Hi Atty. Jill!
I stumbled upon your blog through Lianne's blog, and I've been backreading through your blog. Your journey to financial stability and freedom is truly inspiring. You present the struggles and rewards of frugality and investing in a very relatable manner.
I am a 20-something government employee, and I would like to start investing, but I don't know where to start, or which investment product is right for me. Right now, I am thinking of two options: (1) opening an EIP account at CitiSecOnline, and (2) opening a balanced fund from a reputable bank (BPI probably, because that's where I bank, but I'm also trying to explore BDO's EIP). I am also considering FAMI-SALEF since I read it in your blog. Which can you recommend? I hope you can help me. I don't have the technical knowledge for trading, but I have a bit of an idea about financial management through online articles and free seminars.
When it comes to investing I always recommend that you first have an emergency fund tucked away (about 5-8 months worth of your expenses), or are at least regularly adding to your emergency fund, because investing in the money market can be very risky and if you have no buffer, then you may find yourself pulling out your investments at a big loss.
With that in place, you should then assess what your risk profile is vis-a-vis your goal with investing. As a 20 something, you have time at your side so you can afford to invest in riskier investments since you'll have more than enough time to ride the ups and downs of the market. Personally, I prefer investing a regular amount monthly in an equity mutual fund (FAMI-SALEF) because it's a no-brainer, effortless act on my part. I also have some money in stocks, but that takes a little more effort and I'm still very much in the trial and error stage.
If you do intend to invest in stocks, I highly recommend subscribing to Bo Sanchez's Truly Rich Club for a few months because he basically spoonfeeds his subscribers on what stocks to buy and when to sell. After a few months, you can choose to opt out of TRC and just rely on COL Financial's recommendations because TRC also bases its stock picks from that list, except that TRC has a leaner list (think 10 stocks versus COL's 50 or more).
I hope I was able to help! Happy investing! :)