Yet not everyone should invest in the stock market. Sure, it’s a public market, which means it’s open to anyone and everyone. At the same time, there are a handful of risk-takers, thrill-seekers, and flat-out irresponsible individuals who should stay far away from putting any money into the market. Their behaviors and mindsets could potentially cause them to lose money and go into debt.
If you’re interested in investing in the long-term and taking care of your retirement, then by all means, start investing. But if you go in with any of these five mindsets, you’ll be in for a world of hurt.
You want to pay off your debt.
Using the stock market to pay off your debt is one of the worst things you can do. First, simply investing when you’re in school debt could drive you further into personal debt, as you’ll have less money than before when you put it in stocks. Then there’s the fact that you will likely use your investments to pay off personal debt in the near future. This would negate any gains you made, plus drive your taxes higher thanks to capital gains taxes.
If you want to invest in the stock market, pay off your personal debt first. This means credit card debt, school debt, and anything keeping your credit score down. If you have a home or car loan, no other outstanding personal debt, and can manage said loans while making investments, then (and only then) should you start investing.
You want to get rich quick.
There are some stocks that increase quite rapidly. Yet these same stocks can go down faster than they go up. Such stocks are rather volatile, and should only be purchased by expert stock market vets who know how to trade them. Heck, many seasoned vets get burned by volatile stocks every day and lose their money in the process.
For new investors, the stock market is not about getting rich quick. It’s about playing the long game. If you stay with your investments for a while, chances are you’ll have a nice chunk of change down the line. If you try to make a quick buck, you’ll only lose time and money.
You want to make guaranteed money.
There’s no such thing as guaranteed gains in the stock market. If there were, everyone would be rich and time travel would exist. This is because no one can predict a stock’s future movement with 100% accuracy. The only ones who can are often labeled insider traders, which is a punishable offense.
If you want 100% guaranteed money with no risk whatsoever, put your money in a savings account. It won’t grow as fast as it likely would on the stock market, but at least you’ll have an idea of how much money you’ll end up with in the future. (It’s worth noting that putting all your money in savings is not, in fact, a viable retirement option.)
You want to quit your job and invest for a living.
This idea is within the realm of possibility, but only if you’re an expert investor or trader. If you know the stock market and can make short-term investments or trades that will pay your bills and capital gains taxes, then sure, go crazy.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re nowhere near that level, so don’t even think about leaving your job to make money on the stock market. You have a lot of work to do first.
You really think you can figure this whole Bitcoin thing out.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are awesome right now, as they’re making absurd gains on the stock market. This, however, is far from sustainable, and the price could potentially go down in the near future. Like volatile stocks, cryptocurrencies can lose value just as fast as they gain value, if not faster. Unlike the stock market, there isn’t enough data to see how Bitcoin could perform in the near future. If you’re a new investor, stick to the stock market.
How should you invest?
There are plenty of wrong ways to invest in the stock market, but no single right way to get started. Many investors suggest putting your first $10,000 into an index fund like SPY, which lets you spread your money across five hundred different investments. Others suggest putting money directly into 401ks for the sole purpose of saving for retirement. There are also apps that help invest for you without requiring much effort on your part.
Regardless of how you invest, make sure you absolutely avoid these five risky mindsets. If you go into the stock market assuming you’ll come out a millionaire in a few months, you’re going to have a bad time.