Personal Finance time!
Last night I decided to try out the stock market thing for the first time. I don’t have any any student loans (though I if I go to grad school that might change very quickly), I have some savings already, and a little extra which is just tempting me to buy crap I don’t need. So… why not?
I realize it would have been better if I decided that earlier this year when everything was down, but I figured I might as well just start at some point. Technically nothing has gone into effect yet since it’s the weekend but it’s set up at least. I still have the retirement fund stuff going through work and the Roth IRA stuff but that’s all kind of boring mutual fund stuff that I can’t really do anything with until I’m old anyways. And the problem with the mutual funds is that it’s such a grab bag of stuff that a lot of times includes lots of bits companies I don’t really know or don’t actually really like. So I don’t really feel personally vested in it and don’t pay much attention to it.
I’ve read on a bunch of different PF blogs the advice to “invest in what you know” which makes enough sense to me. So I picked a couple of companies I felt like I understood at least somewhat:
Adobe - Considering my entire career is pretty much only possible because of these guys it seeed like a good idea. I’m not sure what I’d do if Adobe went down. I can’t imagine moving over to like Microsoft Expression or something.
Apple - Everyone loves them, and for good reason. I don’t think I need much explanation there.
Autodesk - They make AutoCAD which is what just about every THING is designed in. Buildings, bridges, planes, toys, cars, everything. Also Maya which is industry standard for 3D and movie magic type stuff. (Even though I think C4D is a much better 3D app). And 3ds max which is industry standard for games. So they seem pretty reliable.
Electronic Arts - EA makes a shitload of games, including things like The Sims and Rockband. They’re pretty much a gaming giant.
Monotype - I believe in typography too! Monotype licenses a ton of fonts, which I think will always be around. Unless we all suddenly become illiterate. They’re also cheap compared to the other ones.
American Apparel - Best t-shirts ever, even if they’re expensive. I could easily buy two things from AA and have spent more than I’m investing in these 6 total. Plus AA stock is only like $3.
So that’s what I’ve settled on for now. I’m not trying to give out advice or anything, just saying those are the ones that made sense to me, which I think is kind of amusing in itself. I feel like those 6 companies says quite a bit about what I know, which is apparently design, video games, and t-shirts.
I think what kept me away from trying to invest anything for a long time was that the whole stock market thing just seemed sort of nebulous and confusing. The only people that seem to really talk about investing are the guys in suits on tv. None of my friends seem to have any interest in it. I understood that my dad funded my college education through a mutual fund. And I understood that I should contribute to my retirement accounts. But otherwise I didn’t really know where you were suppose to start.
Eventually I figured I could start out at ShareBuilder*, which seems to be targeted at newbies like me. They don’t have any minimums, which is good because I don’t really have much to put in there. And they have automatic investment, which means I can budget that I only want to invest $150 (the price of a couple leggings, and a hoodie!) a month. It also means I can pay for fractions of a share. So I can say put $50 towards Apple every month, even if one share of apple is like $200/each right now. Or $40 towards Adobe might get me a little over 1. I didn’t realize this kind of thing was possible until last night. It’s also nice because I don’t plan on being one of those day-traders that’s constantly doing it. I’d rather just have it going on in the background of my life but still be able to check up on them occasionally.
So I guess we’ll see how that goes. This could all be a complete failure of an experiment but maybe it’ll at least be educational. Like I said, I’m not sinking a ton into it. Do any of you invest in any stocks yet? I feel kind of lame and boring blogging about it, but I don’t really know who to talk to about it.
* P.S. If you’re interested in ShareBuilder at all I can email you an invite that gives you a $25 account bonus