Does Investing Really Need to Be Complex?

Are you making investing more complex than it needs to be? Let’s simplify.

One of the most reliable ways to build wealth over time is to invest. However, many people are intimidated by the idea of investing. How do you choose a good investment? And what happens if the market has problems? And, of course, the process of investing just seems complex sometimes. Between asset allocation and worries about how much to set aside, it’s very easy to become discouraged.

Good news: you don’t actually need to put together a complex portfolio. Investing can actually be fairly simple.

Simplify Your Investing Strategy

Before you start investing, whether it’s in a retirement account or income portfolio, or for some other purpose, you need to figure out the why behind your portfolio. What are you trying to accomplish? Creating a solid investment plan is about tailoring it to your goals. For most of us, goals don’t necessarily coincide with a complex plan. Building wealth for the future doesn’t need to be difficult or complicated. In fact, there are indications two of the most important factors in long-term success for investors are:

  1. Investing more. The more money you put in, the more you get out. You have to invest enough. Amount matters.
  2. Asset allocation. You need to consider your asset allocation — and it doesn’t even have to be a complex asset allocation. For most of us, a basic asset allocation including stocks and bonds is sufficient.

As you can see, it’s not about stock picking or trying to “beat” the system. It’s not about chasing the hottest new investment. It’s about really thinking about what you want to accomplish and then making a realistic plan to accomplish it.

When you simplify your investments, it is easier to get started. Investing in low-cost index funds and ETFs is one way to get started simply. You don’t have to worry about choosing individual investments, and it’s possible to diversify as much as you would like — even investing in commodities, real estate, and currencies if you are so inclined. These types of investments are easy to begin with, no matter what online broker you use, and it’s possible to build a rather simple portfolio with them.

One of my favorite places to get started with a simple approach is Betterment. You can read my Betterment review and then decide if it works for you.

It’s in Your Head

For many, the complexities of investing are in their heads. While there are complex financial instruments out there, the truth is that you don’t need them. Yes, understanding options and futures can be difficult. However, you don’t need to be a derivatives genius to start investing and building wealth. There are plenty of simple investments that are easy to understand — and just as easy to invest in.

Get out of the mindset that investing is difficult. It can actually be quite simple. You can start with a few bucks and use dollar cost averaging to your advantage. You can boost your wealth and improve your financial situation long-term with the help of investing. Open an online brokerage account, choose a couple of funds to get you off on the right foot, and get started. The important thing is to start. Once you are more comfortable you can, if you want, add more complexity to your investment portfolio.

Looking for more resources to help you start investing? Check out my investing resource page with links to my favorite online brokerages, as well as a link to my guide on how to get started investing.

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