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Investing for Beginners: The Texan's Guide to Building Wealth

 Investing for Beginners Houston

As Texans navigate the complexities of the modern financial landscape, building wealth and achieving financial security have become increasingly important goals. Despite facing unique challenges, such as economic fluctuations, debt and rising living costs, Texans have the potential to harness the power of investing to secure their financial future. This comprehensive guide aims to empower Texans with the knowledge, strategies and mindset needed to overcome obstacles and embark on a successful investing journey.

The Wealth Gap in Texas: A Deep Dive into Statistics and Challenges

investing for beginners

Millennials hold only 4.6% of the total wealth in America, amounting to $5.19 trillion, while baby boomers hold 53.2% or $59.96 trillion - 10 times more wealth than millennials. The median net worth of millennials at age 40 is $91,000, compared to $113,000 for boomers at the same age. Additionally, only 49% of millennials owned homes at age 35, compared to 62% of boomers. Moreover, 14% of millennials had a negative net worth at age 35, meaning their debts outweighed their assets, compared to 8.7% of boomers.

Challenges Faced by Millennials

Economic Events: Millennials were hit hard by the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, facing layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs early in their careers, stunting their wealth accumulation.

Student Loan Debt: The cost of college has significantly increased, with millennials paying $24,600 per year compared to $10,300 for boomers, leading to higher student loan debt burdens.

Housing Costs: The median cost of a home is $328,000 for millennials compared to $216,000 for boomers at the same age, making homeownership more difficult.

Career Paths: A smaller percentage of millennials (7.3%) transitioned into prestigious high-paying professions like law and medicine compared to boomers (17%), with more millennials in lower-paying service sector jobs.

Delayed Milestones: Millennials tend to delay marriage, parenthood, and homeownership, prolonging their stay at their parental homes, which can impact wealth accumulation.

The Power of Starting Early: How Compounding and Time in the Market Build Wealth

Power of Compounding 

Compounding allows your investments to generate earnings not only on the initial principal but also on the accumulated earnings over time, creating a multiplying effect on wealth accumulation. The earlier you start investing, the more time your money has to benefit from compounding, leading to exponential growth over the long run. Even modest investments can grow substantially through compounding if given enough time.

For example, investing $100 per month at a 4% annual return can grow to nearly $50,000 over 25 years. 

Time in the Market 

Time in the market is more important than timing the market or the amount invested initially. Starting early, even with smaller contributions, can result in significantly more wealth compared to investing larger amounts later in life due to compounding over a longer period.

For instance, investing $12,000 per year for 10 years starting at age 23 and then letting it compound for 22 more years could make someone a millionaire by age 54, assuming 8% annual returns.

In contrast, someone starting at age 33 would need to invest $20,000 per year for 17 years to reach $1 million by age 54, contributing over three times more principal. 

These examples and illustrations clearly demonstrate the immense power of compounding and the advantage of starting to invest early in life. Even small contributions can grow exponentially over time, emphasizing the importance of beginning your investment journey as soon as possible to maximize the benefits of compounding and time in the market. 

The Psychological Barriers to Investing and How to Overcome Them

Investing can be challenging as it involves navigating complex financial markets and managing emotions effectively. Psychological barriers often hinder investors from making rational and objective decisions, leading to suboptimal outcomes. Here are some common psychological barriers to investing and strategies to overcome them: 

Overconfidence Bias 

Investors may overestimate their abilities and knowledge, leading to excessive risk-taking or holding onto losing positions for too long. To mitigate this, investors should remain humble, continuously educate themselves and seek professional advice when needed. 

Loss Aversion 

The fear of losses can be more powerful than the desire for gains, causing investors to hold onto losing investments or miss out on opportunities. Setting predetermined stop-loss levels and maintaining a diversified portfolio can help manage risk and overcome loss aversion. 

Herd Mentality 

Investors may follow the crowd, buying or selling based on popular trends rather than their own analysis. Developing and sticking to a well-researched investment strategy can prevent succumbing to herd mentality. 

Emotional Investing 

Emotions like fear, greed and excitement can cloud judgment and lead to impulsive decisions. Maintaining a disciplined approach, setting clear investment goals and avoiding reactive decisions can help manage emotions. 

Anchoring Bias  

Investors may become anchored to a specific price or value, failing to adjust their expectations as new information becomes available. Regularly reviewing and updating investment theses can help overcome anchoring bias. 

