Beginner Investor Course, Day 1: Your Intro to Investing

Beginner Investor Course, Day 1: Your Intro to Investing

By TheBudgetnista -  Tags: ,

Beginner Investor Course: Day 1

Welcome to Day 1 of Learning to Invest with The Budgetnista & Ellevest!

Are you excited to learn the basics of investing? I know I am. Woot Woot!

What is the Beginner Investor Course? Haven't signed up yet? Visit this page for more information:

Today's Focus: Intro to Investing

 Today, you'll learn...

 - How expensive it is NOT to invest

- What you need to do BEFORE you invest

-The first few steps you can take on your investing journey


Each day you'll get a video and written lesson walking you through the process step-by-step.

Start with your Day 1 video below, then move on to the lesson.

Let's meet-up later in our Dream Catcher FB Group to discuss what we learned! See you soon…


“Investing is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It can build your wealth...not by a little, but by enough to make a real difference in your life.” - Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder & CEO of Ellevest

Let's get this party started...

You DON'T need to:

  • Have a lot of money to start investing
  • Be a financial expert
  • Be able to pick stocks or “beat the market”

You DO need to:

  • Pay off high-interest debt, like credit cards, before investing
  • Identify and write down your goals
  • Make a plan for your financial goals that includes an emergency fund
  • Make investing a habit

Here’s a quick RECAP of what we'll cover today:

Step One: Pay off high-interest debt, like credit cards.

Step Two: The 50/30/20 rule: It’s okay if your budget isn’t there yet — you can still invest!

Step Three: Get a free investment plan based on your life goals.
Dream Catchers who open a new Ellevest account in September will receive $25 towards your first funded goal at Ellevest. This offer is for new clients only - see official promotional details below*

Step Four: Start an emergency fund.

Step Five: Contribute to your workplace 401(k).

Step Six: Open an IRA to fund your retirement.

Step Seven: Consider how investing can help you reach other, shorter-term goals.

The #1 thing that made women feel confident was the act of investing, saving and putting money toward their goals (63%).” - Ellevest 2018 Money Census

Woman With a Plan

Hey hey hey DC's! Now that you’ve watched the video and know the steps you're going to take, let’s get to work. I’m excited to share what I’ve learned and to help you get ready to be a confident investor. First things first...

Getting started with investing isn’t as complicated as you may have heard, and you don’t have to have a lot of money to start investing. While there are lots of different ways to invest, for this series, we’re going to focus on making investing a habit, following a goals-based, diversified investment plan.

That’s a mouthful, right? Here’s what I mean:

Goals-based: This approach helps you plan because you’re focusing on specific goals. How much money do you need, and when do you need it for your retirement? Building your family? Buying a home? Going back to school or starting a business? If you know what you want from life, you can make a plan for it. And if you have a plan, you are more likely to reach your goals.

Need help to develop your investing goals? You didn't think I was going to leave you hanging, did you??

Click on the link HERE to access a goal sheet that I created just for you! Before you take any other steps in this course, I want you to identify three specific investment goals that you want to accomplish, even if your established timeframe to complete them is after this course is over.

Make sure you write down when and how you plan to achieve your investment goals. Then, post this sheet somewhere that you can see it every day.

Again, get your Goal Sheet here. Click pic to download.

And don’t forget, the best way to accomplish your goals is to have an accountability partner.

I suggest picking a friend or organizing a group of people who want to do the Challenge with you, so you’re all on the same page.

You can also head into the Dream Catcher Facebook Group to find other Dream Catchers who are working on the Challenge as well.


Diversified portfolio: Let’s break this down -- An online portfolio is like a virtual binder that holds a combination of different investments designed to help you achieve your investing goals. This should give you an at-a-glance look at all of your investments at once, which can be really helpful when you want to get a snapshot of your entire financial picture.

 A diversified portfolio will include different types of securities (like stocks, bonds, and alternatives).

Stocks are also known as equity, and they are a little piece of ownership of a company. Owning stock gives you the right to participate in company earnings (and losses) through dividends and/or changes in the market price.

Bonds (aka fixed income) are loans to institutions like governments or corporations. Most pay a fixed amount of interest for the duration of the loan and are considered less risky than stocks, but with less potential for return.

Alternatives — If it’s not a stock or a bond, and it can still be part of your portfolio, it’s likely an alternative. This covers a whole bunch of investments, including venture capital, private equity, hedge funds, commodities like gold and wheat, domestic and foreign real estate and natural resources like coal and gas - even art collections! I know you might be thinking, huh? Don’t worry, it will make more sense as the course continues.


