any experienced investor will tell you, that’s the key to successful investing.

3. Expert Advice You Trust

It’s inevitable that you will have questions when you get started investing. Which are the best funds to choose? How do I set up a Roth IRA? Is the stock market a safe place to invest? An experienced professional investing advisor can answer these questions and help you set up a retirement investing plan.

One you start investing, you’ll find that the stock market is inherently volatile. When it’s up, it’s easy to keep investing as you planned. But when it’s down, even the most level-headed investor can panic. An advisor who understands market cycles will help you stay on track.

And, because investors who work with an investing professional pick better funds and hold onto their investments during down markets, they average 3% more on their money than do-it-yourself investors.


Find Your Advisor Today

Dave has built a nationwide network of investing advisors who agree with his investing philosophy. These Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) are all experienced professionals who can answer your investing questions and help you get started investing the right way. Find your ELP today!

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