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Tackle These 3 Investing Myths Before You Make the Wrong Play

By Christy Bieber - Feb 5, 2021 at 8:36AM

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No matter who wins the big game, you'll be a winner after you knock down these myths.

With the big game coming up soon, your attention is probably focused on whether the Kansas City Chiefs or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will end up the winners. But if you're ready to claim the title of MVP in achieving financial success, it doesn't hurt to take a little time to think about how you can invest your money in a way that's sure to pay off bigger than any football bet.

To do that, it's helpful to tackle some big investment myths that may be holding you back from achieving your full potential. 

Burlap bag full of money.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. You can consistently beat the market by day trading

Day trading may seem like a quick, easy way to make a profit -- especially as there have been some recent highly publicized instances of people making a lot of money due to speculative trades. And lots of new investors have been able to take advantage of recent market volatility to make a quick buck. 

But remember back in 2016 when victory appeared all but certain for the Atlanta Falcons before the New England Patriots staged a massive comeback? Most day traders are the Falcons right now: They may be feeling pretty confident, but chances are very good it won't be long before their luck turns around.

The bottom line is, anyone can have a good quarter or do well for a short time by day trading if they get lucky. But this isn't a strategy that's likely to be met with success in the long term. But just as having Tom Brady on your team is the most surefire way to get to the big game, there's also a surefire way to build wealth: Develop a solid investment thesis and build a diversified portfolio of stocks you'll be happy to hold over the long term.  

2. You need to be an expert to invest well

While day traders may have a problem of overconfidence in their skills, many others shy away from investing because they aren't confident enough. And that's a big mistake, because if you don't get on the field, you won't even have a chance to win.

The truth is, you do need to have a certain measure of expertise to successfully pick individual stocks. But you can also get your money into the market even if you know next to nothing about investing. It's easy to do that by buying exchange-traded funds that track the performance of the market as a whole, or that track specific types of stocks such as small caps or large caps. 

ETFs can provide instant diversification and you only need to do a little bit of research to figure out how to build a portfolio of funds that charge low fees and present minimal risk. So don't take a pass on investing just because you believe you need to become Warren Buffett to make money. 

3. You need a lot of money to invest

You know what's worse than missing a touchdown? Missing out on the chance to invest because you think you need a fortune to get started. The reality is it's easier than ever for the average person to get their money into the stock market. Most brokers don't require minimum deposits to open an account any more, nor do they charge commission fees for trading that would make it impractical to invest with small sums.

And a growing number offer fractional shares, which means you can invest in any company, even those with high per-share prices, since you no longer need to buy a full share. You're able to specify which business you want to bet on by determining the dollar amount you want to invest and purchasing whatever fraction of a share your money will buy you. 

So while attending the biggest football event of the year may be something only the wealthy can afford, you don't need thousands of dollars to start making smart plays in the market. Now that we've tackled these myths more effectively than Aaron Donald tackles quarterbacks, you're ready to get started. 

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