There are some things in this world that adults should know how to do:
- Unclog a toilet
- Balance a checkbook
- Make eggs and bacon.
Full disclosure – I have a 20% success rate of unclogging toilets. I have never balanced a checkbook. And I have yet to make a breakfast where the eggs and bacon resembled anything other than rubber and charcoal.
Despite my ineptitude in several of the “must knows” of adulthood, I decided to tackle something infinitely more complicated than using a plunger. The stock market.
For my entire life, I equated the stock market = mind blown and on fire. Just seeing the stock ticker at the bottom of the news made me nervous. What the heck did it all mean? Obviously, I knew that green was good and red was bad. As an experienced yard sale hostess (yes yes I know), I was well aware that buying low and selling high is important. But other than that, I had no clue. And this is after college and law school. Thank you liberal arts education!
Forget all of that. I wanted to learn to invest in the stock market. And it was filling up my car for $20 that inspired me to finally pull the trigger.
Gas prices have fallen tremendously over the last year. Particularly over the last month or so, prices have dipped to less than $30/barrel after spending the better part of the last 10 years above $100/barrel with highs of $140+/barrel. It’s great for us when filling our gas tanks. But how long can I fill up my tank for $20? I figured maybe I should invest in oil so when prices go back up…and they will…at least I’d be making money instead of just paying more at the gas tank and getting no return. This idea made me feel brilliant. I’d be a fool to not figure this beast out. But how do I actually go about buying a barrel of oil?
After I decided that I wanted to buy stock and invest in oil like a cast member of the tv show Dallas (I can hear the music now), I got to work. And by work, I mean I got to researching. I spent hours and hours pouring over articles on general investment knowledge. I read about everything from the difference between preferred stock and common stock to independent vs. broker assisted investments to the different types of mutual funds. I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t have the capital to invest in futures or futures options, which basically means having a contract to buy the commodity (oil, in this case) or the option to buy. And I learned that I couldn’t really go and buy 10 barrels of oil and they would be stamped with my initials. I read 48 articles on advice from Warren Buffett. He is basically the most successful investor in the WORLD so I wanted to heed whatever he had to say. He had a lot to say. A LOT. But mostly Buffett’s advice can be summed up here:
- Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.
- Think long term.
- Invest in yourself.
Long story short, I pulled the trigger. I decided since I’m a novice and want to actively learn the market, I chose to buy stock using an app called Robin Hood. There’s $0 commission for self-directed accounts using their app. It’s not fancy, but it tracks everything easily and simply. I can research the companies and trade through the app. It’s fantastic. I’ve become quite addicted to checking my account.
I heeded Buffett’s advice. I diversified. I’m into oil, airlines, and Twitter. All this news about changing the Twitter feed is not helping my new investment. But I digress. I’m thinking long term.
Women are notoriously reluctant to invest in the stock market. I don’t know if it’s the fear of the unknown or thinking it’s too complicated or fear of losing it all or what? Studies show that women actually outperform men in their investments – see Nerd Wallet and Fortune. Woohoo! So dammit, girls, let’s get in there! Conquer that fear. It doesn’t take much $ to get started. Invest in your future. Who knows, maybe you’ll become a gazillionaire. Probably not a gazillionaire. But you’ll definitely become more knowledgeable. And knowledge is power. Get it!