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Four common mistakes investors make

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

Investing is hard.

Even for the pros.

So here are four simple ideas to keep in mind whether you’ve never invested, just started investing, or are a seasoned pro.

The first mistake a lot of people make is almost too obvious to say: not investing!

Saving and investing for retirement is about giving yourself time.

Time for money to grow, to accumulate, and to work for you. The earlier and more often you start saving for retirement, the better off you’ll be.

The second big mistake people make when investing is obsess over it. A retirement account is not a website to bookmark and check often. The daily fluctuations of financial markets are often big and can be scary. They can also make investors feel like they are missing out and change their plans accordingly.

In the long run though, any one day cannot make or break your retirement if you’ve got a plan in place.

Which leads us to the third investing mistake to avoid: panicking.

Markets can, and do, and will go down. Sometimes for years. But a well-designed investment plan will assume these events happen. Changing your plan along way in a moment of panic will make these bad events even worse.

Remember: a good plan assumes things will go wrong. Do not let the heat of the moment make you forget this.

And the fourth mistake to avoid is stay away from guarantees. Nothing in the investing world is certain, and anyone promising you any different is not telling you the whole truth.

In the end, successful investing is about being patient, having a plan, and sticking to it. It is not about betting on some promise and hoping it comes true.

And ultimately, like life, investing is about not getting too high, not getting too low, and keeping things in perspective.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

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