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August 17, 2013

A Word of Advice: It's never too early to start investing

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The Daily Star

---- — In the middle of the summer, after working your job for some time, you may find yourself sitting on what seems to be a mountain of cash. However, without proper money management skills, you could easily level that mountain into a pile of change. 

Sitting with a fat stack of bills in front of your face can be tantamount to sitting with a plate of cookies in front of your face, so, it can be helpful to put your money in a jar somewhere you can’t reach. Or, it could be possibly more lucrative to take that money and plant it into the ground, waiting for it to grow into a big money tree.

Wild analogies aside, money can indeed grow quite rapidly, and you don’t need a stockbroker to make it happen. There are many simple investment opportunities that a teen can take advantage of. Markets in things like commodities (tangible objects such as precious metals) have been doing generally well even in a rougher economy. 

Some good choices that are easy for a teen would include metals such as silver. Silver, unlike gold, isn’t insane in price. An ounce of silver can be had for less than $50, unlike gold, where an ounce can bring more than $1,000. Silver is also at a lower point in price than the usual market high, so it’s logical to think that the price could later rise, leaving you with a higher value than what you paid. Once it does, the silver can be resold to another buyer for that higher price, which leaves you with more money in your pocket than what you put into your investment.

It’s very important to make sure that if you do buy a commodity or material, such as silver or copper, you buy it from a trustworthy dealer to ensure that what you’re buying, and eventually selling, is the real deal.

If you don’t want to fool around with physical materials, you still have some straightforward investment options. U.S. government bonds can be easy ways to make money. You pay a fixed price for a bond, and the government holds onto your money for a set period of time and then pays you back with interest. This is similar to the interest paid by a bank on a savings account, but the interest rate paid for bonds is usually higher. 

Investment can seem to be a difficult and risky venture. If you do decide to invest in something, you should always look into trends of value of your investment and research more about it in general. 

Even if you do find investment to be frightening and complex, you can still be responsible with the money you already have to get the most out of it possible. Keeping money in a bank or some other hard-to-access place will make you think about your purchases more than you would if you kept it balled up in your pocket or under your mattress. 

Aside from gaining interest, your money would be kept safe in a place where it couldn’t easily be lost or stolen, where somebody could come to your home and very easily snatch your money and you wouldn’t have a very easy way of getting it back. It’s also impossible to lose dollars and coins in between couch cushions when your money is locked up in a vault.

Everybody knows that saving your money is important, but saving can be done in different ways, whether you just save, or choose to grow your money. It’s important to make sure that whatever you choose, you’re being smart with your money.

Austin Czechowski is a rising junior at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School. Would you like A Word of Advice from him? Send him an email at adviceaustin@gmail.com, or send him a letter to “Teen Talk: A Word of Advice,” c/o The Daily Star, P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/teentalk.