Here are five suggested from "The Motley Fool:"
- Get your basic budget and finances in good shape. For example, plan household expenses so they will stay below the family income. And resolve to eliminate credit cards debt, unless already paying off their bills monthly.
- Buy no mutual funds without checking the relative performances. Resolve to compare the 5- or 10-year mutual fund performance records relative to the S&P 500 Index in the same period. Avoid buying funds that have not at least improved on the major averages over the long-term. This should make it possible to beat most funds' and investors' returns and so increase your own nest egg that much faster.
- If new to stock investing, buy at least one company's shares this year. Resolve to consider in your area the businesses that you use and love, and then purchase some shares of one of them in 2009. Chances are, if you like the company, others will too, and its stock then has a good chance of doing well over time. We just bought Wal-Mart on this basis. There is nothing like investing even a little real money in the stock market to learn in a hurry. A bit of research online can be pretty easy. If still unsure, you might join an investment club and try it out there first. For such clubs in your area, think about membership in AAII, an excellent investor resource.
- Gradually add to your investing education. Review your reserves, mutual funds, and any stock holdings at least every three months. Set goals, for example to invest a certain amount a year through your 401k or IRA plans. Find out if there is news about your assets. Look at your statements. Ask questions of your financial advisor or broker if you do not understand something there. See how well you are following your intended budget and investment schedules. Then make small adjustments when appropriate.
- Have a little fun! Once you start, gradually getting your toes further into the water of investing can seem like play. Just be sure it is not speculation or gambling. Investing can be done so it is fairly safe. In fact, Warren Buffett considers that if it is not done that way it is not really investing. Sure there will be ups and downs, but over the long haul it can be rewarding in more ways than one.