Strategies to Overcome Psychological Barriers in Investing

1. Develop Self-Awareness:

Recognizing your own biases and emotional tendencies is the first step toward overcoming psychological barriers. 

2. Maintain a Long-Term Perspective:

Focusing on long-term goals rather than short-term market fluctuations can help avoid impulsive decisions. 

3. Seek Professional Guidance:

Working with a financial advisor can provide objective advice and help manage emotions during turbulent times. 

4. Implement Risk Management Strategies:

Diversification, asset allocation and stop-loss orders can help mitigate the impact of psychological biases. 

5. Continuous Education:

Staying informed about market dynamics, investment strategies and behavioral finance can enhance decision-making abilities. 

6. Maintain a Trading Journal:

Documenting investment decisions, rationales and outcomes can help identify patterns and areas for improvement. 

By acknowledging and actively addressing psychological barriers, investors can cultivate a more disciplined and rational approach to investing, increasing their chances of long-term success in the financial markets. 

Budgeting for Investing

Budgeting for investing can be challenging for in the current economic climate with high inflation rates and the rising cost of living. Here's an overview of the key factors and strategies to consider: 

Current Inflation Rates 

The annual inflation rate in the U.S. was 4.9% as of April 2023, down from a peak of 9.1% in June 2022 but still well above the Federal Reserve's 2% target. High inflation erodes purchasing power and makes it harder to save and invest as expenses for essentials like housing, food and transportation take up a larger portion of income. 

Average Millennial Income and Expenses 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median millennial household pretax income was $71,566 in 2020. However, a study found that millennials spend an average of $208.77 per day, which amounts to $5,845.56 per month, nearly equal to their median income. Major expenses like rent (an average of $1,584 for a studio and $1,636 for a one-bedroom) and student loan debt can strain millennial budgets. 

Budgeting Tools

Free budgeting tools like an Excel sheet template can help you track your income, expenses, and spending patterns, making it easier to create and stick to a budget. These templates offer features like categorizing expenses, setting spending limits and visualizing progress toward financial goals.

You can download a free budgeting Excel template here.

Strategies for Budgeting to Invest 

Track Expenses Diligently: Use budgeting tools to identify areas where you can cut back on non-essential spending and redirect those funds towards investing. 

Prioritize High-Interest Debt: Focus on paying off high-interest debt, such as credit cards, before allocating funds to investing, as the interest rates often exceed potential investment returns. 

Automate Investments: Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to investment accounts, treating them like a recurring bill to ensure consistent contributions. 

Increase Income Streams: Consider side gigs, freelancing or monetizing skills to supplement your primary income and allocate the extra funds towards investing. 

Take Advantage of Employer-Sponsored Plans: Contribute to employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k)s, especially if your employer offers matching contributions, which is essentially free money. 

By carefully tracking expenses, prioritizing debt repayment and exploring various budgeting tools and strategies, you can create a solid financial foundation and allocate funds towards long-term investing goals despite the challenges posed by high inflation and the rising cost of living. 

Get Debt-Free First: Explore Consolidation Options Before You Invest 

Debt management is a crucial aspect of financial well-being. Understanding current interest rates, debt consolidation options and expert advice on prioritizing debt repayment can help individuals make informed decisions and take control of their financial situation. 

Current Interest Rates 

- The average interest rate on credit card debt is currently around 20.4% as of May 2024. 

- Personal loan interest rates range from around 6% to 36% depending on credit score and other factors. 

- Mortgage rates for a 30-year fixed-rate loan are currently around 6.5%, while rates for a 15-year fixed-rate loan are around 5.7%. 
Debt Consolidation Options 

Balance Transfer Credit Cards: These cards offer 0% introductory APR periods typically ranging from 12 to 21 months, allowing you to transfer high-interest debt and pay it off interest-free during the promotional period. 

Personal Loans: Unsecured personal loans can be used to consolidate various types of debt, such as credit cards, medical bills and other unsecured loans. Interest rates are generally lower than credit cards but depend on your credit score. 

Home Equity Loans or Lines of Credit: If you have equity in your home, you can use it as collateral to secure a loan or line of credit with potentially lower interest rates than unsecured options. 

PrimeWay provides one of the best loan consolidation rates in Houston and the surrounding area. You can check the information here.

Expert Advice on Prioritizing Debt Repayment 

Highest Interest Rate First: Focus on paying off debts with the highest interest rates first, as they accrue interest the fastest and cost the most over time. This approach, known as the debt avalanche, can save you money in the long run. 

Debt Snowball Method: If motivation is a concern, consider the debt snowball method, where you pay off the smallest debts first, regardless of interest rate. This can provide a psychological boost and build momentum. 

Seek Professional Guidance: If your debt situation is complex or overwhelming, consider seeking guidance from a PrimeWay financial advisor. They can provide personalized advice and help you develop a comprehensive debt repayment plan. 

Address Underlying Issues: While consolidating debt can provide relief, it's essential to address the underlying behaviors or circumstances that led to debt accumulation in the first place. 

Prioritize Necessities: When budgeting for debt repayment, prioritize essential expenses like housing, food and utilities before allocating funds towards debt payments. 

By understanding current interest rates, exploring debt consolidation options and following expert advice on prioritizing debt repayment, you can take proactive steps towards achieving financial stability and freedom from debt burden. 

Consolidation Loan


Emergency Fund: Your Safety Net Before Investing   

An emergency fund is a crucial financial safety net that provides a buffer against unexpected expenses or income disruptions. Here are the key points regarding the importance of an emergency fund and how much to target: 

Importance of an Emergency Fund

Protects Against Financial Shocks: An emergency fund helps you weather financial storms such as job loss, medical emergencies, home repairs or car troubles without going into debt or depleting your retirement savings.

Provides Peace of Mind: Having a dedicated emergency fund can give you peace of mind and reduce stress, knowing that you have a financial cushion to fall back on during difficult times.

Prevents Debt Accumulation: Without an emergency fund, you may be forced to rely on high-interest credit cards or loans to cover unexpected expenses, leading to a cycle of debt.

Preserve Long-Term Goals: An emergency fund helps protect your long-term financial goals, such as retirement savings or investments, from being disrupted by short-term financial setbacks.

Target Amount for an Emergency Fund  

While the ideal amount may vary based on individual circumstances, most financial experts recommend saving enough to cover 3 to 6 months' worth of living expenses. Here are some guidelines: 

Minimum Target: Aim for at least $2,000 or half a month's living expenses to cover smaller emergencies or spending shocks. 

Recommended Target: Save 3 to 6 months' worth of living expenses to prepare for potential job loss or extended income disruptions. 

Factors to Consider: Your target amount should take into account your job stability, income variability, family size and potential for large unexpected expenses (e.g., medical bills). 

Gradual Approach: If the recommended target seems daunting, start small and gradually build up your emergency fund over time by setting aside a portion of each paycheck. 

By prioritizing the establishment of an emergency fund and setting a realistic target amount based on your individual circumstances, you can better protect yourself from financial emergencies and maintain financial stability in the face of unexpected challenges. 

From Spending to Wealth: A Mindset Shift Guide

Investing for Beginners Texas

The transition from a spending mindset to a saving and investing mindset is a crucial step toward building long-term wealth. Here are some key points and case studies that illustrate this mindset shift: 

Importance of the Mindset Shift 

Delayed Gratification: Shifting from spending to saving and investing requires delaying gratification and prioritizing future financial security over immediate consumption. 

Wealth Accumulation: By redirecting funds from discretionary spending towards savings and investments, individuals can harness the power of compound interest and grow their wealth over time. 

Financial Independence: A saving and investing mindset can lead to financial independence, where passive income from investments can eventually cover living expenses. 

To facilitate this mindset shift, it's essential to: 

  • Develop a budget and track expenses to identify areas for potential savings.
  • Automate contributions to savings and investment accounts to make it a habit.
  • Educate yourself on personal finance and investment strategies. 
  • Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who prioritize saving and investing. 
  • Celebrate small wins and milestones along the journey to stay motivated. 

By adopting a saving and investing mindset, millennials can take control of their financial future and unlock the path to long-term wealth and financial freedom. 

Your Guide to Investment Options  

Here is an overview of the key investment options for beginners, covering current trends, performance metrics and considerations: 


When you buy stocks, you are purchasing a piece of ownership in a company. If the company performs well, the value of your stocks may increase, and you could receive dividends (a portion of the company's profits). However, if the company faces challenges or the overall market declines, your stock value may decrease.

Before investing in stocks, research the company's financial stability, growth potential, and the industry it operates in. Consider your risk tolerance; some stocks are more volatile than others. Determine your investment timeline, as stocks are generally better suited for long-term growth.

Diversifying your stock portfolio across different companies and industries can help manage risk. You can invest in individual stocks or through stock mutual funds or ETFs for broader exposure.


Bonds are typically considered less risky than stocks, as they provide a predictable stream of income through regular interest payments. When a bond matures, you receive your principal back.

Consider the creditworthiness of the bond issuer; government bonds are generally considered safer than corporate bonds. Look at the bond's credit rating, interest rate and maturity date. Longer-term bonds usually offer higher interest rates but are more sensitive to interest rate changes.

Bonds can be a good choice for investors seeking steady income and lower risk. However, they may not provide the same potential for capital appreciation as stocks.

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) and Mutual Funds:   

ETFs and mutual funds offer instant diversification by investing in a basket of securities, such as stocks or bonds. This can help spread risk and reduce the impact of any single investment's performance on your portfolio.

When choosing funds, consider the fund's investment objective (growth, income or a blend), the fund manager's experience, and the expense ratio (the annual fees charged by the fund). Look at the fund's historical performance, but remember that past performance doesn't guarantee future results.

 ETFs trade like stocks and can be bought and sold throughout the day, while mutual fund transactions are processed at the end of each trading day. ETFs often have lower expense ratios than actively managed mutual funds.

Real Estate:

Investing in real estate can provide the potential for rental income, long-term appreciation and diversification from stocks and bonds. You can invest directly by purchasing properties or indirectly through Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), which are companies that own and manage income-generating real estate.

When evaluating a real estate investment, consider the location, property condition, potential rental income and expenses (e.g., mortgage, property taxes, insurance and maintenance). Also, factor in your ability to manage the property or the quality of the REIT's management team.

Real estate can be illiquid, meaning it may take time to sell a property. REITs offer more liquidity but are subject to market fluctuations. Real estate values can be influenced by local market conditions, interest rates, and economic factors.


Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, are digital assets that use blockchain technology for secure transactions. They are highly speculative and known for their extreme price swings.

Before investing in cryptocurrencies, understand the technology behind them and the specific cryptocurrency's use case. Be aware that the regulatory landscape, such as governments' stances on cryptocurrencies, can change.

Cryptocurrencies are vulnerable to hacking, fraud and market manipulation. They lack the backing of a central authority and can be influenced by sentiment and media coverage. Only invest what you can afford to lose, and store your cryptocurrency in a secure digital wallet.

As a beginner, start by defining your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. Consider building a diversified portfolio with a mix of assets that aligns with your objectives. Educate yourself on the investments you're considering, and don't hesitate to seek guidance from a financial professional. Remember to regularly review and rebalance your portfolio as your circumstances change.

When evaluating investment options, it's crucial to consider historical performance during market downturns like the dot-com bubble burst, the 2008 financial crisis and the pandemic-driven volatility. Diversification across asset classes and a long-term investment horizon can help mitigate risks and weather market cycles. 

Building Your Investment Portfolio 

Building an investment portfolio tailored to your individual goals, risk tolerance and time horizon is crucial for long-term success. Here are some key considerations: 

Risk Tolerance Assessment Questionnaire for Texans

Before investing your hard-earned money, it's smart to figure out how much risk you can handle. This is like checking the weather before going out—you want to know if you need an umbrella or a jacket. A risk tolerance assessment is a quick quiz that helps you understand how comfortable you are with the market's ups and downs. Knowing this helps you pick investments that won't make you lose sleep at night and keep you on track to reach your financial goals. 

Question Possible Answers Explanation
What is your primary source of income? Employment, Investments, Retirement Income, Other This helps understand your income stability and diversity.
How comfortable are you with the idea of potential loss in your investment? Very Uncomfortable, Uncomfortable, Neutral, Comfortable, Very Comfortable This gauges your emotional resilience to potential financial losses.
Would you prefer a steady return with lower growth or a higher return with more risk? Steady Return, Higher Return This reveals your preference for stability versus growth in your investments.
How diversified are your current investments? Not Diversified, Somewhat Diversified, Diversified, Very Diversified Diversification can help mitigate risk, so this question assesses your current risk level.
What is your experience with investing in volatile markets? No Experience, Limited Experience, Some Experience, Extensive Experience This assesses your past experience with market fluctuations and volatile investments.
How important is it for you to achieve your financial goals within a specific timeframe? Not Important, Somewhat Important, Important, Very Important This reveals your urgency for achieving financial goals and may influence your willingness to take risks for faster growth.
How do you feel about actively managing your investments? Prefer Not To, Somewhat Willing, Willing, Eager Active management can involve higher risks, so this indicates your comfort level with that approach.
Do you have any significant financial obligations or expenses coming up in the near future? Yes, No This helps determine if you need readily available funds and whether you can afford to tie up money in riskier investments.
What is your age? Under 30, 30-45, 45-60, Over 60 Younger investors typically have a longer time horizon and can tolerate more risk.
Have you ever sought professional financial advice? Yes, No This can reveal your willingness to seek guidance and potentially influence your investment decisions.

