Bret Johnson is the CFO of Team Johnson and enjoys personal investing and growing wealth. We talked to Bret about all things investing, and we want to share some key takeaways.
The real American dream is to make your money and keep making money, so Bret will share tips to help you make your money work for you.
How Did You Get Started Investing?
Brett says he didn’t always know about investing but regularly tried to find ways to save his company money. The first time he did that, he was looking at ordering a product and realized he got a better deal if he ordered 10,000 units versus 5,000.
He started trying to make his companies more profit.
One tip is for you to try to find ways to save money. One of the things Bret suggests is going through credit cards using an app like TrueBill and looking at what subscriptions you’re paying for and seeing if you don’t need them anymore. Sometimes people forget what they’re subscribed to and spend $200 monthly or more on subscriptions. Go through subscriptions once a quarter to reduce expenses.
Should You Pay Off Debt Before Investing?
If someone is in debt, Bret says more times than not, it’s because a person has lacked discipline somewhere. It just doesn’t happen. Maybe they went to college, but they knew they were going and could’ve made a plan to save or reduce debt by starting at a community college. When it comes to investing, Bret starts off by asking how disciplined someone is.
If you’re disciplined, you could set a plan together where you could start investing while you pay your debt. But if you’re not disciplined, focus on paying debt down first.
Can you pay off the credit cards monthly and contribute a little bit to your retirement?
As you’re just investing, Bret would have you go to Vanguard and pick an S&P index fund. You can pick aggressive or conservative funds; there are all types. You will have days where it’s up or down, but they are generally safer investments.
With index funds, the research is already done. It’s a fund that has a bunch of stocks together, and then you pick how aggressive a fund you’d like.
How Much Money Does Someone Need To Start Investing In Index Funds?
Bret says they’re all different but average $500 to $1,000 to start. If that’s out of budget right now, save until you get there, and then invest as soon as you have it.
How Long Are These Investments?
Bret says you want investments to be long-term. You shouldn’t worry about what the investment will do in the next 2-3 weeks because it is more important how they trend long-term.
How Do I Learn About Different Stocks?
Bret says to start off by listening to a podcast. All the CNBC shows have their podcasts, so they take their hour-long show and make it into a podcast. They give sound advice and talk about companies and businesses.
One of Bret’s mentors, Jim Cramer, has a CNBC show called Bad Money and an investment club that lets you get every one of his stock trades before he does them so you can make your investments simultaneously. He tells you how many shares he will trade, how many he will buy, and why he gives them.
There are experts and people who have been doing this for 40 years, so start researching them.
What Investing Apps Do You Like?
Bret says he likes using E-Trade. Acorn is another app that helps people start by rounding up their transactions and investing money into partial stocks. It makes it accessible to anybody.
When Should You Start Investing?
The sooner you can start investing, the better. Bret recommends starting accounts for your kids because if they start young, they’ll accumulate more in their lifetime. It’s still a better place to put your money than a bank because its interest return is so low.
Bert says his daughter checks her accounts to see what’s going on. She’s in her early 20s, but by the time she’s 30, it will have grown a lot. And she’ll be happy she started investing early.
What Is Your Top Recommendation For Someone Getting Started?
Take some time out of your day. Spend time on Google, look at Vanguard, research, pick a fund, and set it up to automatically deposit an amount every month. That’s the easiest way to get started.
Invest in companies that you see every day. Pick companies where you’re not betting if they will go up or down in the next three weeks. If you need your money in the next six months, don’t put it in the market; put it in a high-yield savings account.
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