3 Tips to Become a Successful Investor

By in Asset Allocation, Automatic Saving, Bond, Budget, Investing, Mutual Funds, Stocks, Tips, Video | 17 comments

Easy Investing Tips 

“Investing should be like watching grass grow or paint dry. If you want excitement, take $1,000 and go to Las Vegas.” Paul Samuelson

Investing and Financial Success

I had the pleasure of being recruited at an important financial conference to give my best finance  and investing tips. It was not only fun to talk about what works in wealth building, but also great to do it ‘on camera’. I love to share the ways to become a successful investor and the more you get the steps and strategies to build wealth, the fewer financial stresses you experience. 

Smart small and you’ll be amazed at how a few money changes can lead to big financial results. 

Here’s where to start.

1. Spend with Intention

Intention is everything- Set priorities first. Every pay period you receive a certain amount of income. How you spend those dollars determines not only your today, but also your tomorrow.

Every dollar spent is a trade off between having something today or having much more in the future. Think about how to save money for the future.

Take $1,000 today from your monthly paycheck and invest in your future. In ten years, that $1,000 today at a 6% return (achieved by investing in a diversified investment classes portfolio) may grow to $1,819.40.

Keep that $1,000 invested today growing 40 years for  retirement and that same $1,000 invested today at a 6% return (achieved by investing in a diversified asset classes investment portfolio) may grow to $10,957.45.

Do you want to spend $1,000 today on a couple of months luxury car payment or drive a more affordable model and boost retirement spending by $11,000?

Every dollar spent is a vote on your lifestyle. Spend today, sacrifice wealth tomorrow.

2. Start Saving and Investing Early

The greatest contributor to future wealth is time in the markets.

You may not care about your future today, but taking a small amount of your earnings, investing them with a diversification strategy in index funds allows you to have a financially successful life today and tomorrow.

Make every dollar work hard for you now and tomorrow.

3. Keep Fear at Bay and Start Now {to Become a Successful Investor}

Sign up today for a Roth IRA investment account at a discount broker or through your workplace retirement fund.

Keep it simple and easy. Choose your asset classes; a diversified U.S. stock market index fund, a diversified international stock market index fund, and a diversified bond market index fund.

Get started now. Read Invest and Beat the Pros to give you easy to digest investing information. Then set your investing on auto-pilot and get on with your life.

Become successful with your money management and improve your life.

How to become a successful investor.

How do you overcome fear and motivate yourself to invest today? Have any tips for others?

A version of this article was previously published.


  1. Completely agree Barbara. Getting involved today, no matter what the market is doing, is probably a good idea. I’ve done a historical bit of research on the UK FTSE 250 to prove this point, which I’ll post on my site next week.


    October 24, 2013

  2. It all starts with the single habit of saving! If you are a saver, you generally are not a spender. You are looking for a decent return on investment and working toward a goal.


    October 24, 2013

  3. Right now I’m worried about retirement…but not because we didn’t save… we just couldn’t afford to save for everything in equal / adequate amounts. We saved for braces, cars, college for the girls – paid cash for it all. We do have a good bit saved for retirement and will be dedicating everything to building that up more as we put college costs behind us.

    Betsy @ ConsumerFu.com

    October 26, 2013

  4. Certainly agree with you Barb, one ought to get intentional about their finances if they are to make any tangible progress.
    How do I overcome the fear? By imagining myself better off in future and not having to hassle so much to make ends meet. Thats enough motivation for me to keep saving and investing.

    Simon @ Modest Money

    October 27, 2013

  5. Betsy,
    The good news is that after the kids get done with college the money just starts piling up! If you stay disciplined you will give your retirement funds a big boost.

    Marie at Family MoneyValues

    October 27, 2013

  6. @Moneystepper- I would be interested in your research on the FTSE 250. In recent years the correlation between U.S. and world markets is getting closer and closer.
    @Krantc-You are so right. Saving automatically puts you on the right path to building a strong financial tomorrow.
    @Betsy, I agree with Marie, once the kids are out of the house, it is amazing how much more discretionary income there is to direct towards saving.

    Barbara Friedberg

    October 27, 2013

  7. @Simon-Thanks for sharing your “how to” to keep on the saving path. Visualization works in a lot of fields for reaching one’s goals.
    @ Marie-Agreed-Thanks so much for the support and reiterating the long view path to saving.

    Barbara Friedberg

    October 27, 2013

  8. Simple yet impactful tips. I really like how the video and post go together here. Nice job on the video by the way. I had a chance to get one done at FinCon but couldn’t make it. Wish I did!


    October 28, 2013

    • Hi Squirrrelers, Thanks for noticing. I tried to integrate the two. I was really pleased with the video as well. It’s so nice to get the chance to work with video professionals.

      Barbara Friedberg

      October 31, 2013

  9. Fear really holds me back, it took me six months to open an investment account! I’ve now invested all my money with fidelity index funds in the US and UK. HSBC offer funds which are cheap and accessible via Fidelity Funds Network. I’ve also invested a substantial amount of money in Peer to Peer lending. What do you think about P2P lending?


    October 31, 2013

    • Hi Imran,

      Fidelity certainly has a nice portfolio of index fund offerings, great research, and the brokerage account gives you access to all index funds. Sounds like you are diversified across equities. I also invest in P2P but no more than 3% of my total investment portfolio. I’m concerned about an accelerating default risk or other firm specific unknowns with this newer type of investing opportunity. Again, I only suggest P2P such as Lending Club and Prosper if you have a big emergency fund and other more traditional investments as well.

      You also need some exposure to the fixed asset classes. Even cash, CDs, or a very short term bond fund would fill that niche. That will protect your portfolio from excessive volatility in the case of stock market corrections.

      Barbara Friedberg

      October 31, 2013

  10. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It is not easy to become a successful investor, I know. We have to work hard to have a good understanding on any product we want to invest in.


    October 31, 2013

  11. Great post Barbara, it is so important for young people to invest! As you pointed out so well, time is the best asset young people have, they just need help in realizing that. That takes a parent or a mentor of some sort, to point out the benefits of time and investing. That person is often a challenge for the younger person to connect with.


    November 1, 2013

    • HI Jim,

      Having a mentor is crucial to learning how to build wealth. In fact, that is the exact reason I built this website, to share my financial background and to mentor those without. Thanks for stopping by.

      Barbara Friedberg

      November 3, 2013

  12. Hi Barbara Friedberg, I really love this post. Love the way you write your posts. The information in this article is really unique and useful for me. After reading this article, I think I have some ideas for myself. I do follow your articles recently. Thanks for sharing this post. Hope to read more interesting information from you. Have a nice day.


    December 16, 2013

  13. Most of us are used to instant gratification and that’s the issue with saving, investing and actually PLANNING for a better life. The good thing is that some of us are waking up and starting to think there’s a tomorrow, too, not just today. Loved the article, thanks for the information and the inspiration.


    January 18, 2015

  14. Hi Dojo, You are so right. It just takes a bit of a mind tweak and practice small changes. Once you get in the habit of smart money behaviors, like investing and delaying impulse spending, it gets easier and easier.

    Barbara Friedberg

    January 18, 2015


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