Investing involves a lot of risk by my standards and I think the majority of us feel that way. Since the 1987 US stock market crash (Black Monday), I found myself interested in what was going on with the market and was just fascinated by it. Just the thought of getting involved individually was really exciting for me, though nerve-wrecking because when it takes you a long time to accumulate money it is natural to want to guard it.
Nonetheless, I eventually started investing and chose mutual funds because they seemed easy enough and they are managed by people who I felt were more informed than I was. After investing in these mutual funds over time, I implemented some short-term strategies, which led me to the idea of investing in individual stocks. The risks are greater there obviously, but that also means the return potential is greater and that was attractive enough to me, because after all, I would start very small.
I went in with the idea that I would be ‘OK’ losing anything I invested. When I tell people of that approach today, they still get squeamish, but that was the way I had to approach it in order to get my foot into the water. Any money I put in, I was prepared to lose. After investing for some time, I then migrated to a combination of investing and stock trading, with a greater focus on stock trading.
The transition to focus on stock trading developed after losing what I saw as too much money investing with too short a horizon. I learned to separate the two approaches to gain balance, where I invested for the very long term and traded for the short term. My overall performance would allow me to recover much more than I had lost, and though it was painful, the loss experience shaped me into a better investor/trader overall.
It is not unusual to overhear former investors or traders discouraging others from getting involved with the stock market. Though I understand it, I do not think it is proper to steer people away from investing, but there are rules one should establish. Again, one has to reflect on being content and realize that along the journey of investing, you will be exposed to what makes us our worst selves…MONEY. In that world, you will come across the worst of us, but it doesn’t mean one has to join that crowd. Maybe I was spared and if so, the credit goes to setting reasonable goals, much of which are what I believe God would expect of me.