Investing for the First Time As a Kid

27 August, 2015

The more you trade, the more you will learn about the world around you. You will gradually start to better understand the global economy, national economy, business in general, and how things work. Traders view the world in a different light, pondering how the goods and services we need and want are created and ultimately delivered to us at a reasonable profit. Every time you buy something, every time you interact with someone, your mind will constantly be sifting everything for trading opportunities.

Trading is something I’ve loved my entire life. When I was growing up my father was a small-town banker, so he was naturally interested in the financial world. On Friday nights I remember watching Louis Rukeyser’s Wall $treet Week on public television with my Dad. I remember him reading the Wall Street Journal, and encouraging me to do so when he came across articles that would interest a young boy.

When I was 12, my father opened a brokerage account for me. Of course back then you had to actually call your broker on the telephone to make a trade, so it was certainly intimidating at first. Trading, and really anything new, always is. But I bought some stock in IBM and never looked back from there. I saved income from my summer jobs including fishing golf balls out of water traps, mowing lawns, and painting houses. I invested some of my meager surplus income in stocks.

The more you learn about yourself, the deeper you journey into your own emotions, the happier you will ultimately be. This quest for emotional mastery yields benefits far beyond the trading realm. The longer you trade, the better you become at stepping back and calmly analyzing life situations that make you angry, sad, frustrated, whatever. Controlling your own greed and fear helps you better control all your emotions, making you more even-keeled and slower to get upset in the future. Imagine the benefits this has for marriages, family interactions, business relationships, and everything else!

Trading is incredibly liberating, breaking a crushing bond that enslaves most people their entire lives. Trading divorces income earned from time on task. Salaried or not, we are all essentially paid to work by the hour. But this is a problem, it creates an artificial ceiling on our incomes since our time is precious and finite. We can only devote so many hours each week to work before our lives become an unbalanced, unhappy disaster. We effectively become financial slaves to our time available for work.

But trading earnings aren’t dependent on time. When you buy a stock, and it rallies to earn you profits, it doesn’t matter whether you spent 1 hour deciding to make that trade or 100 hours. Trading opens up a wonderful new world where income is divorced from time! While it is true that trading is a learned art that requires years of discipline and experience to thrive in, the ultimate financial rewards it yields are wildly disproportionate to the time spent learning it. It breaks your income free from the chains of time.

The ultimate result of this liberation is the highly-sought-after goal of financial independence. If you start trading and stick with it for decades, you will get good. And trading mightily rewards experience, building fortunes for those who strive to master it. Eventually your trading will at the very least set you up to retire much earlier than you otherwise could. And since trading doesn’t require excessive time (a few hours a week of research is often enough), it can free up many hours for you to pursue your life’s passions.

Trading is a great equalizer, shattering all the limiting preconceptions that we burden ourselves with and others impose on us. The world is tough and unforgiving, and often we feel inadequate. The reasons are infinite. Maybe the world teases you about something, looks down on you for some reason, or doesn’t respect you for who you are. All these crushing limitations that saddle real life are obliterated in trading.

Starting out small is actually really important. If you start out trading with a lot of money, odds are you will lose it and get discouraged. The great majority of traders lose almost all of their initial capital at some point in their first year or so of trading. It is par for the course. But the hard lessons learned, and the skillset developed through those early losses, scale beautifully to any amount of money as your trading prowess grows. Even if you are blessed with lots of surplus capital, start trading small with an amount you can easily afford to lose. As your confidence and skills gradually grow, only then should you start trading bigger.

A parallel trait greatly enhanced by trading stocks yourself is stewardship. We are all blessed with financial assets, and how we manage them is of paramount importance for our futures. No one cares more about your financial future than you do! Trading stocks forces you to take more responsibility for growing your assets, gets you deeply involved in what you invest in and why. While it is important to seek wisdom on investing from wise counselors, trading gives you the knowledge to ultimately make informed decisions yourself. This leads to radically-better stewardship of your financial assets and entire future.

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