Disclaimer: this is not advice. This post is information only.

With 20 years of experience, I consider myself an experienced investor. Not always a very good investor but I’ve definitely got the experience.

I’ve made questionable investing decisions over the years, especially between 2008 and 2018. For anyone that doesn’t know the significance of 2008, this was the year of the financial crisis. This contributed towards a negative decade for myself, and I want to pass on some of the lessons … especially, if you’re a beginner. A beginner looking to invest in the stock market.

What I wished I’d been told in 2010

In fact, I wish I’d been given this sort of information in 2001 as an 18-year-old. Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn investing the hard way. Through trial and error and through stress, anxiety and pain.

I’m not going to labour the point too much but in 2010 and into 2011, I lost my life savings on single shares. My first attempt at investing in the stock market. Thankfully, I’ve finally learned how to invest with skill, and I want to help as many investors as possible. See below for some useful info that will help you out if you are a beginner:

  • Concentrate on your personal finances 1st
  • Earn more than you spend so you can invest
  • Build a cash buffer of 3-6 months living expenses
  • Read the books and do the research
  • ONLY invest with money you are willing to lose
  • ONLY invest with money you are willing to leave ALONE for years … LONG TERM BUY AND HOLD
  • Set and forget

Learn from my mistakes

Learn from your own mistakes but why not learn from mine? If you can learn from me, it might just save you from a negative decade. You can invest with skill from the start. This isn’t all of my mistakes, not even close. I really have learned the hard way after many mistakes as an investor looking to earn quick easy money.

If you’re looking for speedy returns, my guess is that you will be left disappointed. The stock market really doesn’t care if you want to be financially free in a quick 6 weeks. Anyway, see below for a small sample of my mistakes as a battle-hardened investor:

  • Don’t chase quick easy money
  • Don’t rush in without doing your research
  • Don’t rush in because of FOMO … like investing because your mates said or cos your colleagues said
  • Don’t put your life savings into any one investment
  • Don’t spend years not investing cos of previous mistakes
  • 100% DO NOT check your stocks regularly … like every 5 mins … this brings stress and anxiety … set and forget brings calmness

RESEARCH

DYOR is a big one and I do probably overstate it. But in my defence, it is massively important, so it does bear repeating. Doing your research will help you to become financially literate. And becoming financially literate, will help you become financially independent. Well worth the effort in my opinion. The list below is a useful starting point for doing some research as you are starting to invest:

  • Read the books e.g. How to own the World by Andrew Craig
  • Or you can read blinks for key points
  • If you’re not a reader listen to audible e.g. Think and grow rich by Napoleon Hill
  • Listen to podcasts e.g. ALWAYS FREE episodes 1-20
  • Watch YouTube videos e.g. Ali ABIDAL
  • Take notes and listen to the experts
  • Become financially literate and become a full-time investor
  • MAKE SURE YOU know what compound interest is and dollar cost averaging 

INDEX INVESTING FOR BEGINNERS

Far and away my favourite way to invest. This type of investing is how I got back into investing in the stock market after 8 years of burying my head in the sand. It’s what the experts recommend when you read the books and it’s what suits an emotional investor like me.

Instead of being exposed, with one company, you have several companies within your fund. A large pool of investors pools their money together and the fund manager takes care of the rest. The fund manager will pick what companies in what market. I went with a diversified fund that has companies around the world in different markets. The theory is that the more diversified you are, the less exposed you are if one company or one market crashes.

If you speak to a financial advisor, they will discuss your risk tolerance. If you are 20 for example, you might have a high risk tolerance because you have time on your hands to ride the inevitable ups and downs of the markets. On the other hand, if your 60 odd and looking to retire, you are probably guarding your money with everything you’ve got and have little appetite for risk.

If you struggle to pick a fund, maybe speak to a financial advisor. Personally, I was happy to do the research when I started looking into it back in early 2019. My research and my interest in low fees, led me to Vanguard. BUT REMEMBER, NOTHING I say is financial advice. The list below will get you started with index investing:

  • This is what the experts recommend for beginners
  • This is my favourite way to invest
  • Research your risk tolerance
  • Research your platform
  • Research your fund
  • HOW MUCH can you invest pcm
  • Set and forget
  • Only check your fund once or twice per year 

For me personally, personal finance and investing is so so important. I’ve made all the mistakes and have been investing for many years. For the effort, the sweat blood and tears, I should have been financially independent years ago. But I was never taught anything about money and it’s the same for the vast majority of us in the UK and abroad.

There’s a lot going on around the world and it’s easy to become worried about money and worried about everything else. Trust me, I lived through the financial crisis of 2008, and it led to me having a negative decade. Many investors, came out of that period doing really well and that’s what I want for me and you. Keep smiling, keep positive and try 100% to invest your way to financial independence.

Fuck what the central banks are doing!

Fuck what the governments are doing!

Fuck whether your colleagues get on your tits!

Do your best everyday. Try and stay positive and ignore the noise as much as possible. I’m sick of worrying about work, money or whatever else. For me, it’s about working hard towards your goals and being happy in the moment.

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