Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page. Here’s how to start putting your money to work. Key points Investing your money can help you grow it into a larger sum over time. It’s a good idea to figure out how much you can invest and what account to take advantage of.
Evaluate your risk tolerance as well, to ensure you’re putting your money in the right places based on your age and investing goals. Will 2023 be the year you start investing? If you’ve yet to dabble in investing, the sooner you’re able to get started, the better. When you invest money, you get a chance to grow it into a larger sum over time. And investing could be your ticket to meeting big goals, like being able to retire on time and in a comfortable manner.
If you’re not sure how to start investing but want to kick off your efforts in the new year, here are some key steps to take.
1. Put yourself on a budget Once you get on a budget, you’ll have a realistic idea of how much money you have available to invest with. So map out your monthly expenses, from your rent or mortgage payment to your transportation costs to your grocery bills, and see how much you can afford to invest. You don’t want to put so much money into investments that you struggle to pay your essential bills.
2. Decide how you’ll split your money between a brokerage account and retirement plan Investing in a dedicated retirement plan like a 401(k) or IRA could help you grow your money in a tax-advantaged manner. But these plans are also restrictive in that you’re required to keep your money untouched until age 59 ½ or otherwise risk penalties. Meanwhile, with a regular brokerage account, you can access your funds at any point in time without penalty, but you won’t get any tax breaks in the course of investing. Think about where you want to invest your money so you’ll know which type of account(s) to open. Dividing your money between a retirement account and a regular brokerage account isn’t a bad idea if you want some tax benefits, but also want some of your assets held in a less-restrictive account.
3. Commit to investing a preset amount of money each month It’s a good idea to commit to investing a certain amount of money each month based on what your budget allows for — and to put the process on autopilot. Many brokerages and IRAs will allow you to set up automatic transfers so you can stay on track. And if you decide to invest in a 401(k) plan through your job, your contributions will be deducted from your paychecks automatically.
4. Assess your risk tolerance Before you can start buying assets for your retirement plan or brokerage account, you’ll need to see how much risk you’re willing to take on. If you’re saving for retirement and you’re only in your 20s or 30s, it pays to push yourself to take some added risk because you have time to ride out market downturns. And often, taking on some risk means reaping greater rewards. But also, you don’t want to take on risk to the point where it causes you to lose sleep. So you’ll need to balance your desire to score high returns with your near-term mental well-being.
If you don’t need to spend your entire paycheck on living expenses, then it pays to invest some of your money — even if it’s a small amount at first. And the sooner you start putting your money to work, the more wealth you’re likely to accumulate in the course of your investing career.