Magazine

New Year’s Resolution: Get Started Investing

By Ellevest Team

There were some good reasons to put investing off in 2020: You’ve been dealing with financial setbacks from the “she-cession,” for example. Or maybe you weren’t in the right frame of mind to concentrate on anything but what was absolutely necessary. Those things are 100% valid, and we’d never blame you.

As we move into 2021, it’s a good time to reflect on the coming year and see what money moves make sense . And there are some good reasons to get started investing this year, if you can. Investing has historically been a powerful tool to build wealth, and doing it as early as you can really does matter.

That’s why investing makes a great New Year’s resolution. Although we tend to use the term “resolutions” loosely at Ellevest. We like to treat them more like New Year’s intentions. Because resolutions are rigid, and they make you feel like you’ve failed if you fall off track. Intentions are more flexible — they say yes to progress, no to putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves.

So if your intention this new year is to dive in and get started — or, if you’re not there yet, planning to get yourself financially ready to invest — here’s a roundup of our best advice to help you do it.

New Year’s Resolution: Get Started Investing

Resolution: Check off debt and saving to be free to invest

If you have high-interest debt, it’s probably going to cost you more in interest to carry that balance than you’d be able to earn by investing. That means it’s usually best to pay it off first. Here’s a little more about the difference between good debt and bad debt. Here’s how to decide whether to pay it off now or invest instead. Here’s an explainer on student debt and a game plan for knocking that debt out. Here’s our advice on paying off credit cards.

It’s also a good idea to build up an emergency fund before you start investing. That way, you’ll have a cushion in case something happens (like you need a last-minute surgery or your car breaks down or your source of income disappears). Here’s why giving that emergency fund a descriptive name can help you get there faster, and here are some guidelines as to what does and doesn’t count as a financial emergency.

Resolution: Get in the know

We firmly believe there are only a few things you need to know to get started investing, and you can learn them as you get started investing as an Ellevest member. We also made a free workshop, open to the public, to walk you through the basics of how investing works.

But if you want to dive deeper, we’ve got you. Here’s an explainer on how investments make money. Here’s the lowdown on the difference between investing and saving. Here’s what you need to know about two major investing concepts: compounding and diversification. Here’s why now’s a good time to invest and why you should keep investing consistently.

Maybe you’re also wondering how Ellevest works, exactly. Here’s the gist: You can choose your Ellevest membership level based on what your money goals are. The Build Wealth investing goal is available at all membership levels to get you started, while the retirement goal is included with the Plus and Executive plans. Ellevest Executive members can access all the investing goals we offer — more on that below.

You give us some info about yourself, like your age, job, salary, and gender. Then you tell us what how much you need for each of your investing goals, and when you want to hit them. We take all that in, and we give you an investment plan designed to get there. Then all you have to do is set up your deposits, and we’ll take it from there.

Want more deets? Here are the tough standards we use to pick the investment funds we include in your account (they’re mostly ETFs — here’s what those are). And here’s how we make the forecasts we show you as realistic as possible so you can plan your real life. We’re a fiduciary, so you can rest easy knowing your best interests always come first in our book.

Resolution: Step up your retirement game

Building your own version of a dream retirement doesn’t just happen. The earlier you get started, the better. That’s especially true since women live six to eight years longer than men but retire with two-thirds as much (true, sad story).

So here’s an explainer to help you figure out how much you actually need to retire. And here are some helpful deep dives you probably didn’t know you needed: why you should get as much of that employer 401(k) match as you can, and what that whole “vesting” thing means, the difference between an IRA and a 401(k), an explainer on 401(k) rollovers if you’ve changed jobs in the past, the difference between Roth and traditional 401(k)s and IRAs, and SEP IRAs for freelancers and the self-employed.

Resolution: Invest intentionally

We’re big fans of intentional investing. The way we see it, that means three things: being intentional about why you’re investing (your goals), what you’re investing in (your impact on the world) and who you’re investing with.

A little more about those goals

You don’t need to be sure exactly what your goals are yet — you might just know that you definitely want to let your money grow. That’s why we made our Build Wealth goal available to you at all levels of membership at Ellevest.

But if you do have specific money goals, it can help to think about why you’re investing and put your money into accounts that can best help you get there. For example, maybe you want to:

All of those investing goals are available with an Ellevest Executive membership plan, btw.

Here’s to setting intentions for your money in 2021!


Disclosures

The results presented are hypothetical, and do not reflect actual investment results, the performance of any Ellevest product, or any account of any Ellevest client, which may vary materially from the results portrayed for various reasons.

© 2019 Ellevest, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Ellevest Membership fees are as follows: Ellevest Essential is $1 per month, Ellevest Plus is $5 per month, and Ellevest Executive is $9. Other fees as described in Ellevest’s Wrap Fee Program Brochure and the Ellevest Membership Terms and Conditions Agreement will continue to apply.

The availability of Ellevest's investing goals depends on the membership plan selected. Ellevest Essential members can access Build Wealth only. Ellevest Plus members can access Build Wealth and Retirement On Your Terms. Ellevest Executive members can access all available investing goals.

The information provided should not be relied upon as investment advice or recommendations, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered specific legal, investment or tax advice.

The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific person.

Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. There is no guarantee that any particular asset allocation or mix of funds will meet your investment objectives or provide you with a given level of income.

Investing entails risk including the possible loss of principal and there is no assurance that the investment will provide positive performance over any period of time.

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Ellevest Team

The Ellevest team is working to help women reach their financial and professional goals.