If anyone stumbles upon this blog I hope that one of the lessons they will take away from it is the importance of investing. In fact, most personal finance blogs will probably have some kind of post(s) dedicated to investing. Those topics include how much you should save (see also here, here), what I consider to the be the number one rule of personal finance, not raiding your retirement accounts, not being afraid of a financial downturn, how to evaluate mutual funds, and even socially conscious investing. I know that I have written other posts on investing (just click on the investing category for other ones) and there are other blogs that do a much better job than I do on covering the subject.
If you want financial freedom I just think that investing your money is a fundamental tenet that has to be part of anyone’s financial future. So much so that I have advocated it that we mandate it. That said I still get e-mails and comments from people that they can’t afford it, they don’t know how to invest, they don’t have the time, they would rather live for now instead of for later, and even complained that the stock market is nothing but a casino. And I can understand all of that. I know that some of this writing will fall on deaf ears.
However, if you do have an investment plan at work (a 401k or 403b) you probably will have an employer (not all employers, but most) that will offer you a match to your investing. In other words, if you invest save 6% of your money then your employer might match it dollar for dollar or for 50% of your dollar. All you have to do to get that money is to fill out the paperwork to start your retirement plan at work. Then the money that the company gives you is basically FREE money.
Think of it this way if you have an employer that will match your investment up to 5% that means you are, in essence, already getting a 100% return on your money BEFORE you even invest that money.
WHAT A DEAL!
If you have a retirement plan at work and you don’t sign up for it you most likely are giving up FREE MONEY! Get the free money! Even if you are in debt and want to use your money to pay off massive amounts of debt contribute at least enough to your retirement accounts to get the match that your employer is offering. It is FREE MONEY!
Did I mention that this money was FREE! All you have to do is fill out the paperwork.
The Bottom Line: I am a huge believer in investing. Some people will disagree. That is fine. But don’t pass up the free money. You get an instant positive return. Yes, it means that some money will be taken out of your paycheck. However, it is usually only a small amount, sometimes as little as $100 a paycheck if you think about it. Take the FREE money.