Investing

The Inner Work of Wealth

There came a moment when I finally knew: I had to get smart about money. A massive tax bill was my incentive. Yes, I was terrified. But 3 daughters depending on me gave me no choice.

I went to classes, read books, yet nothing made sense. I felt immobilized. Nowhere in those books or classes could I find a solution for my paralysis. Then I took matters in my own hands.

I finally stopped focusing on the practical mechanics of money and started plumbing the deepest recesses of my psyche. I went into therapy, wrote in my journal, dove into personal growth.

At some point, I became aware of a familiar voice in my head telling me how stupid I was. Instead of ignoring it, as I usually did, I began a dialogue with that voice, asking it where it came from and what it wanted.

How much Risk Can You Handle?

With soaring inflation soaring and turbulent markets, it’s a good time to discuss an important conceptRisk tolerance.

You’ve probably heard those words bandied about when talk turns to investing. But do you know what they mean?

Risk tolerance is generally defined as the ability to stomach large swings in the value of your investment portfolio.  The market, by nature, is very volatile. It’s vital to understand your level of tolerance for risk in order to make prudent decisions.

Here are 3 factors to help you figure out how much risk you can tolerate:

The first factor is time. When will you need the money? Generally, you can take a lot more risk if you’ve got 10-years or more. Money you need in the next 3-5 years should be in cash. You don’t want to be forced to sell if the market is down.

The second factor is cash reservesHow much cash do you have on hand? If all your money is fully invested, with no extra cash to cover unexpected expenses, that would be a problem. Either you must sell at a loss or go into debt.

The third factor is sleep. How much volatility can you stand before you start stressing out, unable to sleep at night? We all know what happens if we don’t get enough shut-eye. Everything suffers!

Those factors are crucial considerations. But keep in mind. Your biggest risk is not protecting yourself against inflation.

Stuffing your entire savings under the mattress is like living in a house full of termites. Even if nothing seems awry, you’ll doubtlessly be dealing with costly damages down the line.

What do you feel your risk tolerance is? Has it changed in the current market situation? Tell me what you think below.

Having a Hard Time Saving and Investing? Let Me Make It Super Easy!!!

After my divorce from the gambling husband and after I paid the outrageous tax bills, my nest egg was almost depleted. But I had a few properties that paid rent every month.

One of the first things I did, when that rent came in, before I spent a cent, I immediately put a portion of it into savings. Otherwise, I knew I’d spend it all.

And I did it automatically. It was so simple. I filled out a form and the bank automatically transferred money from my checking account to savings. The amount was small at first, but it added up quickly. I didn’t even have to think about it.

Automating gave me discipline without having to work at it. It’s easy to say that you’ll move money monthly into savings. In practice, however, it just doesn’t happen. You forget. You overspend, You have a hundred excuses.

But by automating, you don’t miss what you don’t see. This was the beginning of my creating really good financial habits—habits I still practice today.

The Real Reward for Taking Control of Money: A True Story

It was a lunch I’ll never forget. Just after I sold my first book to the publisher, I flew to NY and met my editor at a restaurant.

As we got acquainted, I asked if she invested. She got really embarrassed. I felt horrible.

”Oh no!” she stammered. “I have no money.”

I felt terrible and dropped the subject never to address it again. Two years later, after my book hit the shelves, she called me out of the blue.

“Remember that lunch when I told you I had no money. Well, I did, but it was sitting in cash in my retirement account,” she told me. “But after working with you, I realized how foolish that was.”

So she started educating herself, found an advisor and her 401 (k) was now fully invested. She even emptied her spare change into a jar every night and had invested that too.

Another (Better) Way to View Market Volatility

The market’s looking pretty scary these days, right? But honestly, it’s not the turbulence that will get you in trouble. It’s your emotional reaction to it.

Studies show that most investors, regardless of gender, tend to act on emotion, instead of rational thinking, when making financial decisions.

When markets take a tumble, our emotions, especially fear, take over, and we abandon ship, suffering losses.

The emotional reaction also happens in reverse. When the market is on a big run, there’s a tendency to take on too much risk and follow the herd, like so many did during the dot com and real estate booms.

May I suggest another way to view this volatility? Heed the advice of my favorite Wall Street Journal columnist, Jason Zweig: Be thankful that stocks are going down.

A Pep Talk For a Plunging Market

What do you do when the market has more stomach-churning dips than a roller coaster?  Like now!

Obey the rule of the roller coaster: You only get hurt when you jump off Same with the market. You only lose money when you sell.

So what do you do when the market plunges? Follow the sage advice from investment firm, Ellevest, in their newsletter What the Elle.

Do Nothing.

As Sylvia Kwan, Ellevest’s Chief Investment Officer, explains: “Over the past 93 years, the stock market has gone up by an average of nearly 10 percent a year. But it didn’t go straight up!”

Indeed, markets always do what markets do: bounce around wildly. Like now.

The Secret to Investing Wisely–Understand the Investment Pyramid

Let me introduce you to the Investment Pyramid. Understanding this pyramid was a game changer for me.

Decades ago, a wealthy family friend urged me to invest in a Limited Partnership, calling it a “an exciting opportunity.”

I didn’t know that a Limited Partnership was illiquid and I couldn’t sell my shares, even as I watched the company go bust.

When I told my accountant this story, he drew a triangle, divided it into 4 levels, explaining this represented the whole world of investing. My mistake was starting at the top.

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Wealth Building Made Simple…Very, Very Simple!

You’d love to be wealthy, right? But then immediately reject the idea as ridiculous. Let me assure you, creating wealth’s a lot simpler than you think. And you don’t need a lot of money to start.

What you do need is enough discipline to obey The 3 Rules of Wealth:

1. Spend Less—never spend money you don’t have. If you can’t pay off your credit cards in full each month, stop using them.

2. Save More—pay yourself first. Ideally, 10% of your income goes straight into savings. But $10 a month is totally fine. The idea is to get in the habit of saving.

3. Invest Wisely—put at least a portion of your money into assets will grow faster than inflation and taxes take it away, like stocks, bonds and real estate.

All 3 are critical. But Investing Wisely is how wealth is created. It’s also the rule that stymies most people.

The Difference Between Men & Women…in Investing

For over 20 years, I’ve been baffled.

Sure, we women have become excellent dollar watchers and bargain hunters. But investors? Forget about it. We want to learn, but lack the confidence to act.

And here’s what’s really baffling. Once women enter in the market, we’re actually better investors than men.  Key findings in a recent article on The Motley Fool, (https://www.fool.com/research/women-in-investing-research/) show that “female investors earn better returns than men—up to 1% in some studies and, on average, women lost 2.5% of their stock portfolio value in 2015, while men lost 3.8%.”

But, women are still less confident than men in their investing ability. Only 9% of women think they make better investors than men according a Fidelity report.

What the Hell is Robo-Investing? And Why Should I Care?

In the beginning, I was skepticalvery skeptical. Now I’m a raging fan.

Robo-Investing is the best thing to happen for investors since index funds were invented.

In Robo-Investing, a computer—not a person—creates and manages a portfolio of index funds and ETFs. What are advantages for you, the investor?

The price is right. Fees are very low (0.15% to 0.50% compared to 1%-2% for human advisors). Plus there’s either no, or a very low, minimum required to open an account.

It’s easy to start. You fill out a short questionnaire to assess your situation, goals and risk tolerance, then choose among suggested portfolios based on your answers. That’s it…you’re ready to invest.

Great customer service, at no extra charge. Offerings include automatic rebalancing so your portfolio doesn’t get out of whack; tax harvesting to offset capital gains; retirement planning; and a variety of educational classes.

Compare Robo-Investing to traditional advisors or managed funds, which require much higher minimums, charge much higher fees, yet consistently underperform indexing (often called passive investing) over time.

No wonder Robo-Investing has experienced explosive growth since it started in 2008.

Interested? Here are my recommendations. Check them out.

Have you tried Robo-Investing? Share your experience.

Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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