I never learned how to invest until the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown gave me the opportunity to sit down and explore my interests.
Feeling uncertain, I always knew I had to do something about my future and wanted to learn about it, but, I never gave myself the time to teach myself. It was a low priority on my list with a seemingly high barrier to entry.
Today, I have been in the market for almost 2 years since May 2020 and looking back, these are the 5 things I’ve learned:
1. I am More Mindful of My Spendings
After discovering the world of credit cards, I have been a bit of a frivolous spender in my 20s. Eating out and drinking were activities I never minded paying for (though I still don’t mind now), but I never accounted for factoring in high interest rates and APR that would compound over time.
Now, before I buy anything, I find myself asking myself, “Do I want to spend on this or save this money to invest?” You learn about appreciating assets and over time, you start to weigh whether or not you want to invest in depreciating assets vs appreciating assets. Despite today’s current volatile market situation, I am still choosing to passively invest into the S&P 500 while continuing to maximize my yearly contribution to my Roth IRA.
2. Pay More Attention to Current Events
I never kept up with current events, and always wondered why my parents and adults were constantly watching the news. It made sense.
As I learned that any news is connected to the market moving up or down, I found myself informing myself more about not only the US but also international current events too. And in turn, I feel more happier knowing that I am a little more knowledgeable about what is going on in the world.
3. Helped Build Better Habits
Who knew the market could be so interesting?
I found myself wanting to learn not only the fundamentals but even more about the market so I wouldn’t just be gambling my savings. As I learned the differences between mutual funds, etfs, stocks, options, etc. and safe ways to invest, I wanted to learn more about how I can potentially “lock in more gains.”
This, in turn, helped me to build better study habits and channel my curiosity in productive ways. I took courses teaching me the fundamentals about the market, and started teaching my friends and loved ones around me. I didn’t want to win alone, but together.
4. Mindset Shift
These small incremental changes helped me to build better habits which also helped me to become more responsible. This simple interest snowballed into a mindset shift that resulted in me feeling more happier and fulfilled about actually translating my thoughts into action.
5. Happier Knowing that I am Investing in my Future
As I’ve been on a pursuit of figuring out what life meant to me, I’ve been asking a lot of my questions. “Why am I not like my friends, Why am I behind in life?”
Learning how to invest taught me invaluable lessons about myself. It taught me: patience, my “why” and psychology behind wanting to make money, and most importantly, the confidence that I can succeed in whatever I put my mind to no matter how small the progress is.
With every day, and every year, I learn more and more that life is about the journey and not the end goal.
All in all, maybe this mindset shift naturally came as I entered into the new decade of my 30s, which had me reflecting on my life and where I wanted to be in the next 5 or 10 years. But learning how to invest helped change me and push me toward a direction in life that I never saw myself achieving.
No matter how small the gains, I have learned to celebrate the wins, and ultimately, “Strive for Progress, Not Perfection.“