Getting the courage to start investing can be a big step for people, especially the younger population of the world. We all struggle with the idea of not drinking all of the money in your account every month.

Between rent, groceries and all the heavy nights out drinking it might feel like you have nothing left at the end of the month to donate to this wild thing that won't happen for 40+ YEARS! I was exactly the same until a few months ago and it turns out the hardest part is just figuring out how to start.

Let's break this down into a few key topics:

  1. How to start investing
  2. Deciding how much to invest
  3. What type of account to open
  4. Picking the perfect investment strategy

The first part of investing is to START. Markets go up and down but ultimately the sooner you invest the sooner you will see the benefits. The reason for this is the amazing thing called compounding interest meaning:

The money you invest will make money, which in turn, will make you more money (Moneyception).

The account type you start investing with is heavily dependant on where you live because of the variable tax benefits you can avail of. For example, here in Canada the TFSA has no income tax on those beautiful profits you will be making but it is capped at $6,000 per year accumulating since you turned 18 or in my case moved to here! Do some research but at the end of the day, the main goal is to just START.

Deciding how much to invest

How much you are willing to invest is often related to how much to you make and how much you spend. Do you know how much you are spending and in what areas today? If you don't, I strongly advise you to go and find the budget app or use one yourself. Mint is a self-tracking app that you can quickly create and manage a budget on, track spending and see insights on where your money is going. The best part of the app is that you simply connect your cards and it does the rest.

After you know what your spending you can decide on the needs and wants: this is the money you have to spend (rent and groceries) and the wants (alcohol and pizza). Take a look at what you can cut back and send it to the investment account instead. As a rule of thumb, you should aim to invest between 10-15% of your income.

What type of account to open

This is often the fear factor! Robo-advisors, marketing campaigns, bitcoin investing, IPO's and yields. Cut the bullshit, you need efficient, cheap and effective investment plans. I care more about you starting that how you do it. Myself, personally I use both a roboadvisor at Wealthsimple for my low-risk investments, you can actually get up to $10,000 managed for free here. For medium to high-risk investments, I use Welathsimple trade. Which allows me to invest using free trades, which entirely cuts out the middle man!

Picking the perfect investment strategy

This is often the point people get lost in short or long calls, speculation and thinking you have to get in for the market opens every day! Simplicity is what works best for me. When using the roboadvisor I go with a 7/10 (70% Stocks 30% Bonds) risk profile. Bonds are simply secure funds that will (SHOULD) never fail, Stocks are exposed to economic trends but can return far more in the right market.

When using the trading account, I am focused on the source of all growth and decline which is the S&P 500. This has grown on average of 8% per year since it started. You can see from the below graphs there have been highs and lows but if you have been funnelling money into this stock for the past 20 years you would be a very happy investor right now. Most of the best financial experts in the world struggle to beat these returns year on year. So.... Why ask them to do worse than the below AND take some off the top?

At the end of the day, through both compounding interest and the growth of the market. Over the next 20 years, you could put 10-15% of your monthly income into an S&P 500 fund. This is easy, this works and this should put you in a very comfortable place to do whatever the hell it is when your family, travel or retirement days come around!

Automation

Once you are in control of your investing routine you can easily automate it so that you don't have to manage anything. The goal of investing is that it is passive, meaning you do not need to manage it daily for it to work.

For example, if you know you will be contributing $500 monthly you can automate the transfer of funds on payday to the investment account and then invest it from there. That way you cant even be tempted to spend it because it gets invested on the day you get it.