In business school I had little direction; nor did I learn how to invest. In graduate school (MBA,finance) my financial education did not include how to invest in the real world. In training to be a stock broker the focus was on selling, not investing. You learn how to invest on your own. You’ll never regret the time and effort it takes to get yourself up to speed.
If you don’t know how to invest you’re not the Lone Ranger. Few people today have a real down-to-earth financial education, yet they invest anyway in IRAs, 401k plans and on the internet. Last decade millions of Americans lost trillions of dollars investing. In the heat of the financial crisis our national leaders displayed both discomfort and financial incompetence dealing with our economic problems. Is the financial system now fixed, or are we due to revisit the crisis?
Financial education is rarely included in our educational system; in part because there would be a shortage of qualified teachers. For now, your best shot at getting up to speed is probably self study, with some guidance. In case you’ve never really given it serious consideration, here’s why you need at least a familiarity with the world of finance and investing.
The gravy train is over. Millions of Americans nearing or in retirement today have it made due to employer pensions and other benefits, including Social Security. If you missed the train or you’re not close to retirement age, one thing appears obvious to even the most casual observer. Neither your employer nor the government can afford to take care of you in the future. They are both busy getting their own financial house in order. You should get busy too. For example…
The economy is on the skids and you fear for your job. It’s one thing if you have funds set aside to last you a year or so, it’s quite another if you don’t. Or, you’re thinking of changing occupations and going back to school so you can get a better job. Same story. Or, you had set aside money in IRA and 401k plans for years so you could retire at age 60 and not worry about money. Then you lost half of it in 2000-2003, and again in 2008; leaving you no other choice except to keep on working if you can keep your job.
When you are going through bad times in your personal life, the last thing you need is to find out that you’ve taken a large loss in your retirement plan as well. That’s why I strongly suggest that there is a financial solution that can help in situations like those above, and improve your quality of life. Give yourself a financial education and do what you can to learn how to invest. Money will not necessarily make a miserable person happy – but a lack of it won’t even come close.
Read more investing articles, I say. At least you’re on the right track.
A retired financial planner, James Leitz has an MBA (finance) and 35 years of investing experience. For 20 years he advised individual investors, working directly with them helping them to reach their financial goals.
Jim is the author of a complete investor guide, Invest Informed, designed for average investors or would-be investors of all levels of financial background and experience. To learn more about investments and investing and his new financial guide go to http://www.investinformed.com.
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