Investing doesn’t have to be complicated—here’s your four-step guide to getting started

September 03, 2019 at 04:30AM by CWC

Meet Wellness Collective, our immersive curriculum with Athleta that hooks you up with actionable advice from the smartest experts and brand founders in wellness right now. Get the goods at our monthly event series in New York City plus our online one-month wellness plans. Here, Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, shares her four-week guide on to how to invest your hard-earned cash.


Look, navigating your finances isn’t always easy—and if you’re looking to invest and have no clue where to start, can seem downright insurmountable. (Yep, money stress is a real thing that could be affecting your wellness.) The good news? It’s 2019, and there are women like Sallie Krawcheck here to help.

Krawcheck—CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, an investing platform designed by women, for women—created her company to be a streamlined way to get more money into women’s wallets, and part of that mission is helping break down some of the misconceptions around investing.

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“[One of the most common roadblocks to investing] is the idea that there’s a perfect time where everything will line up and make sense. ‘I’ll invest when I get the raise,’ or ‘I’ll invest when I get a new job and make more money.’ Really the idea is to just get started—a little bit out of each paycheck at first, if that’s what you can do.”

So what, exactly, do you need to do to get started? Krawcheck is sharing her four-step system for diving into the world of investments. You can start crossing financial-related anxiety off your list now.

Keep reading for her four-week guide on how to invest without getting totally overwhelmed.

how to invest step one

Before you jump in head-first with your new investment plan, you need to get a few things in order. Namely, making a budget, paying off high-interest debt, and setting up an emergency fund.

Dedicate this week to spending some quality time with your financials. Figure out exactly how much money you’re making vs. spending each month (so you know how much you have left over to invest), make a plan to pay off debt (so you can invest the money you’ve been spending on interest), and set aside three to six months of expenses for emergencies (because, let’s face it, financial peace of mind will make you a more confident investor).

Already checked all the boxes from week one? Congrats! Now you’re really ready to get rolling—by calling in the experts. Krawcheck recommends that unless you feel very, very confident in the financial world, you should rely on a financial advisor to guide your investing plan.

This week, set aside time to finding an investment advisor who is a fiduciary. “That means they’re legally obligated to put your interests first, always, and be transparent about things like how much they charge,” Krawcheck explains.

Once you’ve landed on your advisor, you can review your investment options with them. But no matter which specific investment avenue you decide to go down, Krawcheck stresses the importance of making sure your portfolio is diversified.

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“That means you have a mix of different stocks and bonds, and that the investments in your portfolio don’t charge really high fees,” she explains. “At Ellevest, we do this for you automatically, personalized to your goals.”

how to invest step four

When you’ve actually started contributing money to your investment funds, the key is to keep your eyes on the horizon, not on short-term changes that may hit your account on a daily basis.

“The news loves to talk about the day-to-day ups and downs of the stock market, whether a recession is coming, and so on and so forth,” Krawcheck says. “Tune it out. Historically, a smart strategy has been to keep investing consistently, through up markets and down, with an eye on the long term.”

It’s best to follow the “set it and forget it” philosophy: Set your payments to come out of your bank account automatically, and don’t obsessively check on how your investments are performing.

“Nobody knows what’s going to happen in the markets tomorrow. Nobody,” Krawcheck stresses. “But historically, the stock market has had positive returns over the long term. So when you’re ready to invest, don’t be afraid to just get started.”

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Author Well+Good Editors | Well and Good
Selected by CWC