How to get started with investing

Georges Bock
Table of contents
Georges Bock

Investing isn’t about making money overnight. It’s more to do with the goals you want to achieve in the long run, and managing your money to help you get there.

You might want a comfortable retirement (or just to retire at all), more free time in your schedule for your passions, or a nest egg for your kids. All three require serious funds: and most people turn to investing to grow them.

Unsure where to start? Our four straight-talking lessons will give you the basics.

Lesson 1 on when to start investing

It’s never too late to start investing, and every year counts towards achieving your goals. This is because of compound interest. It’s the logic behind pension funds and other long-term investments—the money you make investing is re-invested so you earn interest on both your initial investment AND your gains. As your investments and your gains build up over time, the interest you earn snowballs.

The stock market will have its ups and downs, so starting now gives you more time to ride them out — and more time for your money to grow.

Get started investing as soon as you can.

Lesson 2 on what to consider before you invest

You know your family self. You know your friend self. You might know or be getting to know your work self.

To invest intelligently, you need get to know your money self. Investing is a huge part of this. These four questions will help you get an idea of your investing preferences, budget, and strategy.

How much and how often can I afford to invest?

You’re financially secure, have a decent emergency fund, and still have some money left over to invest. But how much? There’s no hard and fast rule so a lot will depend on your earnings, financial goals, and lifestyle preferences.

Most experts recommend investing at least 10% to 20% of your after-tax income to cover retirement, with some citing 15% as the “sweet spot”.

What's my personal financial goal?

The amount you need to save will depend on your goal. Retirement is one of the major goals for many starting out investing. Some simple strategies can be found here.​

More and more people are now aiming for financial freedom earlier in their life. If this is your goal, there are some great resources online you can use to see how different people achieve this aim. It involves a lot of short-term sacrifice to get long-term freedom.

Other goals might be a dream holiday, a nest egg for children or university fund. All require different amounts and different strategies to achieve.

How much risk can I handle?

Anytime you invest, you could potentially lose some or all your investment. That’s why it’s important to know how comfortable you are with risk. Does the thought of losing money make your stomach squirm? Or do you see heavy losses as an unfortunate part of a long-term process? Understanding your comfort zone in taking on risk is a first step to choosing the right investments for you.

Am I looking for more than just financial returns?

When you invest, it’s often companies and large organizations that use the money you’re providing. Does the way they do business matter to you? Are you concerned about the impact your money will have? Looking beyond financial return in this way is "sustainable investing". If you’d like your money to count for more, then this might be for you.

Our platform, Moniflo, was founded to help you access investments that match your ethics with the lowest fees possible.

Lesson 3 on taking your first steps

What to invest in

The three most common kinds of investments are bonds, stocks, and mutual funds. Experts recommend only investing in what you understand.

Read these quick guides to see whether they would work for you.


By buying a bond, you’re lending money to a government or company. They agree to pay you back a fixed rate over a specific time frame.

Bonds give you greater visibility on your returns, as the interest has to be paid by the government or company, regardless of if they're doing well (or not).

Bonds are sometimes used to balance out the risk of fund or stock investments, acting as a cushion when markets take a nosedive.


By investing in stocks, you’re buying a share in a company: you own a fraction of that firm. You buy them in the hope that their value will increase over time, and that you can sell the shares for a profit.

Mutual Funds

By investing in a mutual fund, you’re pooling together your cash with other investors to buy bonds, stocks, and other securities.

This is done via a company that makes these investments on behalf of all the investors: a mutual fund.

You don’t directly own the investments, the mutual fund does, but you get a share of the profits or losses of the funds’ future holdings.

Read our guide to investing in mutual funds

These three kinds of investments are the must-knows when starting to invest.

How much investing costs

You can buy bonds, stocks, and mutual funds through online platforms.

The way they charge you varies, but it pays to look for:

  • Charges for using the platform (account fees)
  • Charge for buying or selling your investment (trading and transaction fees)
  • Charges for keeping your investments safe (custody fees)

In the case of mutual funds, you’ll also need to pay management fees.

There may be other hidden costs that people overlook but add up quickly, and often:

  • Charges collected on the difference between the bid and the offer (spread fee)
  • Charges for payment solutions
  • Charges for extra orders
  • Charges for buying or selling investments in a currency other than your own (conversion fees)

Some of these costs are linked to the investment itself, while others depend on the platform you use to invest. Check out our guide to calculating fees for all the details.

Choose your platform

There are so many platforms out there, which means your match might be out there but that you’ll need to sift through the haystack to find that golden needle.

The first and most basic question to ask is whether the platform offers the kind of investment you’re looking for, be it stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or something more exotic.

If you’re just starting out, you might want to look for a platform that also gives you the support you need to gain confidence:

  • intuitive onboarding
  • virtual investing
  • tutorials
  • community forums
  • ratings and reviews

Features like these make those first steps in investing that little bit easier.

A final factor to consider is whether you can find investments that match your ethics. If you want to avoid doing harm or make an impact with your money, then you need a platform that gives you the tools to do this.

Find a community

Connecting with people who share you outlook on life and finding out how they invest is a great way to get inspiration, and also motivation.

We’ve put together a list of trailblazers putting themselves out there and discussing finance openly, motivating others to do the same, and helping make investing feel simple and doable. You can find account that focus on financial inclusion for women, millennials, people of color and much more.

Lesson 4 on doing it alone or by yourself

Do it yourself

More and more people are choosing to select their own investments.

Doing it yourself can feel bold and liberating. You get to decide what happens to your money.

Some select their own investments because they’re unsure who they can trust to give them neutral advice. Some find that getting advice is just too expensive.

Others do it for ethical reasons: they want more control over where their money goes and may even wish to make an impact.

‍Get help

‍If choosing your own investments feels like too much, there are alternative options out there.

Robo-advisers select investments for you based on your risk and investment profile. Although they may sound futuristic, they’ve been around a few years now and offer a valid alternative to more expensive personalised advice.

If you have extra cash to spare, you can also seek professional advice from a financial advisor or coach. Look out for advisors specialising in certain profiles, like freelancers, women, or small business owners.

Simply invest sustainably

Open an investment account that allows you to invest in funds that match your values.

Download Moniflo
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Georges Bock is the CEO and founder of Moniflo. He sees money and investing as a way to shape the future by taking a bottom-up approach. He lives in Luxembourg with his family and his dog Yola and enjoys nothing more than watching his two children discover the world.


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