Quick – how is American manufacturing faring right now? Is it doing well? Poorly? Which way is it trending? Perhaps it’s getting better, but is still rough, or maybe it’s doing well, but getting worse. If you’re not directly involved in the American manufacturing industry, you probably don’t know. And even if you are, you may not be able to explain which companies are doing well relative the competition and why, or whether custom machining is growing faster or slower than mass production, or what. Heck, many manufacturing companies are part of larger companies that also deal in all sorts of other businesses. How can you keep track of all of that?
You can’t (or, at least, you shouldn’t have to). Your job is something else. You work hard, you’re good at what you do, and you make money. And when it comes time to invest that money, you should take it to someone who works hard and is good at that: investment! Just like your own career, investment can look complicated and can be even more complicated than it looks. And just like you have in your own line of work, someone has spent years studying, training, and achieving the finance business – and now they want to help you.
You need to invest
It’s all so complicated. Maybe you shouldn’t invest at all!
Not a good idea, I’m afraid. Currencies suffer from inflation: money is worth less and less with each passing year. That’s why your grandparents bought big candy bars for a nickel, but you have to shell out a couple of bucks. Back in the day, a nickel was worth as much as a buck and change is now. So if you saved up all of your nickels back then and stashed them away, and then you pulled them out now and tried to guy buy things with them, you’d be in a for a rude surprise: you’d find yourself poorer.
To beat inflation, you need interest. And while you’ll get some interest from a savings account at your bank, you’ll get a whole lot more from wise investments. So unless you want to steal from yourself (and you don’t), you’ll want to invest.
Get to know the pros
Okay, so it’s investment time – but what do you do? You rely on the pros, of course. A broker is someone who buys and sells something (real estate brokers buy and sell land, for instance) and they’re a common and useful professional in finance – stock brokers, bond brokers, and other types of brokers can help you buy and sell investments. A more general term, financial advisor, refers to people who (naturally) advise you investments, savings, and other financial decisions. And then there are a host of other services, from automated online brokers to credit score calculators and so on.
Luckily, all of these services tend to exist under one roof at a good finance and investment company. So all you really have to do is show up with your financial information and ask for help.
And you should. Not investing is stealing from yourself, and investing on your own – without the years of experience and knowledge that a financial pro has – can be very risky. Just think of your own career and imagine a typical customer or client trying to do or make what you do or make every day. It would probably be a disaster, and it might not even be safe. It’s the same with finance, only this time, you’re the customer. So here’s the thing: you should trust the experts.