(listen to this page – coming soon)
I first became interested in investing when I was around 12 years old. I had a teacher who had traveled the world and taught us about global currency exchange and stock trading. He had us run stock market simulations on a now defunct website, and we had a competition for who would have the best performance by the end of the class.
I would continue to follow some of my favorite companies. I’d read articles about those companies, and found that I’d disagree with some of the analysis. One of my favorite video game companies, for instance, was being proclaimed by some analysts to be doomed. But really, I found that the company was simply more concerned with creating fun, innovative experiences, rather than doing what everyone else was doing. And I thought that would pay off. I thought that their characters, stories, and dedication to the player experience would continue to be timeless. After a year or so, that idea began to play out, and the stock started to soar from where it’d fallen. Headlines became much more optimistic and suddenly, things weren’t so hopeless.
This taught me something that I think is very valuable. Not to trust commentary at face value, but to do my own research and stick to my convictions. It also made me want to put my own money into the stock market, rather than remain watching on the sidelines.
While the website I used for practice no longer exists, more have come in its stead. If you’d like to try practicing on the stock market without the risk of putting in money, you could try out a simulator. I found that Investopedia has one available here (third party link). I haven’t used Investopedia’s service myself, but I have found that simulations were a key part of my learning journey, and they may be for you as well. There’s also multiple brokerages that offer paper trading, which is likewise simulation rather than using actual money. I have write ups on multiple brokerages that we can discuss later.
The next big part for me was education. It took me time before I realized I wanted to learn more about business in a formal setting, but once I did, I started taking classes in an international business degree path. I learned about economics, business fundamentals, and accounting in a community college, often taught by state university professors. Not everyone can afford college, however. And that’s where I’ve really appreciated free resources that are readily available.
I have used a non-profit, Khan Academy (third party link), which offers a variety of learning content that I find to be great as a refresher and for totally new learners as well. I’ve also donated to them, because I really believe in their mission to provide a free, world‑class education for anyone, anywhere.
Really cool stuff. Here’s some of my favorite subjects (all third party links)!
Within these subjects are courses like these (all third party links):
What it means to buy a company’s stock
Three core financial statements
I really found all of these subjects to be key in being able to research my favorite companies and to make good investment decisions. There’s plenty of people out there, what I consider social finance influencers, that may say they know the next big thing and the path to millions. There’s support for certain types of investments, like particular companies, or anticipation building around certain cryptocurrencies, and it’s easy to join the bandwagon. But I’ve found when I follow group sentiment, I often fall flat on my face. When I instead do my own research and really take the commitment to understand what I’m doing, I find that I generally succeed in the long term. And that’s another key part: long-term. Let’s talk more about that next.
(Content coming soon!)