In this week’s Q&A interview, we’re talking to one of our favorite personal finance bloggers, Miranda Marquit from Planting Money Seeds. Miranda’s saving and investing advice is always on-point and focus, which is great.
Let’s dive right into it.
You mention on your website, “if you want information on pinching pennies, you are in the wrong place.” Do you think there is something to the old cliche, penny-wise pound-foolish?
So often we are so focused on the little things that we neglect the big things. We are so worried about clipping the 50-cent coupon, but we don’t stop to think that shopping around for insurance could save $50 each month. Not only that, but for some reason we become obsessed with cutting costs, big and small, rather than thinking about how to make more money. I’d rather work an extra hour and make another $100 than spend three or four hours trying to figure out how to cut $100 worth of savings somewhere in my budget.
Recently you’ve been quite transparent about some mistakes you made during an investing experiment. How can someone who is afraid of making mistakes get started in stock investing?
It’s important to understand that my mistakes are made with money that’s devoted to an experiment/contest — and that the money isn’t mine. My own money doesn’t go toward those types of experiments. One of the best ways to get started is to invest in index funds or index ETFs. They are low-cost, and they follow the market as a whole. You avoid the pitfalls of stock picking when you invest in the market, rather than individual equities. Remember that the stock market, as a whole, has yet to lose out over a period of 25 years. So, even though there are down years, if you invest for the long haul, you are likely to come out ahead when you buy the market.
Say I have a friend that has a spare $100, and is keeping it under his mattress. What is your advice for him/her to better invest with such a small amount of money?
I’m going to sound like a broken record but invest in index funds or ETFs. There are plenty of low-cost all-market funds. There are also many brokerages that will let you start with a small amount of money. If you have $100 a month, Betterment offers a low-cost brokerage option. If you have less money, you can invest with pocket change using Acorns. There are so many interesting Fintech products right now that can allow just about anyone to invest.
Pretend you’re at a dinner party, and the host mentions that you have a personal finance blog. You’re then asked to share with the group your best piece of money advice for the group. What do you share?
Start investing now. If you’re already investing, increase the amount you invest. Hardly anyone is investing as much as they should be. And, of course, use indexing as a way to get started.
Awesome advice, Miranda, thank you! I think one of my big takeaways here is that most of the money advice out there is simple – it doesn’t have to be complicated, especially now (as Miranda mentions) that there are so many great technology platforms out there to help you simplify the process.