As most of you know, I am what you call an amateur investor. I have only been investing for a few short years, which puts me behind the investing curve. I opened up my 401(k) when I started working at my current job. Though I had the 401(k), I didn’t really put much money into it each month. I did this because I was in heavy with my debt. I focused my attention on paying down the money that I owed. Unfortunately, I realize that I didn’t do what I really should have done.
My Original Thinking
My original philosophy was to pay down my debt and then focus on investing. It wasn’t until the last year and a half of my debt repayment that I learned that I should have been doing both. During that time, I developed my debt and saving percentage rule. It worked well for me and I think it has some solid practical uses. There is no way to make up for lost time while investing. You can’t make up for lost compound interest.
As I have written in the past, I invest into a Roth IRA outside of my 401(k). I set this up right after I paid off my last credit card. I figured it would be a good way to jump onto the investing train. I started my Roth with Betterment and have kept it there ever since. I like the ease of use that it provides and it is just simple. If you are looking to start investing, then check out Betterment. They have a very low start funding amount compared to the bigger companies.
My Next Step
I have been lucky to be with a company that has gone public on the stock exchange. I am also lucky that I have options for stock. My company I work for has decided to work with Merrill Lynch to provide all of the employees with a brokerage account. So, on top of my 401(k) account and my Roth IRA, I am now going to have another investing account. It is just going to be another thing to manage, but it will give me more options to start investing into some dividend paying stocks. That is something that I have wanted to do for some time.
How Do You Manage?
I figured a good way to figure out how to bring all of my investments together in an easy manageable way, I would ask my readers. What do you do to manage your investments? Do you invest at all?
I have met a few people that don’t even have a 401(k) account or haven’t contributed to the one setup by their employer. If you have an 401(k) account or self managed super fund, then I would suggest that you start contributing. Don’t get behind like me. It is very hard to play catch up when dealing with lost compound interest and returns. If your employer offers you the chance to contribute to a 401(k), then take it. This is especially true if your employer matches some of your contributions. That is just free money for saving.
Do you have an investment account? If so, who do you use to manage your investments or trades? I have heard things about Vanguard, Fidelity, Scottrade, E*trade, TradeKing, Motif, TD Ameritrade, Betterment, and OptionsXpress.
Have any of you used any of these investment services? Can you provide me with some background on how you feel they are? I love reliable reviews and I trust my readers, so let me know.
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