Make sure you are investing in your retirement plans first, after your liquidity needs are met. Other investments should come after that. Your financial future is important and saving for retirement should be your primary focus. In addition, there are tax benefits associated with retirement plans that are not available elsewhere.
Step 1: Make sure you are sufficiently funding retirement plans that have tax advantages associated with them such as 401(k) plans, deductible IRAs and Roth IRAs, Keoghs, and SEPs.
If you have any money left over, go to Step 2.
Step 2: Start funding other investments.
Why Retirement Plans Should Be Your Priority
Other investment accounts
The investments you make toward most retirement plans are tax deductible.**
The money you put in other investments is not tax deductible.
The interest and gains earned in most retirement plans are not taxed until you make a withdrawal.**
The income earned on your other investments is normally taxed currently.
Having your financial future funded gives you confidence.
If you are funding other investments rather than your retirement plans, you are giving up tax benefits.
* 401(k)s, IRAs depending on your adjusted gross income and participation in business retirement plans, Spouse's 401(k) plans, Keoghs, etc.
** Contributions to a Roth IRA, Roth 401(k) and Roth 403(b) are not tax-deductible; however, qualified withdrawals are tax-free. IRAs can be non-deductible, depending on adjusted gross income and participation in a business retirement plan. Earnings on the non-deductible contributions are taxable when withdrawn.
How Much Money Do You Need to Start Investing?
Some mutual funds will let you open an account with as little as $100. You can start very small. If you want to build a diversified portfolio, you will want to put money into a number of different funds. You can also choose a balanced fund/hybrid fund, discussed later in this guide, if you are starting with a small amount.
Don't Agonize... Get Active
The purpose of this Learning Center is to help educate you and try to eliminate the confusing nature of investing. We're going to talk about the choices out there and what they mean for you. But our main goal is to get you started on the road to investing wisely.
Take some time to explore this Investing and Investments section. When you've done so, you will: