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Confessions of a First-Time Investor

Confessions of a First-Time Investor

Elizabeth Coll, Social Media & Marketing Associate

Investing? Sure, I heard of it on the news, in that one high school business class, on Twitter when GameStop stocks surged unexpectedly and the buzz of this foreign term, “cryptocurrency” started to hold some weight. However, I also had this preconceived notion that in order to invest, you needed to be wealthy.

This scared me. By no means did my bank account reflect “wealth” thanks to my crippling student loan debt and my expensive taste in fashion. As I began a job working in finance, I began to realize just how financially illiterate I was and just how vital it is to prepare myself for a secure future. When I was initially asked about investments in the workplace, I was at a loss for words, for I did not know whom to talk to if I needed help. It soon dawned on me that I have to act now rather than later if I want to support myself.

After engaging some basic financial primers and even reading a “Financial Planning for Dummies” book given to me by my parents — who seemed awfully tired of discussing my never-ending questions regarding my financial future — I learned it’s not as intimidating as it seems. Gathering stories and experiences from friends, family and even Pinterest, I exhausted these resources until I concluded that I need to *cough* grow up and do something about it.

I was fortunate enough to express some of my concerns with my boss who not only gave me metamorphic advice, but also connected me with a financial advisor. It was through each of them, my own research, and the very nature of my job that I began to understand investing and more. The next step was to ask myself, “What goals do I want to establish?” Having a list of short-term as well as long-term goals is a great way to start planning, as this motivated me to contemplate where I want to be in a year and later in retirement.

Next, I began to consider the risks of investing. Are there hidden dangers that could ultimately prevent me from reaching my goals? Of course, inflation, economic developments, or a global pandemic are all things that will have effects on the market. In short, risks are at times necessary in order to invest — you just have to be smart about it and the reward could be worth it. Ideally, this would now set me in the position to begin building a portfolio. Items typically included vary from stocks, bonds, real estate and cash equivalents. Once I have the idea of what to potentially include in my future portfolio, I can then think about how investing will play a role in not only my retirement but also future estate planning.

It is hard to think about retirement as a 20-something-year-old, but here’s where some long-term goals I mentioned before come into play. Questions to consider: Am I saving enough to reach retirement at the age I desire? How much money will I even need to have a peaceful, worry-free retirement? A Perspectives article by D.A. Davidson called “Are You Retirement Ready?” proved to be an incredibly helpful resource for thinking about my future — but ultimately raised many new questions.

Overloaded with information but also feeling more confident about my financial future, I took a step back to reflect on my aspirations and what I have learned during this process. I can now confidently talk with others about investing, cryptocurrency and the laughable short squeeze stock of GameStop. You do not have to be presently wealthy to invest — being educated is as advantageous. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those who can help, or use resources easily available to you like YouTube, Pinterest and, dare I say it, books! Ultimately, investing is not intimidating but rather a chance for you to manage a risk, one you could be thankful for making years from now.

The information in this publication is not investment or securities advice and does not constitute an offer. Neither the information nor any opinion in the publication constitutes a solicitation or offer by D.A. Davidson or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities, options, or other financial instruments or provide any investment advice or service. Copyright D.A. Davidson & Co., 2021. All rights reserved. Member SIPC.


Wealth Planning, Lifestyle