Getting started with your investing, your main focus at this point in your planning should be making sure you’re stashing enough money into your 401(k) and other retirement accounts, not following the ups and downs of the economy and the markets. CNNMONEY.COM has a calculator where you can quickly tell whether you’re stashing away enough. What you need to save. Just plug in your age, annual salary and the amount you already have saved, and you’ll have it! You’ll get an estimate of the percentage of salary you need to put away to retire at age 65.
As for your investing strategy
Your goal here, at this point, is to shoot almost exclusively for long-term capital growth. With retirement still 30 or 40 years away, you have plenty of time to recover from temporary losses. Meaning, there’s no reason in getting all worked up about them. Indeed, anyone who invested in a diversified portfolio of stocks at the market peak in January 1973 right before a bear market drove stock prices down nearly 50%, still earned an annualized 10.6% over the next 30 years.
I’m not saying you’ll see a repeat of those results. But stocks still offer your surest shot at long-term growth. So when you’re in your 20s and 30s, the best strategy is to devote about 90% of your retirement assets to solid low-cost mutual funds. Except to rebalance your portfolio annually, stick to that strategy whatever the market is doing. If you’re not up to creating your own portfolio, buy a target-date retirement fund with a date that corresponds to the year you plan to retire.
Our website has many Investing tips and ideas. Here are some getting stared ithoughts.