We’ve always recommended having a good emergency fund set up for when things go wrong. However, not all of life’s surprises are bad. You should also consider setting up a fund for when opportunities find you.
If you live in one of Australia’s major cities (we mostly do), it can seem impossible to find a house or unit that’s affordable and a reasonable distance from the centre. But it can be done. Here are the five most affordable suburbs for houses and units located within 20 kilometres of the CBD in Australia’s capital cities.
If you started investing $448 a month at 30 years old, Yahoo Finance says that a reasonable 8% return would put your savings over the million dollar mark in 35 years. The problem, of course, is finding that extra $450. To help ferret out every quarter in your couch cushions, the article suggests seven different potential expenses that, with slight adjustments, could easily produce the extra cash you need to start down the road to a million.
Mint, the web-based financial management application that took us by storm a few months back, is adding investment tracking to their already impressive feature set. Mint’s investments, currently in beta, tracks everything from the performance of your Roth IRA to the value of your 401k, all from its attractive, easy-to-understand interface. As with Mint in general, you’ll need to be comfortable trusting your data in their hands (if you’re curious, you can read more about their security measures here). Mint investments is currently in private beta, but if you follow the link, they’ve set up a page for Lifehacker readers to sign up. You should get access to Mint’s investments sometime next week, and we’ve been assured that there’s no limits on signups. In the meantime, hit the jump for a closer look at Mint’s investments interface.
Fortune magazine drops in on a Q&A Warren Buffett offered to 150 business students, and the advice dispensed by the Oracle of Omaha on investing and money in general is elegantly simple. When one student asked Buffett how to best spend his free time to further his investing knowledge, Buffett avoided generalised advice and told him to stick to what he knows. Fortune paraphrases: For most people, the bulk of their income is going to come from earning power in their chosen profession. Therefore, from the standpoint of building wealth, free time is better spent sharpening one’s professional skills rather than studying investing.
Does watching TV news or checking business news sites give you cold sweats as you ponder how your investments are doing? Are you logging into your financial site every day but still feel your money slipping away? Just ignore your money, J.D. at Get Rich Slowly says—stocks pay off in the long term, not day-to-day, and worrying about it is the easiest way to make a money-losing mistake: In Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes, the authors note that it’s dangerous to watch your investments every day. When you pay close attention, you tend to become emotionally invested in even small movements. You lose sight of the long-term and make decisions based on short-term events. Peek in every month or so, but don’t constantly check your investments.
The Simple Dollar personal finance blog posts a helpful primer for those thinking about getting started with stocks, or even just mutual funds and other market investments. Getting debt under control and keeping a reserve fund is the first priority, of course, but once you’re comfortable in your financial skin, Trent recommends performing a risk inventory on yourself before even looking at a stock chart: Spend some time thinking about this. Would you not worry if you woke up and found out that you had lost 5% of your investment if you knew in the long run it would build up in value? How about 20%? If you had $10,000 in stocks, and then over a very bearish month, $2,000 of that vanished, how would you honestly react? Would you take your money out?
Sage advice, and the rest of the post should be familiar to those who have met with financial counsellors before. For more beginners’ guidance, check out Moolanamy’s 35 common sense rules for investing.Six Steps for a Beginning Stock Investor [The Simple Dollar]