Asset Allocation 
Balancing Risk and Reward: Asset allocation involves dividing your portfolio among different asset classes (stocks, bonds, cash, etc.) based on your risk tolerance and investment timeline. Generally, younger investors with longer time horizons can take on more risk by allocating a higher percentage to stocks, while older investors nearing retirement may shift towards a more conservative mix with more bonds and fixed-income investments. 

Classic Portfolio Models: Traditional models like the 60/40 portfolio (60% stocks, 40% bonds) or age-based rules like subtracting your age from 100 to determine your stock allocation can serve as starting points but should be tailored to your specific circumstances. 

Diversification is crucial for managing risk and reducing the impact of any single investment on your overall portfolio. It involves spreading your investments across different asset classes, sectors, geographic regions and investment styles.  
Tax-Advantaged Accounts 

Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) and 401(k)s: These retirement accounts offer tax advantages that can significantly boost your long-term returns. Contributing to a 401(k) with an employer match is essentially free money, while traditional IRAs offer tax-deductible contributions, and Roth IRAs provide tax-free growth and withdrawals in retirement. 

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): If you have a high-deductible health plan, an HSA can provide a triple tax advantage – contributions are tax-deductible, growth is tax-free and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses are also tax-free. 

Texas Investors: Best Investment Strategy

Here are some key investing strategies that beginners can consider, along with relevant details and expert perspectives: 

Dollar-Cost Averaging 

Explanation: Dollar-cost averaging involves investing a fixed amount at regular intervals (e.g., monthly or quarterly) regardless of market conditions. This approach helps remove the emotional aspect of trying to time the market. 

Benefits: It reduces the risk of investing a lump sum at a market peak and allows investors to take advantage of market dips by automatically buying more shares when prices are lower. Over time, this can lead to a lower average cost per share. 

Avoiding Common Investing Mistakes 

1. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Don't chase hot stocks or trends just because everyone else is doing it. Stick to your investment strategy and risk tolerance. 

2. Panic Selling: Avoid making rash decisions based on short-term market fluctuations or negative news. Panic selling can lock in losses and derail your long-term plans. 

3. Following the Herd: Don't blindly follow the crowd or invest based on popular opinion. Conduct your own research and make informed decisions. 

By staying informed through credible sources, avoiding common investing mistakes, regularly reviewing and rebalancing your portfolio and learning from successful investors who have adapted to market changes, you can position yourself for long-term investment success in a dynamic and ever-changing market environment. 


Building wealth is a lifelong journey filled with challenges and opportunities. Approach it with a growth mindset, recognizing that you will learn and adapt along the way. Remain resilient in the face of market volatility and remember that time is your greatest ally. 

As you embark on this journey, keep in mind that true wealth extends beyond financial assets. It encompasses the freedom to pursue your passions, the ability to support causes you care about and the legacy you leave for future generations. 

Embrace the journey, stay committed to your goals and trust in the power of disciplined investing and financial planning. With determination and a long-term perspective, you can unlock the path to financial security and create a life of abundance and fulfillment. 

Investing for Beginners: The Texan's Guide to Building Wealth

Don't know where to start investing? This guide is for you! Learn the fundamentals of investing. This guide helps Houstonians and Texans make informed decisions on investing based on financial experts' advice and start building your wealth today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I invest?

Investing can help you grow your wealth over time, preserve the purchasing power of your money against inflation, and achieve your financial goals.

What are the different types of investments? 

Common types of investments include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), real estate, commodities, and currencies.

How long should I hold my investments?

The holding period for investments depends on your financial goals, risk tolerance, and market conditions. In general, long-term investing (holding investments for several years or decades) is considered a more reliable strategy for wealth-building than short-term trading. 

Are you looking to consolidate your debt before you start investing?

Check out our debt consolidation loan. If you'd like more information, contact a PrimeWay Financial Representative today!

Author Bio

Laurie Masera Garza

Laurie is a digital marketing and social media maven who has more than 15 years of interactive multi-media experience under her belt. When she is not rocking the social media atmosphere, Laurie loves to find Houston’s hidden dining gems, but ask her about tacos. She loves tacos. In her spare time, Laurie loves creating, whether its art or memories.

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