Yes, I said it – investing can be as fun as watching animal videos. If you’re like me, you’ve probably spent some portion of your life watching videos of jumping cats or dogs chasing each other. If you haven’t, you’re only missing out on all the fun. But, I bet there are some other videos that make you laugh, and that’s the point.
Either way, I have news for you – investing can be as fun as watching those videos. And if you’re really on top of it, you’ll love watching investing videos, like this fun one of me dancing to ETFs!
Here’s the secret:
1) Don’t be too hard on yourself with your investing mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, even a chartered financial analyst like me. The important thing is to laugh at yourself sometimes, and trust that things will eventually go right for you. And, you also must try to avoid the investing mistakes that cost you big money and lots of time because this will surely not be fun at all.
2) Surround yourself with people who like talking about investing, with a smile. I’m not saying that they will always have positive news to share about their portfolio. But, I promise you – the act of discussing investing will rub off on you over time. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself talking about investing too. Just have fun with it, just like you’re talking about a pair of shoes 😊.
3) Get rid of the losers. Sometimes you just need to lighten the load. When you have investments in your portfolio that have generated losses, it makes you feel bad. When you feel bad, you do not want to open your investment statements or see how much money you’ve lost. It is purely natural to feel this way. Once you get rid of your losers, and take the losses, you can move on and laugh all the way to the bank because your portfolio will look better across the board.
And, this week, I want to leave you with a few important takeaways from a recent Wall Street Journal article on “5 Ways to Improve the 401k.” Get it, get it:
1. Raise the default savings rate. Many employers have an automatic enrollment of 3% of your salary. You should consider raising your savings rate over time.
2. Expand access to plans. Small businesses often do not offer 401k plans. New legislation should allow for more small businesses to offer these plans. If you work for an employer who does not offer a 401k, you should explore other retirement options, including a SEP IRA.
3. Reduce 401k leakage. When people leave jobs, 30-40% of people cash out their 401k. This is painful for you financially because you must pay taxes on this money, and the 10%. Please, please try to transfer the 401k if you can swing it.
4. Save for things aside from retirement. I like this one because it speaks to what we actually need. Everyone has emergencies and big things that they are saving for (e.g. house, kids’ college education, etc.), and thus the 401k should not be a catch-up that you tap into for your other savings goals.
5. Make retirement savings last. If you’re a Boomer, this is for you. It’s tempting to cash out that 401k completely, but paying attention to how and when you withdraw money will be key to having enough money during retirement.
That’s it! Have a wonderful week. And, keep smiling. Have a thought to share? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.