Monday 24 July 2023

Introducing my sibling to investing

My brother started work mid last year and towards the end of 2022, he was interested in getting into the stock market as he was saving and knew that his friends were investing as well. He knew that I am investing and so came to me to ask on how he could get started. There were definitely some things that I had to tell and let him know before starting.

  • Remind him that the stock market is volatile and there is the possibility of losing money

He has the basic understanding of the stock market but was clueless about how to start and what suits him best. What I did was to explain to him broadly what investing is and how I do it. I also shared some general information and websites to him to read up. I felt that he needed to be learning and reading up on it since he was the one interested and after he had some understanding, I could help him further with questions that he had.

So of course even after all that reading up, I also told him that the stock market is not like leaving your money in your bank account, it can go down and depending on what you invest in, it can be volatile in bad times. And on having an emergency fund as well as ensuring that he builds a base of index ETFs first before venturing to individual stocks that he was interested in.

  • Understand your emotions and not be too fixated on the numbers unless you think you need to change your investing strategy

I also wanted to let him know that the stock market is not linear and it could go down for quite some time meaning that you must be in check/control of your emotions and not sell whenever you see a huge dip or buy only when the market is in a bull market.

During a bear market is when you can see how you react, keep to your routine and ensure that you do not stop buying during a bear market. It is crazy experiencing a drop or a change from a bull to bear market market, you really can’t imagine it unless you experience it but you can prepare yourself for it.

When he started investing last year, it was a bear market and I have to admit that he was a little upset when he checked his portfolio monthly and he would tell me that he was losing money but I told him that he knew what he was investing in and believe that those companies would do well in the long term or rather USA as a country would also do well.

Fast forward to now, his portfolio is in the green but he hasn’t really experience a downturn in that he started when it was down but although I have gone through the COVID drop, Ukraine and Russia war that triggered the downturn, I haven’t yet experience something drastic like the 2008-2009 financial crisis which was crazy.

  • Choosing a brokerage for yourself

I think it was a process of trying out the different brokerages to get a feel of what you want and it is also all right to have a few brokerages to use at the same time which I am doing.

Most of my friends would like to just have one brokerage account and to have everything in there but I do have a google sheet where I manually track and so allow me to have a few brokerage account and if I want to know the total, I can just refer to my google sheet. But it works either way, my brother liked Syfe Trade interface as compared to FSMone. Most of my friends do not like interactive broker’s interface but I am used to it so my main account is interactive brokers.

I recently also started some options (covered calls and cash secured puts) so interactive brokers has been helpful since there are many tutorial videos on it. This really depends but fees and a few other things also play an important part so it’s good to also check and read up before starting.

  • DCA is the best if you automate it

My brother has saved an emergency fund and knew that he would have excess from his monthly salary coming in, I suggested to him to start an automated monthly buy to ensure it is a hands-free approach for him. I guess he is working well with that as he doesn’t like to manually fixate on the prices although he is slowly dabbling into the individual stocks.

Getting started is the best

When I first started investing, I did have a lot of reservations as I wanted everything to be perfect in that the best brokerage, best timing/period to buy stock and also to ensure that everything was in place. But eventually, getting started and doing something first was the best as you would learn along the way on different things that you thought would be best but turn out otherwise.

It is a journey and a slow buildup especially in the first few years if you do not have a big capital and rely on your main income to supplement your investments but down the years, depending on what you have bought, it should accumulate. Investing has become so easy to access but there are definitely pros and cons to it so if you are interested in investing, read up, learn more and get started!

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