So, back to the diversified part! For investment portfolios, this means including different types of securities (what I mentioned above, like stocks, bonds, and alternatives). You may be wondering: why not just choose one? Diversifying should include securities from different asset classes (definition below) that act differently, so when one isn’t performing well, another security in your portfolio may be performing better. This helps minimize your risk by giving you multiple ways to participate and benefit from your investments.

Basically, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Because if you drop that basket, you’ll break all of your eggs. If you have multiple baskets and drop one, then you’ll still have eggs left over. Got it? Good!


Asset classes just mean groups of securities (like stocks, bonds, and alternatives), that have similar risk and return (earning) characteristics. It’s just another way to describe families of equity (stocks), fixed income (bonds), and alternatives.

NOTE: You need to know the definitions above. They are necessary parts of your investment vocabulary. I had reread them a few times and I even wrote them down to make sure I understood them. Feel free to do the same.

Important reminder: Yes, investing does have risk associated with it. No one can predict exactly when investments will go up or down, and very few can do better than the market consistently. On average, however, the market has returned 9.5% annually since 1928. 

Yeeeeees! Compare that to a typical savings account, with less than 1% interest. If you hold all your savings in a regular savings account, your money isn’t going to grow and,  at worst, it may end up costing you money, because your money isn’t keeping pace with inflation. Yikes!

Quick Note: What is inflation? It’s an increase in prices and the decrease of the purchasing power of your money. Example: The same pair of sneakers you bought 10 years ago for $75, may cost $100 if you try to buy them new today. Things cost more, but your money can do less.

Remember, you don’t have to be able to pick stocks or “beat the market” (aka trade stocks regularly)— in fact, active money managers who operate like this may make money in the short term, but data shows that just 0.1% of money managers outperform the markets over a 5-year period.


Okay, now it's time to dig into today's action steps!

First things first: If you have high-interest debt, pay it off. As Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of Ellevest, says, “If you have credit card debt, pay it off now. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.” Got it?

Not sure how to start paying off debt. I wrote a step-by-step blog post showing you how here, Pay Off Debt in 7 Steps and Still Maintain Your Lifestyle.

Now, let’s talk about developing an investing habit. As I always say, automation is the new discipline, so try starting with a little bit from each paycheck.

How much should you invest?

Well, that’s up to you. A great budgeting rule of thumb is the 50/30/20 rule. In an ideal world, your take-home pay would be spent as follows:


  • 50% on needs: housing, utilities, groceries, transportation, health insurance, debt payments. These expenses are the things you just can’t do without.
  • 30% to fun: vacations, entertainment, dining out, clothing. These are the things that make life enjoyable but aren’t absolutely required.
  • 20% to Future You: savings and investing. This should include any 401(k) contributions to your workplace plan, your emergency fund, and investing.

Your budget may not fit this model, but it’s a great rule of thumb. The most important thing to do is to designate a percentage of your take-home pay for savings and investing and make it automatic, every check, every month — whether it’s $10, $100, $1,000 or more.

Make a commitment now, and then, when you’re able to, increase your percentage.

You may be expecting a raise, or expecting a tax return, and you’re holding off on investing until that day comes. It can be tempting to delay getting started, but here’s the thing:

Every day that you delay is a day where you may be leaving money on the table. In fact, Ellevest has calculated that you could be losing $100 a day, every day you wait to invest.*

Yes! This is one of the reasons why I regret waiting. 

This is also one of the reasons Ellevest has no minimum deposit to open an account — so you can start where you are and then, when you get that raise (seriously, girl, get that raise!) or receive that tax return, and want to contribute more, you can.

Homework time!


Oh, you didn’t think a former school teacher of 10+ years was going to give you homework?

Okay, so let’s talk about your plan and what you can and should get started with ASAP! If you’re just getting started with saving and investing, you may want to focus on two areas: your emergency fund and your retirement.

Here’s your homework for today. Don’t worry. It’s not hard.

1.Your emergency fund should be 3-6 months of your take-home pay, set aside in a regular savings account (Ellevest has a no-fee emergency fund goal.)
Your task:  If you don’t have an emergency fund, open one. Don’t worry about adding the full 3-6 months of take-home pay today. Getting one started and automating a regular transfer, no matter how small, is the goal. Take action on this today.


2. If your employer matches employee contributions to a 401(k) plan (and if it works with your budget), consider contributing the minimum required to receive the full match. That’s free money!

Your task: Ask to speak with HR. Ask if they match, then dance up and down if they do. Also, ask yourself how much you can comfortably contribute right now from each paycheck to start earning your match. Don’t worry about the amount. Just get started...ta-day!  


3. Open an IRA. Unlike a workplace-based 401(k), this account is controlled by you. So no matter where you work or what your plans for the future include, you’re able to contribute to this account.

