As someone passionate about finance both personal and corporate I have enjoyed creating content for Global Money Week. The 2022 theme “build your future, be smart about money” fits perfectly with one of my favourite subjects in matters of finance, investment. The concept of investment is understood by most, put money into something and get more money out. However many, young people in particular struggle with how to get started investing. If you can relate to this we will discuss what you need to do to get started.
How will you invest if you don’t have something to invest in? That’s right, while we all want to invest in the next big thing and make money we are going to have to start by saving. Saving is a struggle for many because saving is more of a habit than an activity. You need to mentally prepare and set yourself up to succeed at saving to have anything to invest in. To do this properly you will need to take all aspects of saving including emergency funds and general savings seriously.
Secondly, you need to identify your goals and approach to investing. You see, there are many investment options available to all of us but your ability to take advantage of these options will depend on you. Looking at capital market investments alone you currently have the choice to invest in shares directly, unit trusts and ETFs. However, investing in shares directly and getting it right will require knowledge that we may not all possess and engaging a broker may be necessary. Are you looking to invest for the short, medium or long term? What areas do you understand that can help you? Questions like this will help guide you as to what options work for you.
Research your options
Now that you know the options research them. It may not seem like it but Zimbabwe has many options for investing. You can invest in capital markets as discussed, businesses, livestock, property and more. The master skill of investing is learning how to research. No skill pays off bigger in investing than the ability to research so this will help you not only at this stage but in future.
Understand the terrain
Depending on which investment options you pick they have their own rules of the game so to speak. Stock market investors will for example keep up with business news and developments particularly around the companies they are interested in and the economy in general. Investors in livestock or agriculture will be a little more concerned with weather developments and things like disease outbreaks and such. Whatever you invest in it has its terrain which you must understand to do well.
Start where you can with what you have
At this point, you’re ready to start. So start where you can with what you have. Waiting until you have thousands to invest is a road paved with regrets. Invest what you have where you can. If it’s $100 start there. If it’s $10 start there too. If it’s $1… You get the idea. All the work you’ve done up to now will count for nought if you don’t get started. That first $100 investment will not likely make you rich but it will get you started on the journey.
Create a habit
And once you’ve started your next goal is to make it a habit. I am a firm believer that we do best when we look at our lives and organise ourselves in terms of habits. The best way to invest is to do it as often as you earn your income. So whether that’s daily, weekly, fortnightly, monthly or some other period that’s the way you should also invest. Putting aside a certain percentage each payday is better than waiting for a huge payday that will allow you to invest. If it’s not already a habit you likely won’t invest when the big payday comes anyway.
Invest in education
Finally, you need to invest in your education. An investor is as good as their knowledge. Even if you are using intermediaries and professionals you must still invest in your understanding of investments. So books, seminars, articles, videos and podcasts on investment should become part of your regular consumption. Yes, approach this too like a habit.