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Start Investing: Seven Guiding Principles

Guidelines to start investing today!

Hiding your money under a mattress as an investment strategy is probably not a good idea. You put your money at all sorts of risk: fire, floods, forgetfulness. Furthermore, one of the first places thieves may go to look for your stash is under your mattress.

So, what choices do you have to get your money to roll up its sleeves and do some heavy lifting on your behalf? The short answer: Investing. But in a world with so many thoughts, opinions, and suggestions, where do you even start?

These seven guiding principles can help you start investing now and will show you how investing can reach your financial goals!

1. Allocate your assets

Using asset allocation, investors divide their money among different asset classes, such as stocks, bonds, and cash alternatives like money market accounts. These asset classes have different risk profiles and potential returns.1 The idea is to offset losses in one class with gains in another and thus reduce the overall risk of the portfolio. It’s important to remember that asset allocation is an approach to help manage investment risk; it does not guarantee against investment loss.2 The most appropriate asset allocation will depend on each individual’s situation and financial goals.

2. Take advantage of opportunities

A great way to start investing is to take advantage of opportunities provided to you. Many investors make long-term investment decisions with one target in mind: building for retirement. One approach to long-term investing is taking advantage of employer-sponsored plans. Their deferment of federal taxes reduces employees’ immediate annual taxable income. Some employers also make matching contributions to employer-sponsored plans. Employer contributions may be considered an incentive to enroll in an employer-sponsored plan.

3. Take the (appropriate) risk

While risk is inevitable and integral to investing, one of the most important questions you should ask yourself is: How much risk are you willing to accept? If you’re in your twenties, you may have at least four decades before you decide to retire. At that age, you may consider pursuing higher-risk investments that can weather long-term market fluctuations. However, if you’re in your sixties and retirement is clearly within sight, you may want to create a portfolio that has a lower risk profile.

4. Make regular contributions

When you start investing, make sure you don’t stop! One way to potentially build wealth and reach your financial goals over the long haul is through consistency. As with any long-term pursuit, investing requires consistency and discipline. By developing the habit of making regular deposits, your investment may grow over time and allow you to reach your financial goals.

5. Understand what you own

You probably would not buy a car without understanding at least the basics about the make, the model, and how it performs. Buyers often test drive vehicles to determine whether they are good fits, and many conduct further research before making the decision to buy. The same principle applies to other areas of life, such as health care and buying a home. Investing should be no different. You should consider having at least a basic understanding of the businesses in which you want to invest.

6. Consider starting early

The lesson is simple: start investing early, and keep it up once you start. Invest early and keep it up to help you better achieve your financial goals. Investors should evaluate their ability to continue making purchases through periods of declining and rising prices.

7. Manage your emotions

Making emotional investment decisions—whether from exuberance or panic—has the potential to set the stage for disaster or, in the absolute best-case scenario, missed opportunities. The markets occasional tumbles have sent many emotional investors into panic and quick exits. The takeaway: It’s often better to hang on for the ride than to jump ship based on emotional reactions to “noise” from the media.

We know that creating and implementing an investment plan that works well for you and your financial goals is an everchanging journey. We hope that these seven guiding principles provided you with the building blocks to help you start investing and reach your financial goals. Looking for more guidance and expertise? Our team at Clearview Wealth Management GroupSM, available through CFS*, is here to help!


1. The return and principal value of stock prices will fluctuate as market conditions change, and shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. The market value of a bond will fluctuate with changes in interest rates. As rates fall, the values of existing bonds typically rises. If an investor sells a bond before maturity, it may be worth more or less than the initial purchase price. By holding a bond to maturity investors will receive the interest payments due plus their original principal, barring default by the issuer. Money market funds seek to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 a share. Money held in money market funds is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. It’s possible to lose money by investing in a money market fund. Mutual funds are sold by prospectus. Please consider the charges, risks, expenses, and investment objectives carefully before investing. A prospectus containing this and other information about the investment company can be obtained from your financial professional. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.

2. Investments seeking to achieve higher potential returns also involve a higher degree of risk. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Actual results will vary.

* Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, LP (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA / SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. The Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.

Financial Advisors are registered to conduct securities business and licensed to conduct insurance business in limited states. Response to, or contact with, residents of other states will be made only upon compliance with applicable licensing and registration requirements. The information in this website is for U.S. residents only and does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to purchase brokerage services to persons outside of the United States.

CFS representatives do not provide tax or legal guidance. For such guidance please consult with a qualified professional. Information shown is for general illustration purposes and does not predict or depict the performance of any investment or strategy. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

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