"Types of investing"

From far away, the road to financial wellness might look steep, winding, or cluttered with roadblocks. But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be as bumpy a ride as it first appears.

In fact, the key to taking control of the financial steering wheel is in your hands — you just have to grab it. How? Invest your money.

Investing is a crucial strategy to conquer your financial future. But for many, getting in the car — or entering the market — is the toughest step.

But you don’t need to be the next Warren Buffett or have a degree in finance to be successful in the world of investing. When you begin to build a foundation of knowledge of basic investment concepts, you can gain the confidence to enter the market — and be on your way to pursuing your financial goals.

Six Figures by Your 60s

Do you fantasize about saying goodbye to your desk job? Dream of exchanging your work badge for a boarding pass (to anywhere except your office)? If so, now’s the time to start making your money work for you.

When you invest your money into the market, you give yourself the opportunity to grow it significantly more. And while retirement may seem way, way, way off in the distance, 10 extra years of investing your money can mean more than hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Consider this: If starting at age 22, you invest an average of $2,000 per year and earn an average of 8%, you’ll have about $560,000 by age 62. Start 10 years later at age 32 and that number will drop to around $250,000 or less by 62. Wait another decade and you’ll accrue about $101,000.  (This calculation is based on the same investment each year, with the same average return and assumes you do not withdraw funds.)

Line graphs comparing the effects of compound interest on your investments and savings by age. If you begin investing $2,000 a year with an average 8% annual return: at age 22, you'll have $561,665.70; at age 32, you'll have $246,737.05; at age 42, you'll have $100,864.15. If you put away $2,000 a year in a savings account with 1.6% APY starting at age 22, you'll have $114,658.16.

One reason investing provides so much potential for growth is the concept of compounding returns. That’s when, assuming the market continues to grow, you make interest on your initial principal (or cash you invested) as well as the earnings you’ve accrued, which creates a money snowball effect.

Spread Your Wealth, Lower Your Risk

Diversification of your investment portfolio is one of the most critical factors of any investment strategy. It’s achieved by ensuring you have investments across a range of asset classes (meaning types of investments, industries, and geographies), and it helps manage your risk.

When you have a diversified portfolio, it means you aren’t as dependent on any one investment. So even if one company you own stock in goes bankrupt, or a certain industry you’ve invested in isn’t doing well, you have other investments to fall back on. (Remember the proverbial saying of not putting your eggs in one basket? Yeah, that’s what we’re talking about here.)

Whether you take a more aggressive or conservative approach to investing, you can diversify your portfolio by investing in a mix of stocks and bonds. Your risk appetite will likely affect how much of your portfolio you allocate to different types of securities, as certain investments are inherently more or less risky than others. For example, bonds are known as a typically less risky security.

Investments like ETFs can also be a great vehicle for adding diversification, since they hold hundreds of securities within one fund. When you invest with an Ally Invest Robo Portfolio, your portfolio will consist of a range of ETFs that are hand-selected to help you pursue your goals.

Make your dreams your investing #inspo.

Investing gives you an opportunity to reach for your financial dreams. But if you enter the market blindly without identifying what you want to achieve, finding success might be more difficult.

Whether it’s a comfortable retirement, a down payment on a home, a vacation abroad, or even something smaller (like upgrading your washing machine or landscaping your front yard), defining what you’re working toward is a must. Outline your goals (yes, you can have multiple) to help you identify your time horizon (how long you keep your money invested) and your risk tolerance — both which can then help you pick which securities to invest in.

Would you rather invest in an account you know is working toward helping you become financially independent and retire early or an account with no defined purpose? Knowing why you’re investing your money and visualizing your end goals (hang a picture on your fridge representing them to keep you motivated!) can help provide the inspiration to start and continue investing.

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

While past performance does not guarantee future growth, historically, the stock market has trended upwards. Should the trend continue, your investments would grow over time, like a snowball increasing in size as you roll it. That means the earlier you can start, the better.

The good news is you don’t need to be a millionaire or a Wall Street guru to begin investing. A range of investment options exist for both beginners, experts, and those in between, whether you want to take a do-it-yourself approach or prefer guidance when building your portfolio.

For DIY-ers, a Self-Directed Trading account might be the best fit for your style. That’s because you’re in charge of your portfolio, selecting and managing which investments you own and when you buy and sell them. But if you’re more interested in guided investing, an Ally Invest Robo Portfolio could be your ideal starting point — you can even start trading with as little as $100.

No matter the investment route you choose, it’s important to find a platform and strategy you’re comfortable with so you can start driving your investments toward your goals. Now with your financial future in sight, it may be time to put the investing pedal to the metal.

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