1. Congrats on taking the plunge. It may be a little scary to invest, but as you’ve already pointed out, you were taking a lot of inflation risk before by sticking to CDs. Target Date Funds are a good way of getting your feet wet in investing. Just remember this is for the long term and don’t let the ups and downs of the market get you too excited or disappointed. I look at my monthly statements briefly and try to ignore the stock market talking heads and daily movements.

  2. I waited a long time before I started too. When I was ready, I jumped into a target retirement fund. When I was even more ready, I invested in a total market index fund to compliment my target date fund. And these have been great investments for me!

    It’s easy to look back and wish we would have started earlier, but it doesn’t help.

    I don’t think we waited too long, we waited until we were ready. Good financial advisors take into account your level of comfort with risk. We increase risk as we are more comfortable and when it is appropriate (years to retirement, etc.).

    Now you are ready. Congratulations!

    • Thank you! It’s been quite the ride. My husband never had an IRA anywhere, so when I moved to Vanguard last year, I had him open an account there, too. It was a bit of baptism by fire for him with the market! 😉

      • Oh my gosh can I just say that “baptism by fire” is the BEST way to describe having just started investing this summer? I was not so wise as to put a “don’t look” Post-It anywhere, so I watched the. whole. thing. To this day, I’m a horrible market-watcher, and I just keep consoling myself that as long as I don’t DO anything about what the market does, I’m still a “passive investor.”

        I mean, I’m not even tempted! I know my strategy works long term! But… I still look.

        Literally every day.

  3. It’s worth repeating: There is no such thing as perfect. There is certainly no such thing as perfect in PF!

    I was never quick to invest, and it took YEARS to feel comfortable investing in anything with any sort of risk whatsoever. I really had to understand that putting money in anything with an interest rate lower than the rate of inflation meant a guaranteed loss. Somehow knowing that made it easier to invest, since I figured even if I lost a little, I was guaranteed to lose money in a savings account or CD.

    What matters is your progress and that you’re headed in the right direction! 🙂

  4. We’re just as big of scaredy cats. I know nothing about investing, and something as fueled by optimism and panic as the stock market fills me with terror. I’m going to stick with Vanguard once we’re doing actual investing. In the meantime, I’ll open a Vanguard SEP once I’m able to do more than fully fund the Roth.

    So just know that I’ll always be a slower learner than you.

  5. Congrats! I too have a Roth IRA that was originally my father’s idea, and I’ve only recently started figuring out how to use it (i.e. actually, like, putting money into it). I know nothing at all about investing, but I did recently open a Betterment account — it auto-deposits $100 per month from my checking account, so I don’t have to think about it. And the investments are all optimized using some kind of tax-minimizing algorithm (clearly I know exactly what I’m talking about here). So yes: yay, and I’m right there with you, just starting to learn about this stuff. 🙂

  6. I’m a sucker for things that are easy. I’ve been a long time investor, but I’m also far from a stock market or investment “expert”. I’ve found the easiest way to invest (generally in targeted retirement and life strategy funds) over the years and simply threw my money into it. They worry about diversification, not me. I mean it was literally brainless for me to invest. All I had to do is send over the money. I never thought about it after that. Thanks Vanguard.

    Good on you for starting. Better late than never, and your future self will definitely thank you for deciding to invest. 🙂

  7. Yes, you’ve got this!! What made me quick to invest was the same thing you engaged in – picking up every personal finance book I could, and diving into the personal finance blogosphere. Then learning that the interest rate on standard savings accounts will not even outpace inflation in years to come (essentially, losing value in the money you save – say what?!). This was something that blew my mind. Investing is one of those tedious things that I just knew I would need to get started in, and learn along the way. I may not know everything – but at least I know a few enough things to get started and start capitalizing on that compound interest. What I have learned is that investing can be so psychological! If you can find a way to avoid checking your balances & portfolios often (I know – this one was tough for me too) and recognize that you are in it for the long term strategy, you will fare much better and not panic! Also – recognizing that investing will allow you to accomplish your savings goals faster gives a boost of confidence as well. 🙂

  8. I understand this anxiety. I did not open my IRA until last fall. At 31. Was so afraid I’d make the wrong choice, which deferred any good enough choice.

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