- You might be more capable of investing in the stock market than you think.
- A few common lies we tell ourselves about investing are "I don't know what I'm doing," "I don't have enough money to invest," and "It's not the right time to invest."
- When these statements are untrue, you're leading yourself to miss opportunities to build wealth.
- SmartAsset's free tool can find a financial planner to help build your investing strategy
Investing is an intimidating, but necessary, pursuit.
Despite being one of the pillars of building wealth , too many people avoid the stock market because it's unfamiliar. Others approach it overconfidently, which isn't good either.
On top of it, we all have biases and emotions that make managing money that much harder. Often our beliefs about money can lead to misperceptions that hamper our ability to achieve financial success.
Below, five lies you should stop telling yourself about investing if you want to build long-term wealth.
1. I don't know what I'm doing
You don't have to be a stock-picking genius or financial whiz to invest. You really just need to know what goals you're investing for and how much risk you can stomach.
If your investing knowledge ends at stocks and bonds, don't worry. There are loads of cost-effective online investing services, from Betterment to Wealthfront to Ellevest , that will show you the ropes and help you create a custom portfolio that aligns with your goals.
If you're investing for retirement through an employer-sponsored plan, set up a meeting with the plan administrator or financial adviser to ask questions. Your knowledge is only limited to your desire to seek out answers.
2. I don't have enough money
But if you think you don't have enough money to invest because your net worth isn't six or seven figures and you aren't flush with cash, you're mistaken. All it takes is a few hundred dollars, if that, to get into the stock market.
"The landscape has improved immensely just over the last decade for small investors with the proliferation of exchanged-traded funds (ETFs)," Christine Benz, director of personal finance at Morningstar, told Business Insider.
"You have firms like Schwab and Fidelity that have zero minimum initial purchase funds. So I think that's a non-issue these days I would set that [concern] aside. A couple of decades ago, you certainly did need $2,500 or $5,000, but that's all changed," Benz says.
3. It's not the right time
Face it: You'll never win if you try to time the market. Most of the biggest opportunities to make money in the stock market happen without warning. If you're waiting on the sidelines for the "best" time to invest your extra cash, you're missing out on all the potential growth in the meantime.
"Cash isn't going to provide you with enough growth opportunities long term and the best opportunities you'll have at market growth is by being in the market," says Andrew Westlin, a certified financial planner at Betterment .
"In hindsight, we can always look back and see, 'Oh if I had waited a week, if I had waited a month, would I have better returns?' but none of us have that [ability to go back]. Just having the opportunity for market growth is what is most important," Westlin says.
4. There's too much risk
Investing in the stock market is risky. You're loosening your grip your money in order to (hopefully) multiply it. But rest assured: There are ways to reduce your overall risk and still produce a return.
"The things you can control are the risk level you invest at, the fees you pay, the level of diversification you take on those are all the big ones," Westlin says. "You can invest more successfully when you align your risk level of that investment with the time horizon that you have to save."
One way to do this is through a target-date fund, Benz says. This type of all-in-one fund has built-in safeguards that minimize risk by automatically shifting to a more conservative allocation as you get closer to retirement.
"I always say to investors: If there's a chicken way to do almost anything, think about doing that. So think about dollar-cost averaging to avoid that whole idea of what, in hindsight, might not have been the best time to invest [with a lump sum]," Benz says.
Dollar-cost averaging is the strategy of investing invest smaller chunks of money over regular intervals rather than pouring a lump sum into the market all at once. It's the same method we use to contribute to a 401(k) or other workplace retirement plan.
"If you can minimize the hindsight and second guessing that you might otherwise do, that can go a long way in keeping you on board with the plan," Benz says.
5. I don't want to settle for average returns
If you're constantly running after the lastest stock tip that promises to make you rich, you'll probably wind up disappointed, or else just spending way too much time tinkering with your investments.
But when it comes to building long-termwealth through investing, average is exactly what you should aim for , according to financial expert Ramit Sethi.
"You should just match the market because over the long term, the market returns typically about 8% 8% is awesome, 8% is amazing. Eight percent lets you double your money every roughly, 10 years or so, right?" Sethi says.
The simpler and more streamlined your investments, the better, Sethi says.
"They're not sexy, they're not going to be in the news, but you don't want them there. You want your investments to be really simple. A target date fund is great, or a basket of index funds. That's how I would approach it," Sethi says.
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