The other day, I was at McDonald’s and my card declined. At McDonald’s. My card declined.
The one day their ice cream machine was working, my debit card wasn’t.
Then, I checked my Fidelity account. I wasn’t really broke because my investments were making money. I know the stock market can be scary, but it’s so important to invest your money.
When it comes to buying stocks, you can’t just go to the New York Stock Exchange and purchase equity like you would an apple at the store. When investing in stocks, bonds and other funds, you need a middle man. This middle man on Wall Street is called a brokerage. Open one of these babies and you’re one step closer to stacking penny stocks like Jordan Belfort.
Step One: Why are you investing?
You work hard for your money. We are in North Carolina where the minimum wage is... well, minimum. So, before throwing your money in whatever “sounds good,” do some research.
What are your goals when investing? Are you in it for the long run? Looking for a safe mutual fund that will guarantee a pay off in 20 to 30 years? Or are you looking for a side hustle? Do you want to actively alter and tweak your portfolio every day?
Thinking long term? Looking for an easy million dollars by retirement? Go for an Individual Retirement Fund. Hypothetically, if you contributed around $5k annually — or five-to-ten percent of your salary — you could have over $1.5 million waiting for you by the time you're 65. IRA’s are awesome because they allow you to contribute to the fund with tax-free growth. Moreover, some of your contributions may entitle you to tax deductions. Some IRA’s can boast a seven-to-ten percent return. You can open an IRA through a brokerage.
Want something more short term? Try a traditional brokerage account. There are two types of traditional brokerage accounts: a cash account and a margin account. For simplicity's sake, I am going to assume you’re new to investing, so I will urge you to use a cash account. This is where you invest only what you have. A margin account is where you can borrow from your brokerage — that can get risky quick, so proceed with caution if you go down that route.