My Boyfriend discovered the stock market recently.
He comes home everyday and excitedly tells me how the market was that day. He’s only recently had the money to invest, and he’s investing with all the boyish enthusiasm of a 40 year old man who’s discovered a new universe in the back yard.
It’s got me thinking about how I was when I discovered investing….and, over the years, how I became weary and fearful of putting money in the market.
You see, I’ve been sitting on some money. I’m saving it for when the world ends. Like, well, a lot of money. To me, at least. Hyper-inflation is surely imminent. I could come up with 100 excuses why I let it sit in a savings account for…erm….5 years or so. What if I need to buy a wind turbine? But really, it all just comes down to fear.
Today’s blog post is about letting go of investing fear so you can get on with the business of financial wellness.
But First, Some Excuses
I am a worrier. I’ll say it.
There are some really good reasons I haven’t invested very heavily the last few years. I used to have a great job with health insurance and all those wonderful benefits middle class people just get in almost any other developed country. I got hurt at that job and couldn’t do it anymore. I had no education in anything else, and so I devoted a couple years to education. I went periods of time without working while living on savings.
I took jobs that were severely below the pay grade I had previously and my living situation was not terribly set in stone or stable. Throughout all of this, I just clung to my money. So afraid that I had saved money for the last time years ago. I had all my money-saving chops but I didn’t have the strong income to go with it anymore.
I hate financial gurus who will tell you that you can just save your money no matter how much you make or how much debt you have. You have to have both, the income and the money saving chops, for the most part.
So today I’m back to making money and saving. I’m not totally out of the woods with a solid career but I’m in the green now. I have no reason to be fearful that all my money will melt out of my hands like grains of sand in a wind tunnel. I’m still quite scared though.
What’s With the Negativity
When my boyfriend started investing I’ll admit that I was rolling my eyes a bit.
My head: oh, you’re wide-eyed and bushy-tailed now but just wait until you see the market crash. You’ll learn
I acted like a withered old woman who had her heart broken too many times.
Me to me: Whoa, where did that negativity come from? Get yourself together woman.
Whenever I have a strong or incongruous reaction to something I know I’m reacting to old baggage and crap that I never let go of. I’m a bit (maybe a lot) bitter about people who have invested more than I have, people who have saved more, and people who make more money than I do.
I’ve worked hard in my life to work on that woman inside who says to me, “It isn’t fair,” “you always get the rotten end of the deal,” and “you’ll never be anything.”
The comparison game is a long and lonely road, and it is a game you can play no matter how much outer stuff you may attain. A woman who lives on comparisons is one who will suffer much indeed.
Where to Put the Money
This is where we all decide– me and you and all of us– where the money should go. I need your help here.
Roth IRA- I’m lucky enough to qualify for a Roth IRA which I have not fully funded for about 3 years. So there’s $5500 that could go somewhere.
Other retirement accounts- As a freelancer with no access to a matching 401(k) I haven’t seen any strong arguments for funding a retirement account vs. a traditional investment account unless you want to make your money untouchable for the next 50 years.
CDs- Interest rates are projected to go up. I’m usually only going to buy CDs when the opposite is true.
Aggressive growth stocks- I’m more of a slow, steady return person. I can’t take the heart attacks every few months.
Dividend Paying Stocks- This is probably the my strongest persuasion right now. Even if the stock market tanks one can find reliably returning dividend stocks that could provide monthly income.
Something Else- The above list was off the top of my head. Does anyone have an investment idea I didn’t think of?
Tell me what I should do with my money!