I love Finance and math. So it is pretty natural that I enjoy investing/trading in the financial markets. In this post, I’ll tell you a little about my background in the industry and then offer some simple, actionable advice for you to get started investing.
I’ve been trading for about 6 years now and I have hit most of the common pitfalls that the noob investor runs into when he/she doesn’t have a more experienced mentor. For the first year or two I was flying basically blind, with no help or guidance from anyone. I read blogs, went on YouTube, and tried my best to learn through books. But trial and error turned out to be the best teacher for me, and it also got me hooked on the markets.
I take a very systematic approach to my investing, with some easy to replicate steps that I think will work for you just as well as they work for me. Two of the most important quotes you need to remember are:
1) “Time in the market beats timing the market”
2) “Keep it Simple, Stupid.”
The correlation between effectiveness and simplicity is overwhelmingly positive in this business. That is not to say that more complex instruments are inherently bad, but not understanding them and then trying to leverage products that you don’t understand is extremely dangerous. For most people, taking the glacier approach to investing is the best. Here it is:
Invest a fixed percentage of income or dollar amount every month and stop worrying too much about the fluctuations. Over time, you will go very far and acquire much more than you ever expected, just like a glacier. If you try to dance around and pick the best time to buy or sell, you will get absolutely crushed like those little ice cubes that come out of the fridge.
Vanguard, the world’s largest money manager, did a study in which they calculated which of their customers performed the best over the past few decades. The best performers? Dead People. HAH! Dead people made more money than any other investing population. It makes mathematical sense too, the money just sits there and compounds on top of itself over many years.
BUT there is one advantage we have over dead people, (well maybe there are a few but we will keep it related to Finance for now) and that is that we can ADD money into our accounts every week, month, year, etc.
In any market (gold, corn, housing, stock, farmer’s, etc.) there will be some poor performing years, and there will be some incredible years, but by and large over the course of our lifetime the stock market will go up. This has been proven over the course of HUNDREDS of years. To think that “this year is different” would be terribly naive. In an investment sense, we are not special and our global troubles are not as bad as we perceive them to be. So get invested and stick to it in those bad years. Remember that the best performing investing population did SO WELL because they didn’t take any money out of their investments!
So how do you get started investing? It’s pretty easy, open an investment account with a brokerage firm like Robinhood (they are my go to recommendation because it is FREE to use!) and buy a low cost, total stock market index fund. You can’t go wrong with stock tickers “VOO” or “VTI”. They are “exchange traded funds” run by Vanguard and have some of the lowest expenses in investing history.
Use a tactic called “dollar cost averaging”, which basically means buying a certain dollar amount of shares every month. For example, if you invest $500 on the second Friday of every month, you will naturally be buying MORE shares when stocks go down because they are cheaper to buy! So you’re basically a pro now.
Keep investing month after month, year after year, and I promise you will call me in 20 years and offer to take me to a VERY fancy dinner. I like italian food, by the way!
I get requests every single day to write posts on more complicated topics like options, futures, forex, and even cryptocurrency trading. I love talking about those things and may roll out a paid structure where the people interested in that can get mentoring, a look into my trading, and my opinions on those different markets. But on the confines of this blog I will always try to keep my posts FREE, simple, and actionable to the point that literally anyone can pick it up. Finance shouldn’t be the cloud of confusion that it is for so many people, and I just want to do my small part in making that possible.
Don’t get scared off by the seemingly complicated world of investing, I try to equate it to driving a car. Do you know EXACTLY how your car’s transmission works? Or the suspension system? Maybe you do, but you don’t HAVE to know how the car works at the most detailed level to get yourself from point A to point B. I like to think of investing in the same way, you don’t need to know how to run a multifaceted discounted cash flow analysis to invest your money. Can you get that detailed? Yes, absolutely. Does it make you a better investor? Maybe, just like knowing how every little portion of your car works MIGHT make you a better or more efficient driver. In the end, just getting in the car and driving is the most important thing.
If you thought this was helpful, terrible, or somewhere in the middle, please leave me feedback in the form of a Direct Message on instagram @MakeDollarsAndSense, or feel free to send me an e-mail/text to the information on my Home Page. I truly appreciate constructive criticism and opposing views, so bring em on!
P.S. New blog posts coming your way every Monday!
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