Updated: July 28, 2020
A couple of months ago, I asked the readers here, “What’s your biggest problem related to investing?”
I got almost a hundred responses in that post, and now it’s time for me to answer them.
I collated all the concerns that was raised, and I hope the solutions I gave below will be able to help you in your own investing decisions.
LACK OF KNOWLEDGE
A lot of people said that lack of knowledge about investing is their number one problem. One even said that they don’t know what investing is and why it is important.
A good number also lack knowledge about the different types of investments or they find it too complex to understand. Lastly, a handful say that they don’t know where and how to start investing.
How to learn more about investing
Buy my book. After this, buy more books about investing, about money management, about entrepreneurship.
Attend events. Be on the lookout for seminars, workshops and learning opportunities – both free and paid.
Read online. Join forums, participate in Facebook groups, subscribe to blogs. Take advantage of the free knowledge posted on the Internet.
The thing is, a lot of people will spend money on some weekend shopping, dinner and a movie with friends, but will have second thoughts on buying books or attending paid seminars – which more often than not, costs almost the same.
This is because the shopping, the dinner and the movie, all give immediate rewards. It will instantly make you feel good about yourself and your life. Meanwhile, spending on knowledge will require further action and patience, before you can experience any concrete benefits.
If you want to learn more about investing, you have to learn how to shift your priorities from short-term to long-term.
LACK OF MONEY
This is probably the most common and biggest problem of people when it comes to investing. The reasons vary from having too many expenses, up to problems with inconsistent cashflow.
A few said that they just have very little savings, which is not enough to invest. While a few say that sudden financial emergencies often happen, which prevents them from investing regularly.
How to have the money to invest
Forget about investing, and just focus on forming the habit of saving. Know how much money you’re exactly earning every month, and then list down all your expenses – and I mean all of it.
Doing this will give you a better perspective of your cashflow, so you can avoid unnecessary expenses and see if there’s a need to find or create more sources of income.
Once you are able to live within your means, the next step is to live BELOW your means, which can easily be achieved by paying yourself first.
Every time you receive your income, immediately save a portion of it and build your emergency fund. Once that is done, the money you save each month now becomes the money that you can invest.
UNCOOPERATIVE OR DEPENDENT FAMILY MEMBERS
One reader shared that they find it difficult to invest because they are part of the sandwich generation and are supporting their parents.
Meanwhile, someone said that relatives and friends who often borrow money is her biggest problem. And lastly, a wife shared that the spending habits of her husband is her biggest obstacle.
How to deal with family members who lack financial literacy
Just like the previous solution, you need to track your expenses, create a budget and save up for an emergency fund. Map your cashflow and pinpoint where you can cut costs. If you need to earn more income, then focus on that.
Make sure to allocate a portion of your budget for your parents, and for relatives who are dependent on you. But stop lending money to your friends – they are not your financial responsibility.
Now, for relatives who often borrow money – learn to practice tough love. Don’t be afraid to say “No” if you really can’t afford to lend them cash. Instead, offer help in another form.
Lastly, for household members (especially spouses), who are reckless spenders – the first step is to talk to them, and ask for their support and understanding. Furthermore, try to teach them what you know about personal finance, so that they can appreciate what you’re doing for the family.
If this fails, then ask for help from other family members or their friends. I’m sure there will be someone who can help you get your message heard and understood. Don’t be confrontational, but be sincere and straightforward.
FEAR OF LOSING MONEY
The fear of failure or losing money in an investment is also a common problem. They are afraid that their hard-earned money will not grow and just go to waste.
Related to this, is the fear of making a mistake in their investing decisions. Someone said that he’s seen those with experience and knowledge fail at it, so he doubts if he’ll even make it.
How to overcome your fear of losing money
Have you ever lost a wallet? If not, imagine losing yours now.
Everyone I know says that the biggest pain in losing a wallet is saying goodbye to the photos and other sentimental stuff that they had inside.
Second is the distressing realization that you have to renew the ID’s and the ATM and credit cards there. Lastly, and usually the least troubling, is losing the cash.
When you lose money in an investment, it’s like losing the money in your wallet – it can be replaced. But by not investing, you are actually losing the “sentimental stuff”.
Because you’re not investing, you lose the opportunity to create a secure financial future, which means you would need to work for money for a long time, and miss out on spending more time with your loved ones in the future.
Don’t be afraid to lose money in an investment and believe in yourself and your ability to create more income if and when that happens. This is one reason why you should invest early, when you still have a lot of productive years ahead.
There are a lot of investment options out there, and the biggest problem of some people is that they don’t know which one to pick, or how to choose the best investment for them.
There’s just too much information and they often find themselves second-guessing their decisions. So in the end, they don’t get to invest at all.
How to discover the best investments out there
A lot of people ask me, “What’s the best investment?”
This question is difficult to answer because it is incomplete.
The complete question is, “What’s the best investment that will help me achieve my goals?”
Which now begs the question, “What are your goals in life?” and consequently, “When do you want to achieve those goals?”
Is it to travel to India next year? Own a BMW on your 45th birthday? Send your child to a good university? Live in a beachfront house when you retire?
Your financial goals will dictate where and how much you should invest. When you know what you want in life, choosing the best investment for you becomes easier.
End of Part 1.