Grace Taylor of Readies.co.uk was kind enough to offer me a guest post about what the title says. It’s beginner-level, but since I often recommend to people who are just starting their FIRE journey that they should assess whether a financial advisor is right for them, it’s a worthwhile inclusion. I’m obligated to tell you that it includes some advertising for a lender comparison website, but that doesn’t take away from its value.
These days, everyone is searching for a way to make their money work for them. Unfortunately, simply placing your cash into a savings account is rarely the way to go, as most bank accounts offer tiny interest rates. If you want to get the most out of your cash, the best thing you can do is look into investing.
The more you learn about the investment market, the easier it will be to decide which strategies will suit you. What’s more, you don’t necessarily have to pay out extra for assistance from a financial advisor either. There are plenty of free ways to learn about investing in your spare time. Here are just a few options for people who want to expand their investment knowledge
1) Check out investing books.
When you’re in the market to learn something new, there are few better ways to begin your education than with the right book. A reputable book on the basics of investing will help you to develop a foundation that you can use to make crucial decisions about your cash in the years to come.
The best way to choose the right book is to decide where you’re interested in investing. For instance, if you like the idea of getting involved with the stock market, you’ll want a book by someone who’s already proven that they know their way around the trading floors.
Generally, it’s best to start with something basic. By reading through the blurbs and reviews posted with books online, you’ll be able to get a general idea for what each author covers.
ERD’s note: You should also do some research on low-cost index funds from Vanguard, especially the ones that track the S&P index. These are the go-to investment vehicles in the FIRE community.
2) Learn from Investing Courses.
Some people who find incredible success in the investment market don’t automatically rush into writing a book about all of their insights. Instead, they prefer to teach people in either a one-on-one or group environment. As the digital world becomes more prominent, there are now plenty of fantastic ways to learn about investing from courses online.
Because online courses are available to take in your free time, you can organize them around your schedule. To find a great course, spend some time reading the testimonials from other students who have taken similar lessons in the past. You can also look up the person who is hosting the course. If they have a strong history or reputation in the investment space, then you know you’re on the right track. Avoid any expensive lessons if you’re not sure about the person who is teaching them.
3) Try Stock Simulators.
If you know a little bit about investing in the stock market, but you want to put your skills to the test before you put your cash at risk, then you can always try a stock simulator. Stock market simulators are programs that simulate the stock market and allow you to test your knowledge without putting your money at risk.
With stock simulators, you can test out your knowledge of the stock market without risking your cash. You can even find a number of stock simulators online that can be downloaded onto your smartphone, so you can check out your skills while you’re on the go. Even advanced investors still use stock market simulators from time to time to help refresh their skills.
4) Join Investing Forums.
Once you understand the basics of investing, you can start to talk about it with other people at the same educational level as you. One great way to do this is to sign up for a popular investing forum where you can discuss opportunities in the market and learn more from your peers. When you connect on a forum, you’ll be able to interact with other investors, read about their strategies and ask any questions you might have.
The key to success with investing forums is making sure that you choose the right one. Do some research into all the sites you’re considering and remember to take the suggestions you get from people on a forum with a pinch of salt. Don’t invest in anything just because someone else says it’s a good idea.
ERD’s note: I’m a big fan of Reddit’s Financial Independence forum.
5) Learn from the Internet.
Finally, there are countless ways that you can learn more about investing by simply reading blogs and articles online, just like this one. Websites that focus specifically on investing are valuable resources to someone who’s just learning how to use their money to raise interest for the future.
Spend some time browsing through popular investing websites and bookmark any pages that catch your attention.
Thanks, everybody, and I hope you found this worthwhile.