Service has always been a part of my family. It wasn’t something we talked about. It wasn’t tokenized; it wasn’t manufactured. It wasn’t even referred to as service. (Saying it now makes me feel paternalistic). As a result, I’ve never cared much about money.

I’ve been distrustful of those with greater access to critical resources. I’ve been resentful of nepotism that’s led to unequal distributions of wealth, capital, and power. I’ve harbored resentment for institutions and organizations that have denied their privilege vis-à-vis wealth. But at the heart of it, I’ve never actually cared about money.

Lately I’ve been trying to harness more information as a means of having more joy. The strategy is this: 1) properly diagnose the problem (i.e. worry/stress over money), and then 2) properly identify the solution (i.e. create multiple streams of income).

I spent a few hours last night trying to understand investing. Prior to last night’s research, here’s what I understood:

  1. Stocks are little bite-sized parts of a company that you can purchase shares of and have a piece, like breakin’ off a piece of a Kit Kat bar or finding a solitary lego. 
  2. Bonds. Right… Um, bonds?
  3. You can buy and sell them.

Today I started making lists of all my questions on investing:

  1. Can anyone invest? Do you have to be a certain age? Can you invest in someone else’s name, like a child or a spouse? (Not that I want to, just asking).
  2. How much money do you need in order to invest? Can I invest with $25? $50? $100 if that’s all I can spare now?
  3. If I don’t have very much money, is there a smarter or better money management approach than buying stock? If so, what?
  4. How or where do I invest? Do I need to call someone and create an account? If so, how do I find someone reputable that I can trust (besides using Yelp)?
  5. Can I do it online without a broker? If so, what are the caveats?
  6. What are the “I wish I had known ______ before I started investing” Cliff’s notes?
  7. Before I start investing, what should I absolutely and completely understand?
  8. When is a bond better than stocks? What are the  benefits of having bonds?
  9. How do I know what stock is a good one? What resources will help me make smarter decisions?
  10. If I lose more than I have available in my investment account thingy, do they take it out of my checking account? Or do I just owe more in taxes?
  11. How are taxes calculated from any potential earnings? Is there a certain percentage I should set aside, like a contractor? How/where do I document any earnings, for tax purposes?
  12. How often do the best traders (is that what you call them?) buy and sell stocks to turn a profit? Every hour? Every day? Every fifteen minutes?
  13. Is there a worst time to invest? Is there a best time? How do you know?

Yesterday I learned that there’s an app called Robinhood that you can use to buy and trade stocks. The benefits most users cite are that you don’t have to pay commissions (fees) on the stocks that you buy and sell.

You can start investing with just $50 (I think less, too). You’re able to buy and sell stocks (but not all of them are available), and you can add stocks to your Watchlist. These are stocks you’re doing more research on, or ones that you can’t afford to buy now, but might be able to afford soon.

One investor recommended setting the amount you plan to use for investing, let’s say $100 to start, but only actually spending two-thirds of that. The other one-third you’d keep in your investment account thingy (like Robinhood) in case there are fluctuations in the market (i.e. you lose your money!).

Typically stock is more expensive if the company is more reputable or has a longer track record of success. An example would be Google or Amazon. You can do a simple search for stock prices, and this will allow you to see their growth and loss over fixed periods of time.

For example, Amazon stock currently costs $896.23 per share. Today its stock went down 0.68%. When you search for stock prices in Google, you can click on the 5 day, 1 month, 3 month, etc. tabs in order to see the growth/decline of your desired company over time. The chart shows that despite its losses today, stock prices over the past year have steadily increased.

Amazon

A stock that is less expensive might be cheaper because the company is lesser known, or is perhaps from an international source that hasn’t gained traction in the states, or because the leadership and business plan of the company are failing.

GoPro stock, for example, currently costs $8.69 per share (yeah! I can afford that! But maybe I shouldn’t…). gopro

He recommended seeking out a more experienced, competent friend or mentor if you have reservations about getting started. He also said you should commit to X amount of hours per week to spend on research or best practices, like a part-time job.

I’m excited to start! I have a list of to-dos, but I’ll let you know my progress. I’m also making a list of the resources I’m using to get started, the videos I’m watching, the articles I’m skimming, the books I’m reading, etc.

It’s a work in progress, but I’m trying. Join me! Help me! More to come.

What’s your strategy for developing passive income? What are your tips for investing? How do you conduct your research? What do you watch? What do you read? What should newbies (like me) avoid? 

3 thoughts on “Day 5, Week 17: What I Know Now (Two Cents on Stocks & Investing)

  1. Great to hear you’re interested in stocks! This is something I have great interest in and can provide some helps.

    First off, I recommend to read The Neatest Little Guide to Stock Market Investing as it by far one of the best books for anyone wanting to begin investing. I like the author’s simple and straightforward approach when he explains things since when people hear “stock investments”, they can feel a bit intimated. He also provides further recommended reading if you’ll like to hear different’s investors’ approaches to stock market investing.

    You mentioned that you were thinking of using Robinhood. Well, I recommend you check out this youtube channel Robinhood Portfolio as it’s a youtube channel dedicated to using Robinhood app, and you could use it for potential strategies.

    However, before you start investing with your own hard earn cash, I recommend you try a stock market simulator to get some practice on testing out your stock market buying strategy before investing your own money. I recommend Investopedia Simulator since it’s popular. There is Market Watch too if you want an alternative. Then I recommend to find a resource you’ll like to use to grab your information about the market. StockTwits is a nice place to start because unlike the Wall Street Journal ( and other similar well-known websites), you can connect with other real investors like yourself and have conversation with people like in twitter.

    Yet, if you would like to invest but want to take a more passive approach, Betterment, Acorns, Stash, and Vanguard are great options since on average the market as a growth rate of 7%. This is a great option in comparison to a savings account since they provided very little return.

    If you just would like to begin to save, I recommend you use a budget account, like Mint or Level Money, and Prism Bills and Money is great for paying all of your bills in one convenient location. Next, I would recommend you use a service like Digit or Qapital that will help you save with a hands-off approach.

    Plus, you should look into a banking account with NO FEEs since that can eat up on your savings. Simple and Aspiration are two I highly recommend! Simple is a great bank with an auto save feature for your goals and great customer service within the app (Yay! No more long phone calls, but they have it too if you like that instead). Aspiration is great since they give you interesting back on your checking account ( less than $2,500.00, 0.25% and more than $2,500.00, 1%) which is more than you’ll received from big banks. Also, they have ZERO ATM FEEs, you heard that right, any atm is your atm around the world (This came in handy when I went abroad and didn’t get charged any foreign ATM fees) Plus they have a great company motto of “Do well, Do good” and receive tips from their customer to help pay for their cost and donate 10% of their earnings to charities.

    I know I gave you a lot of information but hope this helps jump start your investing endeavors and hope to read later articles about it! 🙂

    (Here’s a Google Doc file with the hyperlinks https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qlECCSDsNwfl7mjgX3YGSwAkFSbUq6K8bp-yqxSgBko/edit?usp=sharing)

    1. This is Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. I haven’t made time to check these all out, but I did join Digit and I will join Betterment soon. I’m going to order that book you recommended too. Thanks for the tips!

      When will you start your class? 😉

      1. I’m glad that I was able to help. Haha, people have mentioned this before and it’s getting hard to find an excuse not to do it. Maybe I should follow suit like many and create a blog, I’ll get back to you on that. 🙂

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