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how to: invest your money

Saving money and learning about investing is always a smart plan. Even if you’re newly hitched, it’s never too soon to start planning for those golden years. Think about it: Do you imagine yourselves lying on a beach or working behind a desk? If you picked the beach (or travel, or golf, or anything other than the 9-to-5 grind), you’ve come to the right place. We have all kinds of investment advice, including the basics of how to invest wisely and what all those financial terms really mean. Not sure where to begin? Start with our five easy steps to invest your money. We also have investing advice and Q&A on all kinds of financial basics about investing -- learn the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA, how to invest your savings, and your options if you can only invest a small amount. Our basic investing advice will help you get ready. But before you invest your money, you should be sure you’re out of debt: Use our debt calculator to help plan your payments, and follow our simple steps to go from credit card misery to debt free. And if your problem is a lack of cash, we’ve got tips for you, too. Learn the habits of spending-savvy couples, and find easy ways to save more of each month’s paycheck and stick to your budget. Don’t want to go it alone? Check out our local pages to find a financial planner in your area for some in-person investment advice.

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Money Q&A: Choosing a Mutual Fund

Q.

The Nest Q&A

How do I choose a mutual fund?

A.

Google. Yes, the search engine that helped you shop for your spouse's anniversary gift or get dirt on your ex can also help you invest. Okay, before the Google part, you first need to decide what your goal is. Is the money earmarked for long term and retirement or short term to buy a house? You’ll want a fund that’s in sync with your needs and has reasonable fees.

You can find all of this info at Morningstar.com, a financial website that will provide you with lists of funds. Now comes the Google part. Plug the fund’s name into Google and see what comes up. Research the fund manager and what kind of track record they have and how long they've been there. Basically, get the lowdown on the good and bad about the mutual fund and all the people involved. If you still don’t know where to start, experts suggest that first time buyers go for a balance fund which is broad (includes stocks and bonds) and long term.

Nestpert Brett Graff, The Home Economist and former government economist

-- The Nest Editors

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