Investing is a skill. And it’s not that hard. All you need is education, a bit of planning and regular action. An all-around guide on how to start investing successfully and with purpose.
Starting to invest can seem scary. It’s an unknown world with unknown risks and unknown consequences. And even after reading about it for a whole week, you might not be entirely sure about whether you’re taking the right action. But let’s face the facts: Investing creates incredible opportunities. If you invest in the right assets, your money will grow itself and create a whole new stream of income. Even if you solely take advantage of the higher interest rates of funds in comparison to traditional savings accounts, you can generate an extra ten- or even hundred-thousand Euros over the years just by storing your money somewhere else.
The only large problem with investing is a chronic lack of education.
And although some investments might indeed be risky, there are a lot of very simple and save assets out there which basically guarantee a better profit than every regular bank account you’ll ever come across (probably). The only large problem with investing is a chronic lack of education. Very few people actually know how to get into it while in itself investing couldn’t be simpler.
Larissa Kravitz, investment expert and founder of the financial information platform Investorella, aims to teach women how to start investing successfully. At the female factor limitless-event with the topic "hacking money", she talked about the practical basics of investing. And while all aspects are important, the most crucial aspect might initially be: How do I even get the capital I need for investing?
💰 How to get investment capital?
With all of the questions about investing to come, the first one might be the most crucial one. Because obviously, you need money to invest. And while some of you might have more than enough money left at the end of the month to put into a certain asset, others might struggle with keeping track of their finances altogether. “In the US for example, only 30 % of the people have a budget”, Kravitz mentions. Generally, humans are really bad at measuring their spendings and tend to procrastinate even when it comes to tasks like investing.
So, how can regularly make room for investments? Kravitz recommends: Limit your consumption by creating actual barriers using a bucket-system. Create different buckets on different accounts onto which you split your money every time you earn a wage. This bucket system could look like the following one:
30 % fixed costs
20 % necessary spendings
15 % saving and investments
10 % debt payoff (if you are still in debt)
15 % for fun
10 % for giving away (a recommendation that helped Kravitz big time in keeping her relationship to money healthy, donating makes you realize how much you really have)
Split your income over those accounts as soon as you receive any amount of money. You can use different bank accounts, planned transfers, virtual accounts (at digital banks like N26) or cash for doing it. That way, investments will always be a fixed part of your spendings.
🏡 A place to invest
So, you have set up your investment plan. But where can you even invest? The options are seemingly endless – but generally, you can use three kinds of platforms to start investing.
regular banks (e.g. Erste Bank, Unicredit, etc.)
cheap online brokers (e.g. dadat, flatex)
online brokers for professionals (e.g. lynx, Cap Trader)
For beginners, a simple online broker or a regular bank will do the job just fine. Especially online brokers tend to charge fewer fees while still being a save option. Therefore, they’re a very good starting point.
🤷🏼♀️ What to invest in?
At this point, we're ready to start talking about investing. Let’s take a look at asset allocation. Most importantly, no-one should ever invest in solely one asset. By doing that, you'd create one single point-of-failure and risk losing all of your money if the asset fails for whatever reason. Therefore, it’s recommendable to split your investments. For beginners, a 50-50-ratio between stocks/ETFs and bonds is recommended. And as you get more into the topic, you might apply more complex asset allocations. Let’s look at the most significant investment options:
🏛 1. bonds
Bonds are financial products with a fixed rate of interest. By investing in bonds, you basically loan money to a company, state or fund – and the lender pays that money back with interest rates. It’s basically a mini-loan initiated by you as an investor. The interests rates usually lie somewhere between 0,5 and 2 %.
📈 2. stocks
With stocks, you acquire part of a company and as the company grows in value, so does the stock. However, it can also lose value when the company is in trouble. You can invest in a wide variety of stocks – but before doing that, Kravitz recommends to check the company behind it, read analysts’ ratings, review their sustainability and look up the news flow. A stock-investment is something you have to prepare.
Apart from simple stocks which will just float in value with the company, there are also dividend stocks, which pay out a dividend (a part of the company’s profit) each year. Dividend stocks are usually more stable than non-dividend stocks and pay better on average. They’re called “couch potato stocks” for a reason.
🏘 3. Real estate
Another investment option are REITs – Real Estate Investment Trusts – which collectively re-allocate profit from renting real estate. They pay shareholders in the form of dividends, but they’re not stocks.
📥 4. Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)
Do you want to invest in the financial market? Buy ETF-shares. Because they are the market. Literally. ETFs mirror entire indices and markets (combining several hundred companies) and come with very low fees. This means, when a market, like the tech-market, rises in value, so does your ETF-share. Like with stocks (and other assets), it’s very important to do your research before investing. One of the most popular and stable ETFs is the MSCI World, which mirrors the development of the world’s 700 biggest companies.
🤖 5. Other alternatives
Today’s financial market is constantly changing and so are the investment options. So-called robo-advisors are automatizing investing entirely. All you need to do is giving them money – and they’ll automatically invest in assets based on your criteria of risk and return. Additionally, assets like crypto-currencies or crowdfunding are becoming even more popular. However, both come with large risks.
🚧 Do it safely – and enjoy!
As with everything in life, you better stay safe while investing. Brokers have the option to make automatic stop-loss-orders which sell a stock immediately when they fall under a certain value. This way, you avoid losing a lot of money in case a company crashes unexpectedly.
Now, here we are. The basics of investing. If you haven’t already the best time to start is right now. Set up a financial plan, start simple (broad ETFs are very recommendable for beginners), read a lot and always set stop-loss-orders. Your future self will thank you.
🚀 Do you want to take your self to a new level? The female factor is a community for ambitious, female changemakers. We offer exclusive masterclasses, access to world-class mentors and an incredible community to fuel your personal and professional growth. Learn more and join us today!
The article represents an excerpt from Larissa Kravitz’ masterclass at the limitless-conference of the female factor. Babos has years of experience in finance and trading, studied Quantitative Trading and Financial Engineering at the International University of Monaco and founded the financial information platform Investorella in 2019.