YOU: Hey Genius! So I've always wanted to get started investing, but have no idea where to even start.
GENIUS: Happy to help! It can be confusing when you first start investing, but there are a ton of options today that take a lot of the complication out of it. Firstly, are you looking to invest for a certain goal in mind or were you just looking to put your extra cash somewhere with potential for growth?
YOU: A little bit of both. Id like to buy a house someday, but not anytime within the next 7-10 years and I read somewhere that investing the down payment money can help it grow, but Im worried about losing it all in the market. I also have some cash on hand that I'd prefer to invest than stash in a savings account.
GENIUS: Great, thanks for sending that. There is definitely some risk involved, but thats also where the higher potentials for gains come in. There are no guarantees, but there are some things you can do to mitigate your risks, namely investing for a long-term period and diversification, which is a fancy way of saying don't pull all of your investments in one basket. Have you already looked into any investing options or are you currently investing?
YOU: I am not doing personal investing, but I do have a 401k through my employer. That counts, right?
GENIUS: Sure does! So given what you told me, I would recommend starting off with an automatic investing account. What this means is that instead of going through and picking which stocks or funds you want to invest in, you tell the service how long you want to invest, what your goal is, and how risk you want to be, and they'll take care of the rest. They'll reinvest your funds as the market changes and automatically adjust the investments as time goes along to ensure your investments match your goal and risk tolerance. Would you like some suggestions on services?
YOU: That would be great, but first, can you tell me about the costs? Do I have to have a bunch to start?
GENIUS: The costs are actually pretty low, generally between .3%-.5% of the total amount in your account. These are relatively low compared to most services, namely because you don't have a dedicated advisor you can pick up the phone and call. And the minimums for the most part are $0. I would recommend looking into both Betterment and Wealthsimple. They offer similar services and sound like they may meet your needs. At the end of our conversation, I will leave you with links to check out both.
YOU: Thank you so much. Is there anything else you think I should know?
GENIUS: I would also note that with investing, there are taxes on the gains you make. If you sell an investment within a year after buying it, it will be taxed at your income tax rate. If you wait a year, its at the capital gains rate, which is generally 15%. This is good to know before investing a bunch of money and then selling the funds, without considering the tax implications.
YOU: Oh, thats good to know. I don't plan to sell anything that quickly, but I will definitely take a look into the services.
GENIUS: Sounds like a plan! The links are included below. And if you have any more questions, you know where to find us!