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CONTACT 13: How to invest your money

Posted at 11:00 PM, Nov 21, 2016
Saving your money for a rainy day is important. But is it enough? To really get your money working for you, you need to invest. Now that may sound scary, but as Contact 13 reports, it's not as hard as you might think.
 
"I save for worst case scenarios, in case something were to happen," says a valley shopper.
 
Some of us are good about putting a little something away. Others need a little encouragement.
 
"My husband is better at it than I am. So that's a good motivator," says another valley shopper.
 
But the best way to reach your long-term financial goals is to start investing. Unfortunately, most people aren't properly planning.
 
"Statistics show the average American spends more time planning their annual vacation than they do their financial future," says financial author Ken Himmler.
 
He says don't be intimidated and don't make excuses.
 
"It takes a lot of research and time. That's a thing that we don't have right now, is time," Himmler says.
 
So we're saving you time and doing the research for you. First of all, it doesn't take a lot of cash to get started. Just $5 a week. A lot of us spend that much, just on a cup of coffee. 
 
"If you have $25 a month and you want to start a college fund or you just want to start saving money, a mutual fund works wonderful," Himmler says.
 
With a mutual fund, your money is invested with others into a collection of stocks, bonds or other securities. There are four main types: money market funds, bond funds -- that are a little more risky but offer a bigger return, stock funds -- that are even more risky -- and hybrid funds.
 
"Once you get to $5 or $10,000, now you have enough money, and you can change to an Exchange Traded Fund, or an Index Fund," Himmler says.
 
These have lower annual fees than mutual funds. That means more money in your pocket. And the sooner you start, the more money you'll earn.
 
Let's look at someone in their 20s. By investing just $25 into an index fund, every month, you could save $75,000 or more, by the time you're ready to retire.
 
Now you might say the problem is you're swimming in debt. Himmler says don't let that stop you from starting to invest.
 
"Some people will say Ken, should I pay off all my debt? I don't know. If we pay off all your debt, are you just going to charge it all back again? Maybe the better thing to do is to keep yourself in debt," Himmler says.
 
In the end, he says the hardest part of investing is just making the decision to start.
 
"Investing is a lot like going to the gym. It takes a decision. And that's all it takes," Himmler says.
 
Click here for more helpful information on investing. Click here for more specific information on mutual funds.