First steps towards investing

In todays day and age, personal investments have become more diverse than they have ever been. We live in a time where tools are available to individuals, allowing them to put their money into a variety of options. The days where excess income went into the bank and sat there are over. People all over the world are now highly aware and motivated about the merits of having their money work for them.

Often, we read about how investment is not only for the wealthy and affluent. Today, there are investment opportunities for people across all income groups. Investment is more of a mindset than a financial luxury. There is a strong belief that not investing well is among the biggest financial mistakes people make.

There was once a time where the benchmark for financial stability was owning a home. People dedicated their entire career to putting away enough money to begin the process of buying their home. That coupled with long term borrowing was the key to their financial future. Today that trend is changing. Home ownership is no longer perceived as the gold at the end of the rainbow when it comes to financial security.

As a trend, a larger chunk of disposable income is being committed to experiences over things still, there are more options than ever when it comes to what people are doing with their money.

With easy access to information, people are becoming aware of the risk, reward gradient most investments come with. To help them along, a large number of wealth management firms have propped up, making their services affordable and accessible to investors of all sizes. No longer are wealth management services, a luxury reserved for only to the upper echelons on society. Even some of the public sector funds have made it possible for investors to begin committing money in smaller ticket sizes.

As far as individuals and personal investments are concerned, in the recent past, few have been talked about with as much interest as crypto currencies. With the mass market adoption of block chain technology being a relatively new concept, it has captured the interest of institutional and personal investors alike.

As a byproduct of this phenomenon, the advent of the ICO or Initial Coin Offering has made it possible for individuals to directly invest in businesses they like in small ticket sizes without the paperwork and processes associated with the share market.

While the rapid rise of Bitcoin, the most popular of the crypto currencies has been well documented, opinion on its long term sustainability is still divided.

An interesting new avenue that has gained some popularity recently is photography. Collecting art has always been an investment that parades as a hobby. People have been on the lookout for paintings, sculptures and other art that they can acquire and hold as its value rises. It is only natural that photography finds itself as the newest addition to this club. It is important to note though that the recent values attached to such works is substantial integral to the sudden interest in the field.

At the end of the day, it is important to note that predicting the future is never going to be easy. When it comes to the value investments bring over the long term there will always be risks. Even the experts do not get it right all the time. In such situations it is important to have contingencies. Whether it is having some investments in places where they can be liquidated easily or leaving a certain section of funds as savings, not committing them to the portfolio, it is important to account for uncertainties. Some people are more comfortable picking up short term debt for such contingencies. Whether it is leveraging credit card cycles or going to payday lenders, different people approach it differently depending on their comfort level with various kinds of debt.

While investing is a great step towards financial stability, it is important to make sure it is done right. It is well and good to put some money away regularly but at the end of the day, overstretching finances to ensure investment has its own set of downsides. Like with most things in life, balance is the key.

Obviously, the ideal mix of high risk vs stable investments is different for everyone. Finding the right one for one’s individual needs will be the biggest factor when it comes to seeing real benefit from investments. For those that are still waiting to get started, there is no real alternative to diving right in. The best first step towards starting the process is making that first investment. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a big one, just one to get the ball rolling. More often than not, just the inclination to put money away gets people started on the fulfilling journey.

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