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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Q.

The Nest Q&A

We want to play around with money we've set aside for investments. Any good online trading websites?

A.

First off, if you're going to “play” around with money, make sure this is money you're prepared to lose! Investing without guidance from an adviser can be risky. Studies show that most people lose more money than they make when “day-trading” (buying and selling stocks in the same 24-hour period). If you're set on doing it alone, check out websites like ETrade.com and SmithBarney.com that allow you to control your choices. Remember to never invest more than you can “afford” to lose. Your next mortgage payment shouldn't be dependent on whether or not Google stock is rising or falling that month.