If there’s one thing my experience has taught me, you can’t let your emotions dictate your financial decisions. With that in mind, here are three pieces of advice that young investors just starting out — as well as veterans who still feel rattled by the upheaval of recent years — should keep in mind while managing their finances.
1. Things are never as good — or as bad — as they seem.
Since MONEY published its first issue in 1972, the U.S. economy has weathered six recessions, six bear markets and dozens of other crises. But recovery followed each setback. Why? Because the economy and the financial markets work in cycles, with fat times followed by lean ones.
2. Take doomsayers’ stock market predictions with a large block of salt.
Yes, there were plenty of big setbacks along the way, as there will be in the years ahead. But, anyone willing to ride out stocks’ periodic nosedives stands a good chance of reaping solid rewards over the long term.
3. Focus on what you can control.
You have no power over the returns the markets deliver. The area where you can really exert some control, though, is in deciding how much to save. By making a deliberate decision to live below your means, you should be able to regularly stash some dough in a 401(k) or other savings vehicle. And the more you save, the better off you’ll be should the financial markets deliver less robust returns than you expect.
So start saving regularly and investing sensibly. That won’t solve the world’s problems, but it should improve your finances.
Image: The Uglycow Finance