Where My Money Is Invested – Is Now The Time To Buy?
A lot has been changing in our world recently but today let’s talk about the market specifically and answer the question: “is now the time to buy?”.
This is not my favorite question by far. Why? Well, it most likely means that you haven’t been buying already. I’m not talking about the last couple of days or weeks I’m talking about developing the habit of investing over the last few years. Everyone wants to figure out the secret and hack the market so they get rich quick. In my opinion, there is no secret and nobody can guarantee what the market will do. So the answer to “when should I buy?” is actually pretty simple.
Start ‘buying’ or investing as soon as you possibly can. It just so happens that today is the youngest you will ever be for the rest of your life. Today is the day that you need to start.
I don’t care when you are reading this. I don’t care if the market is sky high or crashing. Today is the day.
Well, let’s consider your end goal. My end goal is to have a HUGE nest egg of money waiting for me that I can use to one day have my financial freedom. This is also known as retirement. To do that, I’m going to stick to my plan and be patient. I know that it would be easy to panic right now, in these uncertain times but that won’t help us, as young adults, get to where we want to be in 30 years.
Speaking of my plan, I want to tell you exactly what investments are part of that plan. I want to go fund by fund, stock by stock, and bank by bank. In this article, I share every aspect of my investments except the dollar amount associated with them. Instead, I’ll tell you what percent each one makes up. Let’s jump into it.
My investing plan isn’t fancy and it won’t make me rich overnight, but it has proven to work. I spend about an hour looking over things every month and that’s about it. Nothing more than that needs to be done.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right?
Where My Money Is Invested By Institution
Because I know I’m going to get this question at some point, let’s start with going through my investments at the very top and that is by the institution. I want to show you which bank holds what % of my investments and why.
When it comes to banks I use three. Principal, Wealthfront, and Interactive Brokers. Could I use less than three? Sure. But like many of you, I’m forced to use a specific bank for my work’s 401(k). In this case, Principal.
As for Wealthfront and Interactive Brokers, those I chose for myself. To be honest, I really enjoy Wealthfront. It makes investing incredibly easy. This is the product I tell my students to use when they take Money Made Easy. I originally switched to them for their High Yield Online Savings account but stayed for their Roth IRA.
Interactive Brokers is a bank I switched to so I could continue swing trading and pay lower commission per trade. Well, 2019 was the year of everyone cutting their trading fees to $0 thanks to Robinhood but I never switched. I have slowed down my swing trading and have instead bought and held 3 stocks (I’ll tell you which later).
My take on Interactive Brokers is that it is just okay. It isn’t fancy, and if I get back into trading I’ll probably re-open my TD Ameritrade account. IB’s two-factor authentication is extremely complicated and sometimes messes up. I don’t want to be using a platform that I can’t access my money. Yes, that means I’ll NEVER switch to the crash happy Robinhood. For now, though it does the trick.
Here is how my three different accounts break down when it comes to percentages of the total money invested:
*Note: My work 401(k) and Roth IRA are contributed to every month while my trading account is not.
What Funds I’m Invested In
Showing you which institutions have what percentage of my investments in them isn’t specific enough for you, is it? You want to know what I’m invested in. Ask and you shall receive!
Before you look at the chart (don’t jump ahead) I want to give you a slight warning. I am not an investing expert, no one is. These are stocks, mutual funds, and index funds that I have chosen for me and they may not be right for you. You must think for yourself before you invest.
Personally, I like taking on a little more risk than most. You’ll see that represented in the chart as some of my positions in individual stocks are more heavily weighted.
I realize that there is a ton of information here that you may have never seen before. To process this, I would suggest two different tactics.
- Look at your investment accounts and see if we have any funds in common. Then look up one of these funds simply by googling it and read about it. There’s a small cheat sheet below.
- If you are a data nerd (guilty) then look up each fund and research it. Learn what is in each fund, what the expense ratios are, and how they are performing.
If you do any sort of research you’ll realize that out of 10 (most risk) my portfolio is set up to about an 8. If it were a 10 then I would be all stocks, 0 would be all bonds/cash. Again, everyone’s set up and risk tolerance is going to be different. Build a plan around you and only you.
Why I’m Buying Nothing Right Now
I’m buying nothing for one simple reason:
I have no cash.
No, I’m not totally broke. My plan tells me to invest as soon as I get the EXTRA cash. This doesn’t mean I don’t have any cash, I do. But that cash is in my emergency fund or everyday spending account which I’m definitely not sticking in the market. The rest of my assets are tied up in things like real estate, and other small investments.
If you want to get technical then yes, I am buying because my monthly contributions into my 401(k) and Roth IRA are still happening. When I say I’m not buying, I mean I’m not taking a hot stock tip from FinTwit (Financial Twitter) or a buddy and making an impulse purchase.
There is nothing wrong with this, it’s just not my style. If you would have asked me 5 years ago then yes, I probably would have acted. I’ve learned it just isn’t worth the stress anymore.
Lastly, investing a lump sum (aka all the money you have free to invest) has proven to return higher on average over the long-run than dollar-cost averaging (investing a little every month). Ben Carlson breaks it down in his article The Lump Sum vs. Dollar Cost Averaging Decision.
Build A Plan And Stay The Course
What I am going to do is keep to my plan and stay the course. Your investments are going to move like a roller coaster, there is absolutely nothing you can do about that. What we are hoping to see is that roller coaster steadily moving upward over a long period of time.
Yes, you need to be patient. If you want to get-rich-quick then go look somewhere else because you aren’t going to find that investing in an index fund. Can you get lucky on a single stock? Sure but if you are speculating on a single ticker then your chances of losing are much greater then my chances of losing over the long-run.
This is the basis of one of the modules in my course, Money Made Easy. It teaches you how to open an account, fund an account, set up automatic transfers into that account and more. By the end of that module, you will understand what you are invested in and how much of a potential nest egg you can have in the future.
If the drop in the market is making you anxious or if you are asking “What stock should I buy” but don’t have extra cash sitting around, then I would highly suggest you check out the course. There is so much detailed information waiting for you there.
The Bottom Line
It’s crazy how many people come out of nowhere and suddenly want to start investing because they heard from someone, who heard from someone, who heard from someone about a stock that is about to get sky high. On one hand, this makes me want to pull my hair out. On the other side of things, it makes me happy that people are showing an interest in getting started. We all must start somewhere.
The issue I have is when I steer them away from an individual stock towards a lower-risk route and they ignore me altogether. Do I keep trying or let them learn from trial by fire as I did? I can distinctly remember losing $1,500 overnight almost 10 years ago now and how awful it felt.
One thing is for sure. If you don’t have financial stability in your life, then you have no business trading individual stocks. This tweet sums up my thoughts:
Build out your emergency fund and take care of yourself and your family first before you begin asking what stock to buy. The ride may be exhilarating but the crash and burn at the end will make it more trouble than it’s worth.
Lastly, remember the time to buy is right now. Get in and early as you can and stay in for as long as you can. That’s the name of the game.
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