Most financial experts agree that the best time to start investing in stocks is when you're young and have time to wait out the downturns and take full advantage of compounding. But it's not easy to know where to start.
That might explain why just 26 percent of Americans under age 30 are now investing in the stock market, according to a recent survey by Bankrate.com. Compare that with 58 percent of people between ages 50 and 64 who invest.
Sure, the fact that boomers are older may explain some of the difference. But age isn't the only factor. In a recent study, millennials said that a lack of financial knowledge makes them less confident about investing. And a lack of information was the number two reason respondents of every age in the Bankrate survey gave for avoiding the market (the other was a lack of money).
Here's what you should know before you invest so you can make the most of your money.