By David Howtzer

2016-06-14_1452Life always seems to be getting busier, and as a result many people feel they simply don’t have time to mess with market investments. Particularly among young people, this is commonly cited as one reason to avoid investments. An analysis by LinkedIn of some of the reasons young people don’t invest noted that many just don’t think they have time. The article went on to say that there’s no denying a time investment is required. However, it also notes that you can get professionals to help you with investments, and that concept is what we’re going to expand on here.

The analysis by LinkedIn is absolutely correct that any sort of investment requires at least some time commitment, unless you happen to be very wealthy and very careless. In that situation, you could conceivably hurl funds at a professional portfolio manager and leave it entirely up to him or her to manage your account. Generally speaking, though, you’ll need to make some effort if you’re going to invest your money. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some methods that allow you to be more passive than others, by putting trust in professionals, or even programs.

The first thing that comes to mind in this regard is mutual funds, and those are certainly worth considering for people who want to invest but have concerns about the time requirements (or, perhaps, the skill requirements as well!). There’s a lot to know about mutual funds before you actually dive in, but one of the advantages that’s often pointed out is that mutual funds are managed by professional investors. This means that once you buy into the fund, you’re essentially done with the day-to-day decision making. Now, if you’re going to be strategic about things, you’ll still be keeping an eye on the portfolio’s performance and making wise decisions about when to add more money (or withdraw your investment). But for the most part, a mutual fund can grow your investment while allowing you to remain passive. There are some disadvantages—fees for the fund manager and a lack of direct control—but it’s appealing for a
certain type of investor.

Thanks to modern technology, a mutual fund is no longer the only method of (relatively) passive investment that may appeal to a busy person who wants to be strategic financially. There are now mobile apps that use very intelligent programs to invest users’ funds in a manner that requires minimal effort. For instance, one popular app actually invests your spare change by connecting to your payment methods and rounding up when you spend money. So, for instance, if you buy a drink for $2.75, the extra quarter that would round it up to the nearest dollar might be dropped into your portfolio, which is automatically diversified across a huge range of popular assets. Other than signing up, answering questions to determine your risk-averseness, and spending money, you really don’t have to make any effort—your spare change is invested for you.

If that sounds almost too passive, there are apps that offer a compromise, allowing users to control their own portfolios without the hassle and fees of the stock market. The leading app performing these services, appropriately called Robinhood, even allows its users to build personalized stock watch lists and automate the trading process through stop loss and stop limit settings. Apps like this still require hands-on investing, unlike mutual funds or the spare change concept, but they’re so accessible and, compared to dealing with brokers, simple that they, too, can feel more passive.

Ultimately, the LinkedIn analysis has it right: Some time is required in pretty much any investment situation. But if you’re holding back on growing your finances simply because you don’t think you have time to go about it, it may help to know that some of these methods are out there.

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