Monday, October 03, 2005

Financial Advice for Joe – Part IV

Okay Joe, we still have a lot to cover, but you’ll remember that I’ve banged the “DON’T WAIT” gavel over and over and over again. So now we aren’t going to wait to start anymore. We are going to get started NOW and learn as we go. So what do you need to get started? How about a little time and your checkbook (Joe, remember that just cause you have checks doesn’t mean that you have money).

Here is my idea/challenge/experiment. I will keep giving advice, but we will do so after you have started the investment process. To track how this all works, I am actually going to invest in my recommendations as well so that we can track our progress together. Remember that my intention is to get you started. You can change all the variables in the future. I’ll explain more as we go along. So go get your checkbook and follow along with me.

First, we need to open an account. I am going to pick The Vanguard Group. Why Vanguard? Low fees, excellent reputation, and easily navigable site. Are you there? Click on "Go to Personal Investors site to explore or log on" in red. Now under the welcome you will see a link called "Open an account." Got it? Have questions? Click around and get them answered... the FAQ links are excellent and I recommend that you read them. For this exercise I am going to open a regular individual account. You may want to open an IRA. For now, go with individual. I will go into detail regarding IRAs in a later post (you may be able to switch your account to an IRA later). Once you feel good, click the "Invest now" button and let's get started. Fill in all the pertinent information. It is really very easy. Pull your checkbook out and fund your account.

Okay, here is the part that can be significantly challenging to folks who want to invest... what to invest in?!? Unfortunately, I'm swamped at work and will have to tell you tomorrow. In the meantime, keep meandering around the Vanguard site.