Investing is difficult. There are so many things to buy and you always feel like there’s just not enough money at the end of the month. But unless you win the lotto (we don’t recommend you try) or you never want to retire, you’re going to have to figure out how to do it.
Some people think when I’m a bit older, more experienced, I’ll get paid more and then I’ll have enough money to invest. But the problem is the longer you put off investing, the less time you have for your money to compound. That is why it is so important to teach your kids about investing as early as possible. This is an important skill that will set them up for life.
There is no time like the present to invest. And that’s particularly true when COVID-19 has put forced restrictions on some of our preferred indulgences. Now’s the time to really think deeply about what you want and what you need, and whether or not you can invest more.
Here are 5 easy tricks to help you invest more:
1. Find a guardian angel
Humans are all alike. We’re hard wired for instant gratification as shown in the iconic Stanford Marshmallow Test. Thinking long term requires self-discipline and restraint. Buying something you want is far more thrilling than putting the equivalent amount into your investment account; given the choice, 9 times out of 10 you'll decide not to.
One solution is to get a guardian angel to sign off on certain choices. Getting a third party involved will result in fewer bad decisions. Now your guardian angel could you be your spouse, your best friend, but it could also be your employer. For example, by choosing to invest more in your pension or provident fund, your employer is effectively investing for you because it’s deducted off your payroll. You never see the money, so you never have to think about spending it.
2 . Set up automatic deposits
In addition to payroll deductions and having a guardian angel restrain your impulse to consume - you can go a step further by setting up a repeat stop order into your investment account. It’s best to set up the stop order on the day after you get paid, so you will be sure that there will be money in your bank account and so that you aren’t tempted to spend it. And believe me, watching your investment grow is empowering and will make you want to save more.
3 . Cash is king
Nobody likes walking around with cash these days. Your wallet or purse soon gets bulky with all the loose change. And that’s why it’s a great idea to use cash instead of your card, because it makes spending more difficult. You have to go to the ATM regularly and carry cash around all the time. This will also force you to count every cent before you hand it over. Once you see all the money you are spending, it may make you question whether you need to buy something or you are just satisfying a want.
4. Make cents count
One of the best ways to save is to put aside all the change you receive every day. The easiest way to do this is to get a small bank bag or pouch to store all the change you receive throughout the day. At the end of the day, put all your spare change into a piggy bank (ideally controlled by your guardian angel). At the end of the month deposit the value of your saved change into your investment account (practically you may have to spend the actual change on something essential to avoid cash deposit fees!). You’ll be surprised by how much your piggy bank will contain at month end. And in terms of investing, every little bit counts.
5 . Set a goal
We love achieving a goal, especially when we know it’s good for us or those we care about. Setting an investment goal is no different. Decide what you want to invest towards, how much you want to invest and by when you want to achieve your goal. Then work backwards to understand how much you’ll need to invest regularly to achieve your goal. You should also think of a reward that will really motivate you to stick to your goal commitment. Again, ask your guardian angel to be your judge about whether or not you have achieved your goal and whether or not you should get your reward.