Don’t let what you don’t know stop you

In the beginning, investing can seem difficult and frightening because you know so little about it - you're basically starting at square one. You may not even know what you want to invest in, let alone the difference between a good deal and a bad investment. However, once you start the learning process and gain some knowledge, it is less scary. And once you've done your first deal, it's even less intimidating.

Remember that this is the information age - knowledge is available about everything, often for free. To get started learning about a certain type of investment, start with a simple keyword search on your favorite internet browser, or seek out the appropriate section at your local library (a librarian can help you if needed). As you learn you will have more questions and those questions will lead you in search of more information.

There are others doing what you want to do - find them. There may be local investment groups or networks you can tap into. You can also talk with other students like yourself and active investors in online forums, such as the Rich Woman community discussion forum.

Whatever investment type you choose - real estate, commodities, business, paper assets, etc. - remember these guidelines:

  • Learn the jargon (vocabulary) and the process (how-to) for this type of investment. This will help you understand things you read and have intelligent discussions with others on the subject.
  • Learn the fundamentals: how to tell a good deal from a bad deal, when to buy and when to sell, etc. Every asset class has good deals and bad deals. Learn how to avoid getting burned. Don't be afraid of making mistakes - you can't avoid them entirely - but you can learn how to keep your mistakes small. 
  • Use your own judgement to make decisions. Ultimately, only you can make that final call to buy or sell. When you are gathering information, make sure you know how to tell fact from opinion; this will help you make more solid decisions.

Remember, this is a learning process. Get the process started now. If you find you are bored with the type of investment you are researching, try a different one until you find one that catches your interest.

Best wishes for your learning and investing success!

Original publish date: December 17, 2009