Investments: Where to Start?

by Maryann Ross Levanti 05/03/2020

Photo by 3D Animation Production Company via Pixabay

Have you received your 401K packet? It probably had some selections to make, such as a list of investment options to choose from. A small choice like this makes a big difference down the road. Whether you own a 401K, need to fund your own retirement, are putting a down payment on a home, or have some money left to you by a relative, there are some basic investment principles.

Stocks Are Still Your Best Bet

Every decade or two, the stock market tanks, everyone panics and some people say stocks are just a gamble. And if you get excited and buy in heavily while the Dow is nearing its peak, you will have a problem when the inevitable downturn comes. But consider this: since 1957, when the S&P 500 (an index of the top 500 stocks, a more accurate all-around market measure than the Dow) was established, its issues have returned around 9 percent a year. That’s despite a decade-long slump in the 70’s, the dot.com bust of 2000, and the “Great Recession” that started in 2008. If you’re in the market for another 20, 30 or 40 years, these setbacks are merely a dip in your long-term, upward progression.

Some other pointers:

  • Dollar cost average by buying small amounts regularly over time. If you’re in a 401K, this is automatically done for you. Don’t “buy high” by jumping on board when the market’s hot.

  • If you have a 401K, try to make the maximum contribution. If your employer matches, you’re turning down free money if you don’t.

  • Don’t get excited about what’s hot today. When stocks are low, some people say gold is a no-lose choice. It’s not. It will come down. In the late 90s, day traders were bragging constantly about their latest coup, investing in startups that had never made money and never would. It came to a screaming halt in 2000. 

  • Be careful of picking individual stocks. Few people beat the market average. Even professionals who manage funds don’t do well. Favor index funds. An S&P 500 index fund buys every stock in the S&P 500. It doesn't try to outguess the market. 

  • Financial advisers may come to you suggesting their favored investment. Be leery of anyone who presents a solution before understanding your situation.

Stick to a sound, steady plan and don’t get rattled by the noise around you, and you can build a comfortable nest egg over a lifetime.

About the Author
Author

Maryann Ross Levanti

I'm Maryann Ross Levanti, looking forward to meeting you and helping you find your new home and/or sell your current one. I've lived in Fairfield County the majority of my life - grew up in Westport, (Coleytown, Coleytown, Staples), undergrad at UPenn, masters from Edinburgh, Scotland. I'm ABR and GRI certified, and hold a broker's license in real estate, as well as a provisional appraiser license. Additionally, I am the exclusive agent for CCO Habitats - a HOBI award winning building company which regularly offers new construction homes as well as renovated homes to the market in Westport. In my 20 plus years of selling homes, I've learned many things - among them - the customer is not always right. Nor am I. However, if we work together we have a much better chance of being correct and either getting your home sold or finding the home that best suits your needs. Yes, I'm outspoken and opinionated. But anyone with a license can open a door - wouldn't you rather have doors opened by someone who actually tells you the truth and is willing to put her years of experience and knowledge into working 24/7 for you to help you understand what you're getting into? You may not always like what you hear, and there are no crystal balls in this business. But I believe an informed decision is always better. Hopefully you do too! As a yearly winner of the Connecticut Five Star Realtor award and frequently repeated recipient of customer service awards indicate; my priority is you, my client, and my clients appreciate it. Put my local knowledge, professional skills, ethics and dedication to work for you - give me a call 203.984.5157.