If you want a shot at becoming wealthy, you need to do more than simply earn money.

Most importantly, you need to hold onto the money you earn. And then, you need to grow your money. In order to grow your money, you need to learn how to invest.

When you become an investor, you’ll be using your money to acquire things that offer the potential for profitable returns through one or more of the following:

* Interest and dividends from savings or dividend-paying stocks and bonds
* Cash flow from businesses or real estate
* Appreciation of value from a stock portfolio, real estate, or other assets

As you learn to become an investor, you will begin to devote your limited resources to the things with the largest potential for returns. That may be paying down debt, going back to school, or fixing up a two-family house.

Of course, it may also mean buying stocks and bonds, or at least mutual funds or exchange-traded funds.

 

When should you invest?

Now that you know why you should invest, how about when to invest?

The answer to that is pretty simple. The right time is now.

Investing sounds more intimidating that it is. Yes, there’s always a potential risk for loss, but there’s an even bigger potential for serious gain.

Doing anything for the first time can be terrifying, especially when it involves your hard earned cash. But here’s some advice for first time investors.

 

Investing for the first time

Investing is like religion—people have some strong opinions and may even belong to one of many sects or schools of thought. Here are a few that come to mind:

* The Doomsday Preppers – these people are convinced our financial system will collapse, so they stick all their money in gold and real estate.
* The Gambling Day-Traders – these are most often the people you see in movies, with their desks or walls covered in monitors and TVs, watching every second of the day and seeing how the stock market changes.
* The Indexers – these are people who simply invest in everything in order to take advantage of the slow and steady increase in the overall value of the markets.

If you already belong strongly to one of the above camps, you may not find the investing resources on Money Under 30 useful. If, however, you have an open mind and are interested in learning simple strategies for successful lifelong investing—without any gimmicks—then read on.

If you’re on the fence about where and when you should invest, make sure you’re taking advantage of guaranteed interest rates. High yield online savings accounts are currently offering over 2% with FDIC insurance (which means your money is insured by the federal government).