The short answer to the first question – should i start investing now – is yes.
The reasons are simple.
Markets in the US and some other areas have always gone up big time long-term.
Therefore, the safest and most profitable way to invest for decades.
You will have good and bad times, but the averages should be fine.
Investing these days is even more important than 10–20 years ago as you can no longer even beat inflation keeping the money in the bank. That is a guaranteed loss and that situation will only get worse now with 0% interest rates and Quantitative easing after coronavirus.
In terms of what you should invest in, the safest way is to be as globally diversified as possible.
Indexes like the S&P 500, MSCI World and a global bond index are safer than a niche position in specific country.
If you want to go for something aggressive, a Nasdaq ETF is likely to do well long-term, but will be extremely volatile.
What is important is to increase your government bond allocation as you age.
90%-100% in stock indexes makes sense when you are 20, 30 or even 40.
When you are 5–10 years away from retirement, you need to increase that, as bonds don’t pay much, but they outperform when stocks are down.
The key thing is not how to do it literally, which is easy, but how to do it productively.
Most people panic sell when markets are down like in 2008 or in March 2020, which is why many people need emotional helps.
There is quote for the founder of Vanguard, the late John Bogle, about this point.
“People came into index funds in the 90s bull market, only to sell in 2000 when markets went down and again in 2008.”
In March 2020, yet again and unsurprisingly, people panicked.
Since March 2020, till today, S&P 500 is up 50%.
So, only do it by yourself if you are sure you can stomach huge market swings, up and down.
An incredible statistic to illustrate this point:
“The accounts of dead people perform better than the living.”
Why? The dead don’t get emotional.
So the thing with investing isn’t to have loads of knowledge about investing only.
You need to understand how to control emotions which is easier said than done.