The Importance of Investing in the New Year

January 19, 2012

The following is a post from Bettement’s Blogging for a Better New Year Carnival. 

New Year’s resolutions are amusing to me, as they mostly consist of things such as losing weight, or traveling- or any other goal you can easily renege on come February. I have been part of that group for the past 11 years. I make goals such as “make an extra $10,000” or “lose 15 pounds,”, or “buy an Ipad 2″ or my favorite resolution from my childhood- “grow 3 inches in height.” These goals are fantastic, however, they are useless for me as I never had a concerted plan on how to achieve them. That, to me, is key to being successful in every goal. Having SMART goals not only allows growth, but it also creates a concrete action plan where I can see my progress along the way.

This year my main resolution will be to become more involved in investing, particularly online investing. I feel that it is important to be in tune with how my portfolio is doing and learn to understand market trends.

Does investing need certain knowledge of the stock market? Yes.

Is that knowledge easily accessible with some research? Yes

As advancements in technology have occurred over the past years, it has made several processes fairly simple, one of these processes being online investing. Prior to the popularity of the internet, brokers were the only people who were able to make the decisions whether to buy and/or sell stocks for their clients throughout the stock exchange. Luckily things have changed and now I have the ability to determine what stocks you would like to sell and/or buy.

Generally with a process as simple as this, there are a variety of detrimental factors, but instead online investing has proven to be extremely beneficial through the lives of many individuals all over the world. The first benefit to online investments is that trading costs have dropped drastically due to the popularity of ETS (Electronic Trading Systems) and ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds). Second, rather than having to wait for your broker to contact you, you will see immediate results if a potential buyer is interested.

Prior to trading your stocks online you will have to determine which online broker would be the most beneficial for you. These online brokers will perform all of your trading and buying for you and they will store your earnings in a particular banking account. There is an abundance of different firms that you will be able to choose from but there are a few key factors to consider before choosing your broker:

1. How much do you want to invest?

2. How often do you want to make trades?

3. How much assistance you will need/how informed are you about the stock market?

4. Are there any other services that you will be interested in?

These four questions will help you to pick the perfect brokerage firm in order to make you the most money.

Another factor to consider in choosing your online investment service is that there is always the potential for scamming when it comes to financial transactions over the Internet. It is imperative that you do sufficient research and read customer reviews about the particular online brokerage that you are interested in to ensure that your transactions will be legitimate and secure.

You might also consider investing with Betterment to get started. Betterment is the simplest way to invest online, as they have an easy interface that allows you to invest in a diversified portfolio of stock and bond ETFs with just a few clicks. You don’t even need to do the ETF research, because Betterment has already done that for you. All you do is choose your level of risk (how much you want in stocks versus bonds) and Betterment will do the rest. Besides serving as a broker, Betterment also provides you with advice – right in their online platform. And the best part is that Betterment is all based on goals. If your new year’s resolutions are to save for a car and invest for retirement, you can have separate subaccounts for each of those goals – and different timelines and allocations for each.

Online investing has become increasingly popular over the past couple of years due to its ease, efficiency, and its tendency to turn a profit. Whether you are looking to acquire some extra money in your bank account or if you are looking to pay off debt fast, having the ability to invest online can prove to be exponentially beneficial in the future.



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  • Jen @ Master the Art of Saving January 20, 2012 at 1:32 am

    I keep putting off learning about all of this investing stuff. Hopefully I’ll finally jump in this year. 🙂

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