If you’re not sure whether or not you’re ready to start investing your hard-earned cash, we’ve got some news for you.

Nobody’s ever truly “ready.”

Even the rock star investors that are raking in six-figures had to start somewhere, right? While some might be naturally more inclined to succeed in the marketers than others, the fact remains that the nagging feeling that you’re doing something wrong at the start of your investment journey is totally common.

That being said, there certainly are steps you can take to better set yourself up for success. While just about anyone can indeed get started with investing, a bit of planning and prepping can go a long way. Consider the following four-point checklist to prepare yourself both mentally and financially so you can get started sooner rather than later.

Figure Out Your Resources

First and foremost, you can’t listen to just anyone when it comes to the marketers. With so much noise out there in terms of investment advice, it’s crucial to instead follow those with proven track records rather than people who are simply parroting what everyone else is saying. Whether checking out industry staples like Investopedia or this SheCanTrade review for insights from market experts, doing your homework will take you a long way.

Bring Down Your Debt

You don’t necessarily need to be wealthy to start investing; however, you do need to mind your financial health before you begin. For example, you obviously shouldn’t invest any money that you don’t have, nor should you plan on investing much if you’re paying down existing debts. As a rule of thumb, never invest any money that you aren’t willing to lose.

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Do you have to be totally debt free, though? Not necessarily. That said, wiping down your debt should be a top priority to keep yourself from financial peril. Saving $10 and $15 here and there for investments can add up big over time, after all. Time spent fixing your spending habits and wiping out your existing debts will inevitably give you more wiggle room with your investment budget and give you more peace of mind financially.

Determine Your Social Support System

Despite popular belief, investors don’t necessarily need to be lone wolves.

In fact, it often helps to have support from friends and family when you get started with trades and stocks. Not only does talking out your decisions help you from doing anything rash, but also makes your investment journey seem a bit less lonely. Similarly, you never who you might know in your personal network to provide some tips and insight. As a caveat, remember that investment decisions shouldn’t be based on emotion, but rather hard numbers.

Maintain Realistic Expectations

Let’s be honest: most new investors stumble when they first start out. Once you accept that you’re not going to become a millionaire overnight and approach investing cautiously, you put yourself way ahead of the game. Level-headed, consistent investing is a sustainable strategy for newcomers: blindly throwing cash around is not.

There’s plenty to consider prior to investing, isn’t there? With this four-point checklist in mind, you can go into the game with a sense of confidence by knowing that you aren’t getting in over your head.

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