In my 20’s I learned a lot about investing and to be honest you never stop learning. Finance is truly an ever-changing industry and that’s always being challenged. That is probably one of the biggest lessons I want everyone to recognize. Don’t stick to the status quo when it comes to investing. Be willing to learn, to stay flexible, and unafraid to experiment in your youth. This is the best time in your life to listen, learn, and dip your feet into investing.
You Are Your Greatest Investment
When it comes to investing, the thing that pops into everyone’s head is the stock market and real estate. But the best life lesson I learned in my 20’s is that I am my greatest investment and biggest asset. The most difficult part of that lesson was that I had to start acting like it. In my youth, I focused on investing in myself through my education, experiences, and through mentorship.
The most valuable way that I started investing in myself was by self-educating myself about money. In my 20’s I started to seriously dig my nose into personal finance books, finance podcasts, and following the news. I know CNBC might sound like something your dad might watch. But get in the habit of consuming content of all kinds to staying up to date with what is going on with the world. This will be a game-changer for you when investing and maneuvering in many areas of your life.
Start on a Solid Foundation
In my 20’s I learned that the best way to invest in yourself is to do it on a solid foundation. For me this was having an emergency fund and getting out of high-interest debt before investing in anything else. It’s very important to know that you have a back up plan just incase life wants to throw you a curve ball. In the beginning of my 20’s I had to deal with car problems, lack of housing, and a huge shortage of information. This lead me to lose confidence in myself and in my decision making. It wasn’t until I started budgeting, paying off debt, and utilizing my emergency savings that I was able to get some of that back. I want you to know that having a back up plan isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessary investment.
Invest in What You Know
To be honest, a lot of the systems in society are flawed and to get ahead you have to take some risk to see the reward. I personally am a non-risky individual, that’s why I would only take risks on large blue-chip companies that I use. You have to take the words of the great Warren Buffet, “Invest in what you know”. That is exactly what I still do when it comes to taking risks in the stock market. I invest only in the brands I see value in purchasing from, this way I feel comfortable taking the risk. A good way to figure out what you use is to look at your credit card or bank statement to see which companies your purchasing from. This will show you some of the companies you probably wouldn’t have considered or remembered.
Get an Investment Strategy
Instead of going crazy, get a clear game plan for your investments and create a strategy that works for you. Meaning that if your goal is to invest for retirement then one of your game plans could be the iconic “buy and hold” strategy. Now if your goal with investing is to create a passive income then dividend stocks or options trading might work for you. The most important part of your investment strategy is to decide on how you want to approach your investments. Don’t just jump into something you haven’t done an intense amount of googling or gotten professional advice for.
Diversify your Investments
In my youth, I learned that you need to diversify your investments. For my parents, they solely focused on investing in real estate for their retirement and for passive income. It was great that they diversified their real estate empire between a rental property and commercial use property, but once 2008 hit. They pretty much lost everything and so did a lot of people who put all their eggs into one type of investment. We have to get comfortable seeing other investment strategies to protect our investments from the unknown.
What I like about the stock market is that it provides different ways to diversify your investments strategically. You can invest in other people’s businesses by buying stock. You can also invest in your community by buying Municipal Bonds that can focus on building in your city. An examples of an investment strategy is investing in real estate passively by buying real estate investment trusts, REITS. This way you can diversify how involved you are in the investment and also add a level of risk-reduction to your real estate portfolio. The main point I want to share here is that their are many ways to invest strategically.
No-Risk, No Reward
In life you have to realize that in order to win you have to be willing to lose.
An unpopular life lesson about money is no-risk, no reward. In life you have to realize that in order to win you have to be willing to lose. This is one of the most honest pieces of advice you’ll ever get in personal finance. I learned that when it comes to free financial advice that you won’t find too much information on stocks. The reasoning behind this that no one wants to be held legal responsible for your loses and get sued. If you want to learn how to invest you have to choose to take on the risk of buying on a down day or buying on a high day.
This amount of risk is something most people don’t want to take on. So, I recommend getting more information on ETFs, Index Funds, and Target-Date Funds. Which are all great investments. But if you’re young and don’t have a lot of money to invest, then you might want to add some blue-chip stocks to the mix. I say this because as my index funds have grown at a nice and slow rate, my stocks have jumped at all-time highs. So, if you want to learn you have to position yourself to be able to take on the risk.
The Finance Industry is Ever-Changing
The Finance industry is a constantly changing industry with rebels challenging the traditional norms of money. A big shift that happened in the finance industry is a little investment company called Robinhood. They challenged the need to charge commissions for buying or selling stocks and created the process to buy portions of stocks. This is a game-changer for all new investors who are trying to get their piece of the pie. These are the innovations in tech that’s changing finance industry for the better. So, as millennials that have grown up with technology. These are the small opportunities that position us to easily adapt and take advantage of the new FinTech industry.
Be Aware of Fees
Now, you may be wondering what fees? I thought Robinhood changed the game and got all of the fees canceled? Nope. ETFs, Index Funds, Target-Date Funds, and Mutual Funds all have fees. Some types are known for having low fees like ETFs and Index Funds, but not all do. It’s important to be aware and double-check how much they’re charging to maintain those investments. The number one place most financial professionals go to get an insight into “everything” investing is MorningStart.com.
Stop Trying to Time the Market
One of the most natural and worst things you can do is try to time the market. This is when you try to predict when exactly to buy in and sell off to make maximum profits. The problem is that the stock markets algorithm doesn’t always do what we want it to and when we want it to. A lot of times the stock market is up when clearly the economy and businesses are doing horribly. Other times the stock market literally has a mind of its own and you could easily lose that bet. The best thing to do is dump this mindset of trying to time the market and invest consistently on a monthly basis.
The Stock Market doesn’t reflect the economy
Throughout every stock market corrections, recessions, and now pandemics, I’ve learned a lot. When I first learned about the stock market, I saw how harshly the economy was judged based on the stock market. You would see the news put a deep focus on if the stock market was up, bullish, or if it was down, bearish. I now understand that the stock market doesn’t solely reflect how the economy is doing. During the COVID pandemic, I saw first hand how tech companies didn’t get hammered like other stocks. The tech stocks ran the stock market positive, while the economy was crumbling. This made it very clear that the stock market affects the economy, but it isn’t the only sector that affects the economy.
When it comes to investing, learning the type of investment options is critical. But for a lot of us, that’s a quick google search away, it’s not something that can’t be researched. Now, these are just the top tips that I felt were big game changers for me in my 20’s. Investing is a never-ending lesson of ever-changing principles and strategies. I recommend keeping your eye peeled for the investing lessons I shared in this blog. I also, want you to share these tips with anyone who is trying to invest, no matter what age they are.