Why You Need to Learn to Invest in 2010

You can learn to invest in 2010 or you can invest with the crowd. Invest like most folks and you might not be a happy camper. Here’s why now is the time to learn to invest. Consider what follows to be your personal financial stimulus package for getting up to speed and on your way to financial success… with a financial education.

There are two basic reasons you need to learn to invest in 2010. First, the gravy train is over. Your employer and your government have their own problems and can not afford to guarantee your financial future. Second, it will not be easy to make money investing in the future. Uncle Sam is up to his eyeballs in debt and major corporations are fighting to grow sales and profits in a new competitive world economy. The future of Social Security is suspect, and traditional pension plans are going by the wayside.

Today it’s a matter of: learn to invest your own money in a contributory retirement plan or an IRA if you work for a living. If you’re older, it’s learn to invest what money you have stashed away or suffer the consequences. In the world of investing money today there is no longer a good safe place to hide and ignore the economy and the markets, because interest rates are near all-time lows. That’s a sword that swings both ways. If you seek the safety of fixed investments like CDs you earn little interest. Try to make money investing in riskier investments like stocks, bonds and real estate and you’re asking for trouble without a financial education.

Our government has been holding interest rates down to stimulate a lackluster economy. Sooner or later rates will rise and inflation will likely follow. Will future higher interest rates give the safety-minded a good safe place to park money? Not if inflation rises to offset the gain in interest rates. Will stocks and real estate be good investments? Only if the economy improves and people can find jobs and pay their bills. And what about bonds?

Bonds will be a guaranteed loser when interest rates and HULT PRIVATE CAPITAL inflation take off. And that’s a problem for the millions of investors who hold bond funds, including those who fled other investments in search of the relative safety and higher interest income offered (under normal circumstances) by bond investments. The problem with the higher interest income from bonds is that it is FIXED for the life of the bond. As the interest rate goes up for new bond issues, the value of existing bond investments will fall as they become less attractive.

Now, do you really want to face the above scenario without a financial education? Even if you have a financial planner? If you plan to invest in 2010 and beyond do yourself a favor and learn to invest, starting with investment basics. Once you understand the investment basics of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate and other alternative investments you’re ready to tackle the investing aspect. Your ultimate goal: putting together a sound investment strategy, with asset allocation and proven investing tools like balance & rebalance and dollar cost averaging working for you.

Without a sound investment strategy you are investing with the crowd, uninformed. The crowd did not make money investing last decade. They lost money and are likely in for more of the same in the future with the threats of higher interest rates and inflation lurking in the shadows. Be different, and get yourself and your level of financial education up to speed!

A retired financial planner, James Leitz has an MBA (finance) and 35 years of investing experience. For 20 years he advised individual investors, working directly with them helping them to reach their financial goals.