As we've developed GoalMine, our investing platform for the underserved, one of the biggest concerns we've heard from other people is risk. Why, they want to know, would we encourage the underserved to put their money in mutual funds? Aren't we worried they could lose money?
We definitely hear where they're coming from. Especially with the performance of the stock market over the last few years, concerns about risk aren't unfounded. But we think those concerns overlook an even bigger, more prevalent risk: that of not building wealth over the long run. Asset poverty is a huge problem in this country — in fact, 50% of Americans say they are only one month or less away from not being able to meet their financial obligations if they were to lose their job.
"Risk free" savings accounts are often viewed as the preferred place for the underserved and underbanked to store their money. But low interest yields on most savings products offer little more than a safe place to store money — not build assets for the long-term.
We believe investing is one of the best ways for anyone — including the underserved — to build wealth. Of course, we're not saying people should put their rent money and next Christmas's savings there. But it is wise to have some money in the stock market. Market returns, though volatile in the short run, have consistently risen over time. Moreover, sticking to several time-honored investing principles can reduce risk even further: Start early. Invest small amounts. Invest consistently over a long period of time.
Savings is great, and we should all do it. But it's a disservice to the underserved to suggest they remain limited to savings. Investing — the real wealth engine — isn't just necessary. It's also prudent and responsible. And we'd like everyone to have the chance to participate.
CEO and co-founder
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