This story is part of CNBC Make It's One-Minute Money Hacks series, which provides easy, straightforward tips and tricks to help you understand your finances and take control of your money.
While cryptocurrencies, meme stocks and other buzzy financial products have captured the attention of many young investors, financial experts warn that they shouldn't come at the expense of other, more traditional investments.
They're popular, in part, because they seem like a way to get rich quick. But there's no exciting, easy trick that will suddenly turn you into a millionaire — otherwise, everyone would be one. For most people, boring financial strategies work best.
Take investing for retirement as one example. While there are countless strategies, funds and stocks to invest in, research has shown, over and over again, that a plain vanilla approach is often the best.
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Investing consistently in low-cost index funds has helped average people build wealth over time. These all-in-one funds expose investors to an entire index, such as the S&P 500, for an affordable price. While gains are not guaranteed, this passive investment strategy has outperformed active management for at least the past 10 years.
Contrast that with day trading, which is more popular than ever thanks to low-cost platforms such as Robinhood that make buying and selling stocks as easy as swiping on a dating app. While some financial companies position easy trades as finally giving the average person the ability to do what wealthy people have been able to do for decades, research shows that investors are much more likely to lose money day trading long term than they are likely to profit.
Why is that? Simply, because humans are terrible at picking the right investments at the right time. Investing in an index and leaving it alone takes emotion and poor decision-making out of the equation. It's not necessarily exciting, but it might be better for your bottom line.
That can be applied to other financial areas as well: Budgeting, saving, not accruing debt. Complicated strategies and newfangled products that charge users to do basic things likely aren't necessary for many people. Typically, the simplest strategy is the best one.
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- Use the 10% rule to figure out how much money to spend on your car payment: Here's how to calculate it