Work and Money

How Investment Accounts Help Your Money Grow

Photo Credit: shurkin_son/Shuttterstock

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I am by no means a financial expert. When it comes to my personal finances, my approach has typically been to pay my bills and push off figuring out the rest until I absolutely have to. However, over the past year, my interest in investing was piqued as the stock market ballooned. I decided I needed to learn more and take control over my financial life.

I've been lucky enough to have a few different jobs that have had 401(k)s as part of their benefits. However, once those jobs ended and I've been left to my own devices to invest the money in the accounts, I've typically felt completely out of my element. My 401(k)s would rollover into IRAs and I’d tell myself that I was okay with these accounts simply sitting there, earning the minimum amount of interest possible. But then I thought, how can I make my money work for me? Other people do it, so why can’t I?

My first step was to actually look at my accounts and to see what my options were with the money that was in them. The money wasn’t invested in anything — no stocks, no mutual funds, nothing — and it was earning pennies in interest each year. Not good.

Without knowing what I was doing, I moved some of the money out of my IRA to invest it. This move ended up being an especially bad one. I had no idea at the time that I could invest the money through my IRA without having to move it into a separate account. I did this a few times, taking money out of the IRA and putting it into a different account. And now, as a result, I will have to pay taxes on some of the money that I moved.

I found out that the IRA I currently have is actually a great place for me to start when looking to begin investing my money. I could use the money in the account to invest in stocks and mutual funds without having to pay any fees. In other words, my money was finally working for me. And, I didn’t even have to put in that much effort.

I ended up setting up a complimentary call with a financial adviser from the financial institution where my IRA was set up. The call taught me a lot about the mistakes I had made and what I could and couldn’t do with the money in my accounts. He also made some recommendations for how to proceed with my investments moving forward. Most financial institutions offer this kind of free financial advisement call, and even though typically it is part of a plan to try to sell you something, the advice and information you receive with no obligation to buy anything can be extremely helpful. 

I ended up depositing some extra money into an account that invests the money for me. At the financial institution where my account currently is, really rich people who have a lot of money to invest can have the type of account where actual financial advisers do the investing for them. But, for someone like me who barely has a savings account, this account is overseen by some sort of accounting computer that automates the process. I’ve earned a decent profit through this investment account and I’m eager to see how it matures in the future.

Many of us are unaware of the ways we could be making the most of our money. There are even some programs or offers, like the complimentary financial adviser call, that we may not realize we can take advantage of. But, there is no time like the present to take control of your financial future. The more you educate yourself about your finances and your options, the better prepared you will be for what’s to come.


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