Inflation. Debt ceiling showdown. War. Shaky financial markets. A lot is going on today that can make the idea of investing or continuing to invest a scary proposition.
But it doesn't have to be that way. A simple solution to eliminate fear from the equation is to invest systematically.
Here are five reasons to consider systematic saving and investing:
1. It's Easy.
Whether you're signing up to contribute to a 401(k) plan or a Thrift Savings Plan or setting up automatic investments into an individual retirement account (IRA), it typically requires only a few keystrokes or a simple form or two to get the ball rolling. Our legal team doesn't let me make a lot of guarantees, but I'd bet you're less than 15 minutes away from getting started. Now that's not very scary.
2. It's All Purpose.
Sure, I love the idea of building your retirement nest egg or funding the kids' college through systematic investing. But there's also systematic saving, and it can be a great way to accumulate cash for your emergency fund, holiday shopping or next year's vacation. Whether it's long-term investing or short-term saving, doing it systematically is truly all purpose, and getting the job done will leave you all warm and fuzzy.
3. It Takes Timing out of the Equation.
"Is now a good time to invest?" I hear that frequently from those looking for an insight gleaned from the crystal ball I don't have. What I do know is that by investing a little chunk each paycheck or month and not letting what's happening (or not happening) in the market dictate your behavior can be a calming approach to investing.
4. It Can Leverage Time.
The time value of money is a complicated way to say that earning interest on your interest or compounding interest is a powerful ally to have on your side. But that's only the case if you get started sooner rather than later. And now for the requisite "oooh-aaah" moment: $100 per biweekly paycheck growing at a hypothetical 6% will be $431,476 in 40 years. Now that could put a smile on your face.
5. It Eliminates a Decision or Need for Positive Action.
I have to admit that there have been times when I have struggled to make a call. You may have heard of "paralysis by analysis." It can happen to the best of us. Well, some sort of payroll deduction or automatic transfer into your investment of choice eliminates the need to do that analysis or action. No decision -- no need to do anything but sit back with the knowledge you are "doing" the right thing.
Of course, the best thing about systematic saving or investing is that it puts you on a path toward meeting your goals, whatever they may be. Put your fear in the rearview mirror and build for the future.
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