Consumer 6: Options for investing your hard-earned money

Monday, September 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Wall Street may be several states and more than a thousand of mile away, but opportunities to invest are readily available at your fingertips. Are you financially ready for your retirement? Do you have enough money set aside for your children’s education? There are many options available to help your money grow. However, getting started can be intimidating.

One of the most common methods for investing is in the stock market. You can find out more by talking to your bank or brokerage firm’s representative. Check out the investment company or brokerage firm before you invest to make sure it's licensed and reputable. You can also find information on the Internet. has a page called “My Finance.”

One other investment option available to most working people is your employer’s 401(k) plan. The money that you invest comes right out of your paycheck as pre-tax dollars, plus many employers may match a percentage of the investment. "There's no quote tips to smart investing,” said Smith Barney investment counselor Brandi Barnes. “Smart investing takes time. It takes research and knowledge. There's no easy way."

Mutual funds are another good way to invest, and allows you to diversify your stocks. But the types of stocks you choose often depend on your age. "Starting out when you're young, you can be more aggressive,” Barnes explained. “As you get older, you need to be more conservative. You can't really take the dips in the market nearly as well." Her advice? Do the research about a company before you invest in it. "If you know you have good companies in your fund, you're going to be less likely to worry when the market dips,” Barnes noted. “Because you know it's a good stable company, and most stable companies will come back after a dip.” And another suggestion -- don't monitor your investments every day. "I would look at them each quarter, see what you're doing,” she said. “Evaluate it for about a year. If your funds seem to be steadily going down, there's a reason. You definitely need to talk to somebody and find out why.”