Category: Earning & Saving
Saving some of your earnings by living below your means is a key to successful investing. There are many ways to find money to invest, such as living simply so you’ll save more money and developing a career so you’ll make more money. The Earning and Saving category equips you with practical tips for spending less and earning more.
Betterment’s investment services first came on my radar a couple of years ago. I invested $1,000 with the company as one of my investment experiments for the first Grow Your Dough Throwdown in January 2014. Later that year, I became an affiliate for the firm (gaining the opportunity for sales commissions on new accounts) and became a contributor to the firm’s online magazine.
Those in the financial industry refer to Betterment and similar companies as “robo advisors.” Robo references a robotic, rather than human, financial advisor. Advisor references the services the company provides as an SEC registered investment advisor (RIA), which involves the recommendation and management of a diversified investment portfolio for clients.
For many years, I have been resistant to the idea of setting financial goals; instead, I have opted to accumulate wealth so that I have the means to make purchases when needed. This wealth-building approach can be effective, and is certainly better than not saving, investing, and growing assets.
Still, there are at least a couple of shortcomings to general wealth building: 1) I’m not sure when my goal has been achieved; and 2) I’m reluctant to spend down the assets that I’ve worked so hard to accumulate, largely because I’m not clear about the purpose of my investments and the timing of withdrawals.
Goal setting can inspire me to save and invest, and make me feel happier and more secure about spending.
This summer, a female friend and I got together to ride bikes — something that we did together often, though generally with more people from our circles of our cycling companions. But this time, on a ride that started on a weekday morning and ended in the early afternoon, some of our buddies teased us about having to work and being unable to join us.
At one of our rest stops, we talked about the fact that we generated income through investing-type activities.
This experience made me wonder if too few people are investing for the long term and relying on current income to pay bills and make large purchases, whether for a new cycling gadget, an epic trip, or retirement years. I grasp that working in a traditional job doesn’t negate saving and investing for the long haul. But the inability to realize that others may have sources of income outside of a regular job cues me to consider that not everyone exercises their talents, interests, and inclinations in a way that’s conducive to accumulating and building wealth.