How to get started

Want to start investing? Here are the first five steps to take.

To get started with investing

Cover your expenses
A large stack of 100 dollar billsMake sure your expenses and debts are low enough that you can comfortably pay them. Set aside enough money in your savings account to cover two to six months of expenses.

Set goals
A hand holding an investment plan.Make an investing plan. List your financial goals and how much time you have to reach them. (For more about setting financial and life goals, see the topic Getting Started.)

Weigh risk
Close up of a chart with lines representing risk going up and downDetermine how much risk you are comfortable taking.

Determine mix
A circular graph with different sections showing high and low percentages.Decide on the mix of investments you want to maintain in order to reach your goals.

Decide how much $
An old-fashioned scale with stacks of money on one side.Determine how much money you will invest every month and make a commitment to follow-through.

Note: Always research before you invest. Base your decisions on facts, not emotions. Visit Web sites that offer investment information and news. Consider seeking guidance from investing professionals.

Always research investments before you buy.

Click the Next button to continue.