Good Investing Is A Mix Of Talent & Skill … and Patience
August 24 2017 - Gordon T
If you’re a young investor just entering, or looking to enter, the stock market – this is a perhaps great time to be in your position. Done right, investing can actually be more interesting and much simpler, and enjoyable, than most people will have you believe.
“You see, I always thought that ‘numbers are not my thing’. But hey, I love stories and as I started taking interest in businesses, I realized that every company tells a story and every stock has a history and a future. So I do my investments thinking I am joining a company’s story for a while. I know it’s probably goofy-sounding, but I’ve made some good money!” says Cathy Richmond, 27, who started investing the year she turned 24.
Many young investors are joining the markets – brokerages are adding thousands of new accounts regularly and newer firms like Robinhood have added a couple of million new users over the last few years. Stockal has seen thousands of new subscribers in just the last 5 months. Interestingly the general demographic seems to be hugely skewed towards the 25 to 35 year age group, and has healthy female participation.
“Millennial” investors are a more confident lot than almost every previous generation. They are less risk averse and unlike the baby boomers (and to a lesser extent, Gen Xers) they believe they have the talent and skill to get whatever they imagine.
In a lot of ways, being a good investor comes down to skills, talent and patience.
“Growing up, I was always entrepreneurial. When I was 15 I started a student magazine and made some money on advertising. Then when I turned 18, my mom gave me $600 to invest. Since then, I’ve been very motivated by businesses and stocks. I’ve also put some money aside in ETFs and overtime built a portfolio of over 13 grand.” Pulak Gardia, son of parents who migrated to the US from India in mid-seventies, is now 26.
In a good development over the last few years, more and more investing clubs have been popping-up in universities and, especially, institutes teaching economics, commerce or business. In a sense, what was once a second nature to finance majors graduating from ivy leagues institutions, has fast become the norm in academic circles. Perhaps the best faculties some these clubs can help inculcate are related to (a) developing the ability to avoid making major mistakes when the risk is high, (b) learning to determine the appropriate amount of waiting time before exiting an investment, (c) take failure without letting it affect their ego, and (d) being constantly aware of macroeconomic signals and environment.
If you notice, most of the above points are related to talent and skill. For instance, ability to analyze risk and being patient – both are useful in many life situations, professions and sports alike. Training and knowledge-building are skills that always need to be developed anyway.
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