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270523 Beginner's Guide to Investing

Here’s How I Got Over My Fear of Investing

profileXue Miao

When I first got to understand how my money would depreciate if I were to leave it in the bank, I was mortified.

The thought of having my hard-earned money lose its value made me sad.

That was when I started to seek alternative methods to grow my money.

Investing was a topic that popped up multiple times during my research, and I saw how people who attained financial success seem to always be investment-savvy and had huge investment portfolios.

But I have never been surrounded by people who invest.

And because of that, I’ve always imagined investing to be only done by men in suits who are always yelling at moving numbers on screens.

Source: CTV News

I later learnt that this wasn’t even investing but trading.

And when you start searching for ways to grow your money, you’ll have the WHOLE personal finance world nudging non-investing folks (like me) to get started.

It just seemed like investing was one of the milestones to conquer before you’re deemed as someone who is getting your finance sh*t together.

It didn’t help when I learnt about the wonders of compound interest and how being a young adult meant having one of the greatest privileges when it comes to growing your wealth – time.

That certainly added to the sense of urgency because it felt like I was losing out as long as I didn’t get started.

Knowing that I HAD to get started, I began finding the most non-intimidating way to navigate this incredibly intimidating topic.

And this was how I did it and what I learnt along the way.

P.S. If you’re feeling very clueless, overwhelmed, and just do not know where to begin, IT IS PERFECTLY OKAY, AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Wanna start your investing journey? Get your investing questions answered here!

TL;DR: An Super Noob Beginner’s Guide to Investing: The Non-Intimidating Way to Getting Started

Investing can be extremely scary for someone who has never been exposed to it. 

But it really isn’t as scary as it appears to be, and you can most certainly get started on this journey too!

Here were some tips that helped me when I first got started (and hopefully could help with your journey as well!):

  • Start with the method that works for you
  • DON’T follow blindly
  • Understand your own comfort level
  • Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start
  • Be open to learning. 

Disclaimer: The information provided by Seedly serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised investment advice. ​Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any investment product.

Start With The Method That Works For You

Once I felt ready, I started looking for ways to start my investing journey.

One popular method that was recommended was learning through investment books.

With that, I started borrowing popular books like ‘The Intelligent Investor‘ by Benjamin Graham, only to find myself fighting to stay awake whenever I opened the book.

I realised that while this method worked for others, it did not work for me.

Instead, I learnt much better when I watched YouTube videos that broke down the summaries of these books.

They were very helpful in breaking down this complex subject, making it more accessible and digestible.

What I’ve learnt is that there is no one best method to get started on your investing journey.

The best way is to try out different methods – be it through videos, books, courses, or even conversing with friends.

That’s when you can find out what works best for you, and that would make the start of your journey a lot less intimidating.

P.S. I did eventually find my own preferred range of investing books and ultimately began reading as well!

It’s Easy To Follow Blindly: Don’t Do It

Source: GIphy

When I first started my investing journey, I began speaking to people about it as well.

As a freshly minted investment novice, everyone I talked to seemed like an investment guru.

Given that there is so much to learn, everything that these people said seemed legit.

Just throw in a few technical terms, and I would be pretty much convinced.

Source: Tenor

This was how I purchased my first blue-chip stock, where I simply listened to a piece of advice without doing any homework and bought it because the name sounded familiar.

When the stock price started plummeting, my emotions were on a rollercoaster ride as I had no idea why it was happening.

That was when I realised I had made my first investing mistake – buying something that I had no clue about at all.

The Internet will always be filled with investment advice from people who seem to know it the best – economists, advisors, and people who invest for a living.

While it’s convenient to listen to their advice, every individual has a different investment risk tolerance, priorities, and goals.

The last thing you’d want is to spend your money at companies you’re not familiar with and lose your hard-earned money without knowing the reason why.

Understand the Risk Level Your Are Comfortable With

Source: Giphy

There are always popular stocks that are advocated by the masses.

Encountering this might result in a FOMO (fear of missing out) situation, which is something I have personally experienced.

It is important to remember that all investments come with risks.

And everyone has a different risk appetite!

Are you willing to endure large fluctuations for possible high returns?

Therefore, one thing to do when it comes to investing is to determine your own comfort level and your willingness and ability to accept risk.

This will also depend on a few things:

  • Your current and future financial commitments
  • How much you’re willing to lose
  • Your investment time horizon.

While all investments come with risks, there are basic investment strategies that could help to reduce these risks.

This includes:

Don’t Wait For The Perfect Moment To Start

Source: Tenor

It’s easy to feel terribly intimidated when you start diving into the world of investing.

In this day and age, where several investors post their successes online, this might lead to unrealistic expectations that we might have for our own investing journey.

Despite gaining knowledge along the way, learning tends to feel endless when it comes to investing, as there is just always more to know and understand.

One thing I’ve learnt during my journey is that I will never be FULLY ready when it comes to investing.

While there is indeed a lot to learn, one way to learn is also by dipping your toes and beginning with small amounts, which is a lot less intimidating.

Lucky for us, there are now various ways we can start investing without huge capital, be it once-off or on a monthly basis.

Another fear when it comes to investing is purchasing a stock and having the price dip further.

One good thing about starting early is the ability to stay in the market for a longer time horizon which allows us to ride through bear markets.

While it is human to want to aim for the lowest price possible, that could result in you holding it out and eventually not starting at all.

Know that if you’re in for the long run, that slight difference in price wouldn’t matter that much after all.

Be Open To Learning

Source: Tenor

One lesson I’ve learnt through this journey is to keep an open mind when it comes to learning about investing.

I grew up learning that insurance and investments were schemes that were out to scam us of our money. 

Growing up with such an idea deterred me from learning about them earlier because I had unwittingly allowed these opinions to influence mine.

As a result, I felt extremely guarded and was adamant about not making the same mistakes, and thought that avoiding these topics would be the best solution.

It is only by being exposed to them in recent years I was able to realise my biases and that my views have been myopic as well.

My learning only truly began when I was able to look past these preconceived opinions and only form my own opinions after gaining my own experiences. 

Take new information and learnings with an open heart, and you might just be surprised how much you can gain from it.

You don’t have to agree with everything that you’ve come across, but learning about them could help you gain exposure and understand your own preferences as well.

I wish I had done this sooner!

Closing Thoughts

I’ve allowed my fear of investing to hold me back for quite a while.

Looking back, I wish I had embarked on this journey sooner, picking up the skills required for my investing journey.

For anyone who hasn’t started investing because it feels intimidating, know that you are not alone!

The start might seem the scariest, but it does get better once you get started.

Most importantly, just get started.

If you’ve any questions regarding investing (no question is a stupid question!), you can get them answered at Seedly!

About Xue Miao
A millennial who is learning to adult. She doesn't believe in the rat race and hopes to live on a farm someday.
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