Right out of college, I already hated my first job and I was in a situation where I didn’t make enough money to spend it on luxury items I wanted vs. needed. I drove the same crappy car since I got my driver’s license and I really wanted to upgrade, but I couldn’t afford it. I was in the mind set of “get rich quick” and I scoured the internet for ways to make extra money.
There were certainly a lot of doozies (we’ll get into these get rich quick schemes in future posts), but I was keen on the idea of investing in the stock market and day trading just like Gordon Gekko in the movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Of course, this movie was fiction, but the idea of making money just by trading stocks sounded amazing! Who knows, maybe I’d even make a career out of this, if it’s easy enough. Hell, they made it look easy in the movies.
I didn’t know the first thing about investing so I started looking at Youtube videos, looking at Fidelity’s website, trying to figure out what and how to do this thing that was going to make me tons of money. The more I dug into this, the more I realized how complicated it was and how risky it was, not to mention the money I would need to even think about doing this investing thing properly.
Right off the bat, the internet says I need to choose a brokerage firm so you can use their trading platform, who knew. Well, let me tell you that there’s no shortage of brokerage firms who offer this and that, most of them free to sign up. You have TD Ameritrade, E*Trade, Scottrade, Fidelity, Capital One, Charles Schwab, Ally and list goes on and on. I already had a headache and was overloaded by the amount information on the internet. I was slowly realizing that this “get rich quick” idea of mine was actually more of a full-time commitment than first anticipated.
I probably spent another week or so on this dumb idea, than it eventually lost its luster and I went back to my crummy job and drove the same crappy car for a few more years. I realized from this little experiment that I wasn’t ready to invest. I didn’t have the finances to day trade or even had the patience at the time to dig into it full time. It was complicated and not meant for amateurs like myself.
I ended up leaving the investing up to my companies 401K plan, where all the hard work of stock investigating was complete already and all I had to do was choose a plan that looked good on paper. Granted, we only had like 10 funds to choose from, but it was much easier than digging through Cash Flow Statements, Stock Tickers, P/E Ratios and all that great stuff that Mr. Gekko knows by heart.
I was too young and too fresh to even start thinking about trading. I should be more focused on getting my life in order and getting my finances on track to where they should be. It’s been 8 years since that day and I haven’t even thought about day trading again. Honestly, I don’t have the time to do that. In my opinion, unless you have all day to dig into the weeds to day trade, it’s not for you.
I like to follow some great advice I heard a long time ago, “work smarter, not harder”. If the company you work for offers retirement/investing options, work on those first and get those up to snuff before putting the cart in front of the horse on other grand ideas.
As always, I’m merely here to offer up advice based on my experiences. Seek professional help while riding through the world we call life.