by The Ascent Staff | Oct. 21, 2019
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Investing a small amount of time every day could make all the difference.
While over half of Americans believe they're disciplined or highly disciplined when it comes to financial planning, only 1.8% use professional financial and banking services each day. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data analyzed by The Ascent, people spend an average of just 36 seconds a day using professional and banking services.
What's interesting is that the small percentage of people who do put time into using those services spend almost half an hour doing so every day. So, what are they doing with that time? And is it something you should be doing, too?
It's likely that some of that time will be spent on making sure they have a budget and sticking to it. Having a budget lets you plan the amount of cash you want to put into savings, debt repayment, and investments each month. Reviewing it regularly means you can adjust your spending if you're not meeting your financial goals.
Those who are spending about 14 hours a month on professional financial and banking services are probably doing a lot more than tracking their budgets. They're probably also investing their money to grow their wealth. Depending on your current financial goals and situation, investing could help you earn a bigger return in the long run.
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The misconception that investing requires huge amounts of time and knowledge puts a lot of people off -- as evidenced by the small percentage of people who use professional financial services each day.
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Investments can be riskier than putting your savings into a high-interest bank account, especially in the short term. Stocks can increase and decrease in value rapidly. However, the stock market has averaged a 9% annual return for decades. If you've built up an emergency fund and are already making contributions towards your retirement, perhaps it's time to consider adding some investments to your portfolio.
As long as you're willing to put in a bit of effort and you can wait out any dips in the market, there are a lot of ways to invest. It's best to start with low-risk investments. In terms of how you invest, a lot comes down to the type of person you are and how involved you want to be in selecting and managing your investments.
Which of these applies to you?
Managing your money may never be your favorite activity, but it will always be one of your most important ones. You need to devote some time to this task -- and the more you do, the easier and more autonomous it will become. The rewards will be apparent.
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