Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be an expert to start investing.

You don’t even need to be rich to invest, yet so many of us fail to get started managing our money because we’re intimidated or don’t know where to start.

But investing is crucial. Inflation lops an average 3.87% off your money’s value every year, and investments are one of the only ways to grow your money fast enough to outpace it.

Investing takes on many different forms — from contributing to a tax-advantaged retirement account to buying stocks and investing in mutual funds — and it’s up to you to decide where to put your money.

To help you navigate the field of investing, here are 12 basics to understand before diving in: