Before you are ready to invest you should have already done the following:
All debt (except your mortgage) paid off
Have a fully funded Emergency Fund in place - 3 months worth of expenses if you are employed. Up to 6 months worth of expenses if you are self-employed. Having this in place gives you financial breathing room and can help you when life throws some curve balls your way. i.e. COVID. not many people have an emergency fund in place so do yourself a favor and get this done first.
Ok moving on. Now before you are ready to invest it's worthwhile to keep the following points in mind:
Know what game you are playing. Investing is playing the long-game. Some other people are not playing the same game such as traders and speculators. Time in the market counts and NOT timing the market. Investing is actually kind of boring in that regard. Be patient because the less you do the better.
Investing & Speculating are two different things. Investing is not trying to make a quick profit by buying and selling. This is a different game. Refer to first point.
Ask as many questions as possible. It doesn’t matter if it feels silly, just ask. Most people like to assume. Don’t do that.
Don't forget about tax! Having a tax-free Investment account will work well. The less tax you pay the better. Investment Retirement accounts will also offer tax-deduction incentives.
Be mindful of Fees. Index funds and ETFs are really cheap. Mutual Funds can be expensive. Some are worth it. Some are not. Look out for Admin fees, platform fees, transaction fees etc. Fees erode performance.
You can’t control the market. Get over it. The only thing you can control is your savings rate.
Your investment success will have more to do with how you behave around your investments then what you know. Its not what you know that counts, its what you actually end up doing that counts. Staying the course and investing for the long-term is harder than you think especially when we are confronted with negative news etc. Stick to your investment goals and don't sell out prematurely.
Dr. Daniel Crosby said: “If you’re excited about an investment, it’s probably a bad idea.” Our emotions will drive our investment decisions. Be mindful of this. People get into alot of trouble when we are led by our emotions especially when it comes to money. Refer to previous point as well.
And that's it for now. Keep the above points in mind when you are ready to invest. Also keep referring to them often especially when you are looking at your quarterly statements! Expectations can run high. Stay grounded.
Best of luck and let the empowerment begin!