Cornerstone Advisors Inc., a wealth- and lifestyle-management company headquartered in Bellevue and recently acquired by Pathstone, recommends any first-time investors understand their goals and attain financial education as they begin.
While the typical trend is to invest aggressively at a young age, Viren Kamdar, managing director of client management, encourages goals-based planning. Knowing one’s goals three, five, and even 10 years out, allows the person to be more growth-focused. Investing in multiple markets at a young age may work well for some, but it can also lead to disappointment due to a lack of long-term goal planning and poor financial education.
“People need to know their goals,” Kamdar said. “Long-term goal planning will help you determine what kind of investing will be best for you.”
Financial education also is important, Managing Director of Strategic Growth Bryce McDonald said. The public-school system doesn’t set people up for financial success, he said, encouraging new investors to gain financial education in order to best understand the market.
While young people often are encouraged to invest, many of them, especially those who recently have graduated from college, already are in debt. Investing large sums of money may not be wise for those with high-interest debt, McDonald said. It’s better to pay off debts that have large interest rates first before jumping into the market. The person should consider what their long-term goals are and if it is worth the risk to invest while having debt.
For those wanting to begin investing but don’t know where to start, McDonald suggested they invest in their company’s 401K plan.
“Investing in your company’s 401K plan can give you some experience in seeing what it feels like,” he said.
For those who already have started investing and who may be tempted to cash out due to the effects of the pandemic, Kamdar advised that it’s better to stay in.
“People run into trouble when they make knee-jerk reactions to what is currently happening in the market,” he said.
Though the market took a hit when the pandemic began, it’s now beginning to recover, he said. Both Kamdar and McDonald recommend young investors make measured long-term decisions.
The resounding advice is to create long-term financial goals and learn about the market before investing.
“At the risk of sounding like a broken record, knowing what your goals are will help you determine how you should invest your money,” Kamdar said. “And learning about the market will allow you to know what risks you can make.”
McDonald agreed, and said he encourages people to seek help.
“Have the conversation. You don’t need to feel afraid to ask for help,” he said. “You don’t have to go through it alone.”