Everyone can make smart investments regardless of wealth status. In fact, it is one of the most important things one can do to ensure future financial stability. Investing can be a scary endeavor for a beginner; the possibility of loss makes some people leery.
Navigating the investment world doesn’t have to complicated nor scary. Whether retirement is close on the horizon or you are in your early 20s, there are multiple options for every financial situation. Before investing, everyone should determine their comfort level with losses. If you are comfortable with risk, there are even more options.
Life Insurance
Every single person needs to have a good life insurance policy. The money that one invests will be returned later. It’s a low risk investment because life insurance is regulated by the government.
Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA)
An IRA is an account that investors can put away money each year up to $5,000. This is a wonderful option for younger people. There are two options: a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA. A financial advisor can help pick the right one for you.
One of the main differences between a 401(k) and an IRA is that the latter can grow tax free and penalty free once you reach the age of 59. This is because you deposit contributions with after-tax dollars.
When talking about an investment portfolio, most often the talk revolves around stocks. Stocks are a form of participation in a company’s growth. There are risk with stocks because investors aren’t given a promise of return when investing. However, it is these risk that often produce the highest returns. A diversified investment portfolio generally will contain at least five different stocks.
There are a variety of stocks, and this makes the stock market a scary place for beginners. Here are a few kinds of stocks you will encounter:
Preferred Stock: When you purchase preferred stock, you are placed above the common stock owners in a company. You will receive your dividend before other owners, even during bankruptcy.
Common Stock: Common stocks mean that you are part owner of the company. You are given voting powers within the company; the more stocks you own the more your vote will count.
Once you understand these differences, there are three different kind of stock classes.
Class A Stock: These are shares that you can buy, sell or hold at your leisure. This class is the most commonly traded.
Class B Stock: These aren’t publicly traded; they are generally held by workers from within the company. 
Class B can be sold off, but it’s common knowledge when insiders buy and sell.
Class C Stock: These can be publicly traded, but owners aren’t given voting rights. They often are viewed as less valuable.
Mutual Funds
Mutual funds are investments that pool money from different investors to increase their profits and buying power. One of the main benefits is the diversification of mutual funds. They spread their holdings across different investments.
For those who don’t have much knowledge about investment portfolios, mutual funds are managed by professionals. They understand the best risk to get a good trade-off. They are ideal for those who don’t have time to research and monitor assets. Also, these can be traded daily, just like stocks. 
A key to a solid investment portfolio is ensuring it is diversified. As a new investor, it’s best to start with investing in your company with a 401(k) up to their match. Otherwise, you are passing up free money. Once you have invested up to the match, it’s time to search elsewhere. You may decide not to have an IRA because you have a solid 401(k).
Investing in stocks is the most popular area. It can be complicated to manage, so finding a good financial advisor is key to managing your investments. Mutual funds are another solid option, especially if you find investing confusing. You can have a variety of all these, plus assets such as bonds. Don’t wait to invest; the best yields are from those who start investing early in life.

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