Investing can help you maximise the amount of money you can earn, so you can grow your wealth and have greater financial security when you head into your retirement years. If you aren’t yet investing, however, there are some things you should know before dipping your toe into the stock market.
Here are three simple to follow tips for any beginner investor just starting out.
1. Audit your finances before you even start to invest
Before taking on the risk of investing your money in the stock market, you should first have a plan and feel financially stable.
- Identify your financial goals: Most likely, you invest because you want to start putting money away for retirement. Whatever your goal may be, the first step is identifying it and then quantifying it. When do you want to achieve them and how much will they cost? Prioritise your goals in order of importance and urgency to you. Which goal do you want to work on first?
- Understand your cash flow: It’s important to know how much money you have coming in every month and how much you have going out. This way, your savings — and, ultimately, your investing — is consistent.
- Have an emergency fund: Make sure you have a cash reserve that you can easily tap into before putting any money into the market. This is cash that you can fall back on if needed, such as if you lose your job or need to fund an unexpected expense.
2. Utilise retirement accounts as much as you can
There’s a reason the majority of Singaporeans participate in the market through their retirement accounts: It’s low-hanging fruit when you’re looking to invest.
If you have access to a work retirement plan, make sure a portion of your paycheck is automatically invested in the account each pay period. The ideal contribution amount is between 15% to 20% of your gross income, but do what works with your budget and income level.
3. Know you don’t have to be an expert
When you’re looking to invest beyond your retirement accounts, there are plenty of investment vehicles out there that can help.
If you don’t know follow the market closely, consider putting money into robo-advisors like Syfe and StashAway or bank platforms such as OCBC RoboInvest or DBS digiPortfolio. These types of platforms and programs typically provide some advisory services, but you’ll also want to make sure you know any app, membership or investing fees beforehand.