Over my mass consumption of FIRE content, I repeatedly came across people mentioning ETFs and discussing that that’s where they’re putting their money. Now, I like to consider myself a moderately smart person, and I even have a degree in business. However, I had no clue about investing.
“What is an ETF?”, I thought to myself. “…And how do I get a hold of some?”.
I’ll admit it. About a year ago, I created an online trading account, put some money into the account and then never actually invested the money for a whole entire year. I just let the money sit there. Not growing. In fact, simply shrinking against inflation.
I knew this was an unwise decision. However, I was simply comfortable in nonaction. I was scared to tackle (what I thought was) the beast of trading.
Fast forward to approximately a year later, I serendipitously connect with a coworker over a conversation about FIRE. We develop camaraderie as we continue to share anecdotes for how we practice FIRE. I casually mention the fact that I have a lump sum of money just sitting in my online trading account, just waiting.
The disbelief and judgement I was met with once I shared this was sufficient for me to immediately remember what an idiot I was being. I knew what I had to do. I just wasn’t doing it. With a friendly nudge and a few helpful links from this coworker, I finally invested in an ETF.
This is what I learned on my investing (with a long pause) journey:
- Investing is actually not that difficult. It may appear so as its typically a bunch of suits using unnecessary jargon to explain simple concepts.
- You just need to get started – there is no right time, but now is the best time.
- Don’t invest money you cannot afford to lose.
- You learn so much going through this journey – start now!
A Quick How-To Guide
So, here’s what you need to do in order to start dabbling in investing:
(Each these steps should take 5 mins to 5 hours. Google is your friend. You got this.)
- Determine what trading platform is the best for you to invest on. For most people, the best platform is the one with the lowest combined fees.
- Assess how much money is right for you to invest at this point.
- Research your different security options and determine where you want to invest.
- Take the money and frickin’ put it into the security/securities of your choice.
- Sit back, and move with the market.
If you’re interested in a deeper dive on any one of the above steps, let me know. Happy trading!