Your task: Just wait. We’ll actually do this later on in the week, together. Sallie and I will show you how...step-by-step. I just wanted you to see what was coming up.

If you want to jump ahead and create your free, personal investment plan, you can do it here.

Are you ready to start investing in your goals today? Dream Catchers who open a new Ellevest account in September will receive $25 towards your first funded goal at Ellevest. This offer is for new clients only - see official promotional details below*

4. Find an Accountability Partner and Write down your goals.

Your task: Ask a friend, family member, co-worker etc. to take this course with you. Check in with each other daily. Get your Goal Sheet here:

In our next lesson, we’re going to create an investing plan together and talk more about how you can invest to support other goals besides retirement. 

See you tomorrow! Same time, same place (in your inbox). 🙂

PS - If you have questions about Ellevest’s investment portfolios or site features, you can always reach out to Ellevest’s concierge team - they’re happy to help:

And don't forget about your support system. Reach out to a family member or trusted friend to join you as your accountability partner. Check in with them daily to make sure you complete each step successfully. 

Before you go, make sure to check-in with me and your fellow Dream Catcher’s in our private FB group, here: Dream Catchers : LIVE RICHER w/The Budgetnista .

Make sure to use the hashtag #DCbeginnerInvestor when you post, so me and your fellow Dream Catcher Investors can find it.

Before you go, leave a comment below. 

What did you take away from today's lesson? What are your investing goals? We all wanna know!

Then, share what you've done on Day 1 with your tweeps...

Today I prepared to be an INVESTOR with The Budgetnista and @Ellevest #DCbeginnerinvestor Click To Tweet

Live Richer,



*The Ellevest The Budgetnista promotional offer is valid from September 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018 for the first 1,000 new clients of Ellevest who enter through this designated landing page. Clients who enroll and fund their non-retirement account will receive $25 added to their highest priority goal in their Ellevest account. Clients who enroll and fund their retirement account will receive a $25 Amazon gift card which can be redeemed by visiting

Please review Gift Card Terms and Conditions prior to redemption. Ellevest is not responsible for lost Amazon Gift Cards. Ellevest's processing time for depositing $25 into a client's Ellevest account or delivery of a $25 Amazon gift card may be up to 60 days.

© 2018 Ellevest, Inc., an SEC-registered investment adviser. All rights reserved. For information about Ellevest, and its financial advisory services, please visit the firm’s website ( or the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website ( Tiffany Aliche, known as “The Budgetnista” is a paid solicitor of Ellevest. More information about the relationship between Ellevest and The Budgetnista can be found here:

*Source Ellevest. To arrive at “about $100 a day”, we compared the wealth outcomes for a woman who begins investing at age 30 with one who began investing at age 40 after having saved in a bank for 10 years. Both women begin with an $85,000 salary at age 30 and all salaries were projected using a women-specific salary curve from Morningstar Investment Management LLC, a registered investment adviser and a subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc., which includes the impact of inflation. We assume savings of 20% of salary each year. The bank savings account assumes an average annual yield of 1% and a 17% tax rate on the interest earned, with no account fees. The investment account assumes an investment with Ellevest using a low-cost diversified portfolio of ETFs beginning at 91% equity and gradually becoming more conservative during the last 20 years, settling at 56% equity by the end of the 40-year horizon. These results are determined using a Monte Carlo simulation—a forward-looking, computer-based calculation in which we run portfolios and savings rates through hundreds of different economic scenarios to determine a range of possible outcomes. The results reflect a 70% likelihood of achieving the amounts shown or better, and include the impact of Ellevest fees, inflation, and taxes on interest, dividends, and realized capital gains. We divided the calculated cost of waiting 10 years to invest, $337,657, by 3,650 (the number of days in 10 years). The resulting cost per day is about $92.50.

The information provided should not be relied upon as investment advice or recommendations, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered specific legal, investment or tax advice.

The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific person.

Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. There is no guarantee that any particular asset allocation or a mix of funds will meet your investment objectives or provide you with a given level of income.

Forecasts or projections of investment outcomes in investment plans are estimates only, based upon numerous assumptions about future capital markets returns and economic factors. As estimates, they are imprecise and hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results.

The practice of investing a fixed dollar amount on a regular basis does not ensure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets. It involves continuous investing regardless of fluctuating price levels. Investors should consider their ability to continue investing through periods of fluctuating market conditions.

Investing entails risk including the possible loss of principal and there is no assurance that the investment will provide positive performance over any period of time.

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Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche is quickly becoming America's favorite, personal financial educator. The Budgetnista is also an Amazon #1 best selling author (The One Week Budget and Live Richer Challenge), sought-after speaker and teacher of financial empowerment.
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