No college degree required to invest successfully

No degree? No problem.

There seems to be a myth that only white-collar, college educated people can know what they’re doing in the stock market. This simply is not true.

It is also thought to be a rich persons game- investing. Again, this simply is not true.

Why do people tend to think this? Well, when you watch the news, who do they show when they talk about the markets? People in suits and ties.

When they talk to investors, they don’t talk to Joe Blow oil refinery worker, like I was. They talk to Warren Buffett, or Ray Dalio, or Carl Ichan, etc… all of which are billionaires.

Bloomberg is not going to bring in an electrician to talk stocks with. No way! They’re going to bring in millionaire and billionaire investors.

But here’s the thing: the internet ushered in a whole new group of investors called retail investors. With a wealth of knowledge at our finger tips via the internet, us average-everyday-people can learn for free, what others spent THOUSANDS of dollars learning to do in college.

Ya, pretty cool! That’s what I did; I learned via the internet and books.

I am a retail investor, and I consider myself to be a successful one. The only thing that separates me from the young guy straight out of college, is I do not have a college degree. The only thing that separates me from a Wall Street institution, is I do not have billions of dollars.

Know what I do have? Eyes, ears, and brains. All the necessary parts to learn about investing for my future.

There are 3 things, in my opinion, that scare regular Joe Blow’s like myself, from investing for their future.

  1. They’re scared they don’t know what they’re doing.
  2. They don’t think they have enough money.
  3. They don’t know where to begin.

Ok, so those are all legitimate reasons for not entering the investing world. However, let me give you some insight, from my own experience, as to why you should ignore them.

Being scared you don’t know what you’re doing

The resources available are astonishing. The internet is a great tool to learn how to invest. Some fantastic sites for this are:

You would be amazed at what a simple google search will show. For instance, I just googled how to start investing in stocks, and a bunch of information popped up.

Also, there are books. Tons of books! One of my personal favorites (and Warren Buffett’s favorite) is The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. This book is why I became a value investor. It is considered to be the bible of investing.

You don’t think you have enough money

Oh man! I could talk for hours and hours about this being a big turn off for me years ago.

I thought you needed to buy hundreds, if not thousands of shares of a company to be successful…. FALSE!

Sure, technically, the more money you have, the more money you can make. The ol’ saying “it takes money to make money.” But what’s wrong with starting small and building your bank roll over time? Nothing!

And, since we are on the topic of money… get the thought of – having to buy cheap shares to make a lot of money – COMPLETELY out of your head. This is a terrible habit to form, as it’s just not true. A 10% gain, is a 10% gain, regardless if you own a $20 stock or a $200 stock. What matters is the total investment: if you have $1000 to invest, the gain could care less of you own 50 shares or 5 shares… 10% is 10%.

Savings. Saving up the money is key. If you can’t afford to invest, then don’t. Not until you have enough money. If it takes you a month, a year, or whatever, it makes no difference. Stop going to Starbucks everyday, and put that money to the side so you can invest it later.

You don’t know where to begin

Again, the internet is a wealth of information. There are a ton of low-cost brokerage firms you can use. Big names, like TD Ameritrade (I use these guys).

Just Google “where to open a brokerage or retirement account.”

This is the simplest thing of all three, yet it comes up as a worry. I know it did for me.

To conclude

Nobody knows what they are doing, until they know what they are doing. Make sense? Everyone has to start somewhere. Even the college kid, or even Warren Buffett. Nobody learns overnight and nobody begins by making a BAZILLION dollars.

Slow and steady wins the race. Want financial freedom? Well, it certainly is not going to happen if you bury your money in the back yard or under your mattress.

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