If you’re not investing your money because you’re no stock-picking genius and you don’t earn a six-figure paycheck, guess what? Neither of these is a requirement to become a successful investor.
“If you are human, you are a good candidate to be investing your money,” Jean Chatzky, financial editor of NBC’s “Today Show” and senior editor at The Balance, told Business Insider in a Facebook Live interview.
“We all need to invest because there is no other way to keep up with taxes and inflation,” said Chatzky, the author of several books, including most recently “Age Proof.”
Putting money in your bank’s traditional savings account may be your go-to saving strategy, Chatzky says, but you’re actually losing money this way because interest rates on those accounts are “so minuscule.”
“You’re losing purchasing power after every single dollar, every single year,” she said. “That’s not going to get you to retirement, particularly if inflation starts to edge up a little bit. … those dollars are going to shrink even faster, so you have to be investing.”
After you’ve built up an emergency fund with three to six months’ worth of expenses — which you can store in a high-yield savings or money market account — you need to put your money to work.
“The nice thing about investing these days is that you do not have to be an expert in order to do it,” Chatzky said. “You can split [your money] between a total stock market index fund, and a total bond market index fund, and an international stock market index fund — three funds that will cover your bases.”
One of the easiest ways to invest is through an employer-sponsored 401(k) and/or a personal Roth or traditional IRA, all of which are tax-advantaged investment accounts used to save money for retirement.
You can also opt for a target date retirement fund, Chatzky says, which “keeps you in an age appropriate portfolio as you get older.”
Always remember that in the long-term, you’re better off being in the market, even a volatile one, than staying out of it.