More thoughts on the stock market here...
I’m a newbie when it comes to buying stocks, but it’s my latest passion.
Here are some things I’ve learned so far in playing the stock market:
1. My intuition is valuable and necessary. Before any trade, I consult the Tarot. If there’s a resounding NO, I don’t — despite how strong the numbers are. I can always come back another day.
I use the same gifts as I do in a Tarot session: I tune in. I evaluate. I see the challenges and strong potentials. Above all, I trust my intuition and the Spirit who guides me. When I listen to the market experts, I have to laugh at all of the terminology that is SO similar to the woo world (i.e., “the Oracle of Omaha”). Choosing stock and playing the game is emotional at heart.
2. I love supporting business that help the planet. Most of my shares are in organic/natural foods but I’m careful in my research. Many of the smaller organic companies have been gobbled up by larger corporations who still do animal testing and produce foods filled with GMOs. I won’t support those companies, no matter how tempting their stock or growing organic segments. And if I find out that a brand goes against my values, I’ll sell the stock. I’m also investing in clean energy and a few tech stocks but the majority is in healthy food. I figured that if I’m spending thousands of dollars a year buying organic, I might as well own a portion of the company. To find out whether a company is public, a simple internet search on Yahoo or Google Finance will tell you their IPO. For example, Google is GOOG on the stock market…at over $1000k a share.
3. Don’t invest when you’re desperate or want fast cash. It’s kind of like walking into the grocery when you’re starving; you’ll buy on impulse and end up with a cart full of sweets, pizza and coffee beans (or maybe that’s just me….). Invest when you feel balanced and have a certain price point in mind. Whenever I buy a new car, I always have a mental number before I walk into a dealer and I stick with that number. If they can find a way to get me there, great. If not, I walk out and find another dealer who will…or re-evaluate my needs. Same goes for investing.
4. Patience is both your friend and wise council. I’m new to the game, but old enough to know that stock values will fluctuate — and to ride it out without panicking. I’ve had IRAs that went up and down over the years, but it didn’t bother me because I knew it would be decades before I could cash in. My parents bought me GE stock years ago and admonished me to never sell it. I barely paid attention to the tiny dividend check that deposited in my account every quarter. I just didn’t care or understand stocks — and had a funky relationship with money then, thanks to my background in religion. But I still didn’t sell my stock or mess with the dividends.
I’m not investing for short-term profit. That’s why research, analysis and intuition are the children of patience. I choose stocks that will grow over time, based on my values and what I believe humans want. We all need to eat, no matter the state of the world… and organic/local foods are becoming more important in the consciousness of the planet.
5. Be a conscious investor. Don’t just throw your money at “popular” stocks. There are plenty of attractive stocks at great prices that may not line up with your values. There’s something to be said for the conscious investor — because every cent (minus taxes, etc.,) goes towards a company continuing on with their policies. If it feels good, is at the price you want and lines up with your values, that’s where you start.
5. Playing is the only word to remember in the river known as the stock market. I used to work for a high-powered lawyer in NYC who would spend the majority of the day yelling at his broker to buy/sell/hold — and soon after, the broker died of a heart attack in his 40s. That experience made the stock market appear to be a huge stress and a total drag (not to mention, deadly).
If you become frantic or greedy or have eyes glued to the ticker all day, do yourself a favor and throw everything into an IRA or low-risk fund and forget about it. Be sure to have a monthly investing budget and don’t forget to enjoy actual living. The river was here before you were born, and will happily stream along after you’re dust. Forget about trying to “beat” the stock market and have fun with it.
6. It’s easier than you think. Most of my friends don’t have any interest in stocks, and I totally get it. We’re usually broke and the market is kind of boring to those who don’t resonate with that particular game. Though I’ve invested in mutual funds/IRAs in the past, I avoided placing trades because a) I didn’t really understand how to buy shares without a broker and b) money websites are filled with talking heads who blather on about in-house products that will make you a million dollars rather than offer simple investing advice and c) I thought I needed tons of money, plus know all of the terminology. Wrong.
What you need — more than anything — are a few wise picks and then patience. And more patience. If your stocks plummet, you can always sell…or ride it out.
I use Sharebuilder which is super easy and you don’t need a broker. Trades are $6.95 and there are options for automatic investing — you pick the stocks, and they buy them on the schedule you designate. I have both a traditional IRA (great for deductions) and also an investment account. I’ve put all of my stocks on a Watch List and check in daily to chart the numbers. There’s plenty of free data, videos and research for the novice investor.
Remember: stocks are still a guessing game and you have to decide when to jump. “No risk is no reward”, as they say, but as long as you remember that you are playing with money — the ultimate illusion — market fluctuations won’t hurt as much. And with the pitiful bank rates for savings, you might as well invest in stocks. The market is better than ever.
3 questions to ask before investing in the stock market:
- What are my core values?
- What companies/products do I enjoy on a regular basis — and do they share my core values?
- How do I want to help the planet now — and leave it for future generations to enjoy?