"I have to say that I love your emails. They are helpful, uplifting, and down right witty. . . I truly enjoy them greatly." -Eugene
Read More Testimonials»

On the Finances Blog

Bankruptcy: The Power of the Clean Slate

It doesn’t take many clicks online to find writing and advice on how to shape up your finances, even First30Days has a great financial advice section found here. There are...

Read More About Bankruptcy: The Power of the Clean Slate»

Our Smart Investing Experts

Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly

Author of The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing

Shared by First30Days View Profile»
Lauren Young

Lauren Young

Journalist and department editor at BusinessWeek

Shared by First30Days View Profile»
Stephen Gandel

Stephen Gandel

Money magazine senior writer

Shared by First30Days View Profile»

Meet all of our Finances Experts»

Expert Network

Get help from our network of more than 300 experts on changes big and small, personal and professional.

Lauren Young on Smart Investing

Lauren Young on Smart Investing

Lauren Young knows a thing or two about investing—she's a personal finance expert that readers have come to rely on! She is a department editor at BusinessWeek, covering all aspects of personal finance and was also a senior writer at SmartMoney. Young covered mutual funds and capital markets for Dow Jones News for three years and was a frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal. Here, she shares simple tips for getting started with investing that makes it seem, actually, not so hard after all!

Why should people invest?

Because if you don’t you will have nothing for your future. The average person has a balance of about $60,000 in their 401(k) when they reach their retirement. I don’t think that many people can live on $60,000 from age 65, and we know that most people are living well into their 90s now. Even if you add in social security, I don’t think that will do very much for you.

How does a smart investor begin?

I think you can’t be totally freaked out and think that you need tons of money to get started. The best thing to do is set aside a small amount of money every month and as you get older or feel richer, add more to it over time. Start by investing $50 or $100 dollars a month into a diversified mutual fund.

If you don’t have any investment I would recommend something called a target date mutual fund, which is an asset allocation portfolio that mixes stocks, bonds, cash appropriate to your age, it gives you some international exposure. That’s the easiest way to get started. Financial services firm will happily take your money. They’ll happily suck it right out of your bank account if you’ll set it up. Just put it on autopilot.

How can people find the right investments?

I don’t think everybody can tell that easily. If you’re pretty new to investing, it’s going to be hard to discern whether or not it’s the right investment for you. We know that people have a tendency to be too conservative. That’s why I recommend a target date mutual fund, because the asset allocation is already done for you. You say, “I’m 40 years old, I plan to retire in 25 years,” and the fund literally has an expiration date 25 years from now.

The other thing is that if people want to buy stocks and bonds, they can buy stocks in the company they own, which is one the oldest tricks in the investing book—know what you own. If you go to Starbucks everyday, and you think it’s a good investment and want to buy Starbucks stock, buy a few shares. Start small. The thing about investing in stock is that if you start getting nervous and checking your portfolio incessantly, it’s not really a good thing. You really don’t want to be monitoring your portfolio minute to minute. Unless you’re a professional trader, that’s just not healthy. If you can’t sleep at night because you think you made a bad investment choice, that is definitely not a good thing.

What do people need to know about stocks, specifically?

You have to be really careful about fees, and how much things cost, because over a 30-year time span it can be a difference of tens of thousands of dollars. The average mutual fund has an expense ratio of about 1% of assets. For every hundred you invest you pay about 1 dollar. You’re paying a professional to manage it. That’s pretty good. You pay a mechanic to fix your car, I don’t think they’re only going to charge you 1% of the price of your car to maintain it. So you really need to be mindful.

SIGNATURE QUESTIONS

What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?

Change is good. I believe everything happens for a reason. I really do believe that if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be.

The best thing about change is...

...It kicks you in the butt.

What is the best change you have ever made?

I moved to Europe not long after college. It was so different. The best change was putting myself in a totally foreign environment. I lived in Hungary and Budapest, and it was very seminal. Sometimes you need to take the road less traveled.

For more from Lauren Young, visit www.businessweek.com.

Posted: 7/17/08
KarenLola1

Great article! I hope this helps a lot of women out there.
Fix your marriage and relationship after a breakup or divorce, 100% guarantee Love spell..! A very big problem occurred in my Marriage seven months ago,between me and my husband .so terrible that he took the case to court for a divorce. he said that he never wanted to stay with me again,and that he didn't love me anymore.So he packed out of the house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get him back,after much begging,but all to no avail.and he confirmed it that he has made his decision,and he never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my husband .So i explained every thing to him,so he told me that the only way i can get my husband back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for him too.So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow his advice. Then he gave me the email address of the spell caster whom he visited. I sent a mail to the address he gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my husband back the next day. What an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me, and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my husband who didn't call me for the past 7 months, gave me a call to inform me that he is coming back. So Amazing!! So that was how he came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and he apologized for his mistake,and for the pain he caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster. So, i will advice you out there if you have any problem contact Dr Trust, i give you 100% guarantee that he will help you.. Email him at: Ultimatespellcast@gmail.com or Ultimatespellcast@yahoo.com Call +2348156885231 Thanks for reading.