Week one: Be patient, young one

img_3370-1I’ve been interested in investing and the stock market for a while now… with absolutely no idea how to get started. It’s a classic “takes money to make money” situation and coming from a place of tightly watching each and every penny I spent, it was difficult to find an entry point that I felt comfortable with. I’ve never been much into gambling and anyone who knows my poker playing style knows that I pretty only play winning hands.  What’s cool about stocks though, as opposed to putting it all on red or black, it’s not win or lose it all situation.  You can bet on a stock and be wrong with it losing everything.  Once you open yourself up to a little risk while also keeping in mind that the likelihood of losing it all is really not too high, it’s easier to feel like dipping your toes in a bit.

Starting my research.   After doing some investigating and and finding myself more confused than when I began, I stumbled upon one super valuable resource. Paper trading! I downloaded two different paper trading apps, and then I started to “buy” some of those stocks I’d been watching. I decided I’d try to mock a realistic example for myself and start with an initial investment of $3,000. I then chose different stocks and used varying techniques with the two apps, giving me a great concept for what was working and what wasn’t. I practiced with paper trading for two months before I felt ready to jump in for real.

Game time.  I’m now hoping to chronicle my adventures in the stock market as I work on building my own portfolio.

Going into this week, I was anxious to get started seeing my “paper earnings” turn into actuality. My eyes opened each morning right at 630am and I jumped on my phone to see what sort of early morning moving were already in the works. Ps- it’s pretty awesome how easy and accessible investing can be these days.

I’ve been watching the market fluctuate for months now and I also see that some of the best deals happen first thing in the morning. And we all love a good sale, right?! I decided I’d place a slightly low limit order on each stock I was interested in buying, keeping me safe from sharp upward increases, yet also giving me a shot at buying at a decent price, even if I was still asleep when that price came up.

The only thing my plan didn’t account for was my utter impatience and fomo when it came to getting my desired stocks.

Advice in the back of my mind all week, it’s not smart for novice investors (hello, that’s me), to play in the stock market too early in the morning when the market is the most volatile. On one hand, I get it. On the other, patience has never been my thing.

I watched for three days as my set limit order got further and further from reality as the stock prices rose. Worrying that the stock would soon be out of reach, that it had already hit its low, I changed my order just a little higher so it might trip this time. Within 30 seconds it did! Whoohoo! I had my first stock! I then watched the price continue to move, and to my horror, it went down, down, and down to my original limit order. Damn my impatience! By the end of the day, the volatility calmed and my earnings were back up.

Interestingly enough, the most frustrating part of the week came on Friday night after my week of investing was all wrapped up. I knew one my buddies was into investing so I decided to start a conversation with him about it when when I saw him on the patio at our local dive bar. He then proceeded to mansplain the entire stock market to me, while simultaneously spilling beer on the poor guy behind us more than a few times. All this with no concept of the research I’ve been doing, the efforts I’ve put in, or really anything about my financial decisions and history. It ended up coming across as someone who’d been burned by some bad choices that he made, projecting those into my situation, where they don’t quite fit. So far, stocks and investing talk feel like quite a “boys club”, from the articles I’ve read, podcasts I’ve heard, and even tweets I’ve followed. I’m definitely looking forward to meeting other women who are interested in these topics as I continue my journey.

Back to how my first week in the stock market went, I may have only earned about one latte’s worth of gains so far, but you gotta start somewhere! That’s one more tall glass of Sapporo than I would have earned this week with my money sitting in the bank. Now the real question will be if I can hold onto that Sapporo and turn it into a fancy sushi roll or two in the coming weeks.

Sounds silly, but I’m pretty excited for Monday.

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