Please stop obsessing over individual stocks, especially meme stocks. After the madness surrounding Gamestop $GME let’s look at how most people will actually be able to build wealth over time. It’s not hand picking stocks you read about on Reddit.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The chief executive officers of Robinhood, Citadel, Melvin Capital and Reddit will testify before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on Feb. 18 on the trading turmoil in GameStop Corp and other stocks…
The committee is examining how an apparent flood of retail trading drove certain stocks to extreme highs, squeezing hedge funds like Melvin that had bet against those shares.“Robinhood, Citadel, Melvin Capital CEOs to testify in Congress on GameStop turmoil” – Reuters, February 12, 2021
Investing is fun and potentially lucrative but make sure that first you focus on things that will reliably build wealth over time. Don’t START with buying stocks, start with getting the f’ing money as Chamath says. The first lever you can pull is the money you make or earn. Start with salary or income. Get as much as you possibly can, the younger you are. Compound interest will take care of the rest.
Invest in ETFs or index funds or diversified sector funds. Then do a little “Core and Explore” with your meme stocks because face it, you’re just gambling.
Shares of GameStop tumbled 44% on Thursday after Robinhood and other stock-trading platforms halted trading for several hours.
The struggling video game retailer’s stock has been making stupefying moves this month in a drama that seemed to pit deep-pocketed Wall Street investors against a group of anonymous day traders posting on Reddit. The frenzy hit new heights Thursday when trading platforms including Robinhood, E*Trade and Interactive Brokers halted trading for GameStop, AMC Entertainment, BlackBerry and other stocks recently popular with retail investors.“GameStop stock plummets after platforms halt trading” – CBS News, January 28, 2021
Foregoing your daily Starbucks habit or buying into meme stocks are not methods to build wealth over a lifetime. See: Buy Yourself a F*^king Latte by Barry Ritholtz in response to Suze Orman’s money saving tip.
This kind of advice is popular because it’s simple, digestible, and social media-friendly. People feel like they can accomplish it. We get dopamine from accomplishments or checking items off a to-do list.
But this advice is not rooted in a holistic strategy to build long term wealth. It won’t move the needle. You’ll save more money by negotiating your rent and largest monthly bills like your car payment or office space or refinancing your mortgage vs skipping Starbucks or lowering your $6/month Hulu bill.
Above all else: get your income right and then invest it wisely (rationally). Pay yourself first.
You will not become rich buying GameStop or Hertz or pandemic stocks. You COULD become richer if you negotiate for then save as much of your maximum possible income in your 20s and 30s and invest it wisely. You COULD become richer if instead of dicking around on Reddit and Robinhood you practice asking for a raise, learn the psychology of negotiation, and commit to upward momentum in your career. Big jumps early on make a huge impact. Time is of the essence.
Vegetables vs. Dessert
The above “Build Wealth” / meme stocks video is a clip from the end of my latest video about hacking Chase Ultimate Rewards points:
What happened here you may ask? First I gave you tips on hacking credit card points only to follow up in the final moment with a caveat that point hacking is FUN but it won’t build your wealth. Yes, that’s right. Point hacking is a distraction and a fun game. It is a scam-back as I call it. It can make you some money in the form of points. Really, that is saving you money in travel expenses. It won’t make you wealthy.
Most content on TikTok or YouTube about personal finance is sus, sis. It’s clickbait if it’s promising anything at all reminiscent of get rich quick. You probably won’t get rich quick. As Josh Brown said, do you really think anyone is selling or sharing market-beating advice for $20 a month? Use your brain.
If you put half the time you spend picking out a movie on Netflix into your salary negotiation and setting up a dollar cost averaging into a fund like ARKK or SPDR or QQQ or QQQJ, you’d be onto the beginning of something.
Hell, DCA (dollar cost average) into Bitcoin using Coinbase at this point. That is still a better move than gambling on pandemic stocks. Here’s a link to get some free BTC to get you started. But remember, crypto is dessert for those who’ve already eaten their vegetables (watch the video):
Don’t talk to me about skipping lattes or point hacking or crypto if you’re not covering your bases on the most important lever:
Invest time into generating the maximum income you can. Salary is typically the starting point for most people who aren’t self employed. Start with yours. Can you get more? Can you hop to another lily pad and require 30% more than you’re making now? How about 80% more? I did that hop at age 27. Negotiate like your life depends on it. Stand your ground, don’t share your previous salary, and ask for more than you really want because they will haggle and offer you what you wanted. If you work it and you’re worth it. But don’t act entitled when you’re 23 and have no track record. There’s a time and place for asking for more money.
Pull the heavy levers first:
- salary or income: get paid more
- passive income: set some up (but not a get rich quick scheme or GOD FORBID some MLM bullshit, looking at you Rodan & Fields, Doterra, kill me)
- invest at a risk tolerance appropriate for your age and goals in a diversified portfolio – here’s one simple way:
- MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF: Use a robo advisor like Wealthfront or Betterment and DCA (dollar cost average) into it a set amount automatically every month. Use the links in this bullet point and get $5000 managed for free in either robo!
Note on Robos and One Way I Invest MY Money:
I have used both those robos for years and deposit a set amount every month automatically.
RESULTS: As of this writing, I have 63.70% time-weighted returns in Wealthfront over six years. That is just one of my accounts though: I play around in my brokerage, I have a Solo 401-k as a single member LLC, I have traditional IRAs I’ve rolled over from past employers, I have a Roth IRA, I do Fundrise (real estate REIT), I do Masterworks (buy shares of art), I love me some Coinbase for two coins (I only HODL Bitcoin and Ethereum and I’m LONG AF on crypto, have been since 2016). I mean all these accounts and types of investments, yeah, it’s a nutritious stew with a complex flavor profile.
Only after you have addressed the priorities I bulleted above should you hit the slot machines in Robinhood or public.com or whatever brokerage app you like with a portion of your net worth that you are comfortable losing. Try 10%. Because face it, 90% of highly trained money managers don’t beat the market. You think you will?
Picking stocks is addictive because it produces dopamine. I get it, I have that wiring big time. But it’s highly unlikely to be effective long term. Maybe do core and explore, play with 10-20% of your portfolio but lock the rest into stable long term diversity with automatic tax loss harvesting with a robo.
Facts about picking stocks:
Fewer than 1% of mutual fund managers persistently beat the market based on superior market-timing or stock-picking skills.
Ask yourself: why are you different, as someone doing it part time and without the tools and technology they have?
“Basically any attempts to pick the times to buy or sell, I think, are a mistake for 99% of the population. And I think that even attempts to pick individual securities is a mistake for people.
They don’t need to do anything but [invest in a low-cost S&P 500 index fund]. Then they’ll get a decent result over time. To some extent, the smarter you try to be, the worse you do in investments. Now, there’s a few professional investors that will do better than the S&P over time. But the average individual isn’t going to be able to find them. And they don’t need them. That’s the beauty of it.”
-Warren BuffettSeeking Alpha
I am sharing the info I’ve found helpful and convincing which made my strategy more effective: removing my emotions and lizard brain as much as I can, trusting the long term, etc. You can take it or leave it.
People who are much smarter than me when it comes to investing shared their own strategies in this book I suggest: How I Invest My Money: Finance experts reveal how they save, spend, and invest
Love you guys, and remember: ASK FOR MORE. Listen to my daily briefing: