Where did you first learn about investing?

Discuss all general (i.e. non-personal) investing questions and issues, investing news, and theory.
Tallis
Posts: 42
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:23 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Tallis » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:56 am

My parents were children of the Depression, and would have nothing to do with the stock market. Fortunately, they had a defined-benefit pension. The one finance thing I learned from them is "Don't invest with family."

When I first started working in the early 90s I knew I had to open an IRA, and somehow (Motley Fool?) heard of the S&P 500 Index, but didn't hear about Vanguard. I dutifully invested $166 every month in a Dreyfus S&P 500 Fund. I think I chose that company because my girlfriend had an account with them. In 98 or 99 I read one of Bogle's books, and learned about the importance of fund expenses. I moved to the Vanguard S&P 500 and never looked back. I don't think that I've ever owned an actively managed stock fund.

User avatar
Ice-9
Posts: 1207
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:40 pm
Location: Rockville, MD

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Ice-9 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:03 pm

1998: Kept hearing from coworkers, "Don't just let your money sit in a bank account. DO SOMETHING with it!" At age 25, had no idea how to go about that, so I asked my bank. <shakes head at my younger self> They were happy to set me up with a taxable account full of redundant large cap domestic funds with loads and 12b-1 fees!

2005: Finally asked one of my more knowledgeable friends for introductory advice on what I should be doing investing-wise. Quickly learned about Roth IRAs and index funds. Read Investing for Dummies as well as Rick Ferri's All About Index Funds to learn more of the basics. Found Vanguard Diehards forum on Morningstar. Embarrassed at my initial investment attempts, I ate the back end load fees and set up Vanguard account, where I transferred all my taxable funds and also started a Roth. Started reading both William Bernstein and Larry Swedroe to help determine an appropriate target asset allocation.

User avatar
Optmst
Posts: 16
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:38 am
Location: USA is home, but traveling now
Contact:

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Optmst » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:05 pm

I opened my first stock account in 1969, and bought a few shares of IBM because it was the safest stock I could think of. I needed the money less than a year later, and had to sell at a loss. That soured me on "investing" until I learned more about what to do and what to avoid. Two years later, I read books by Harry Browne (How you can Profit from the coming devaluation, etc.). His confident assurance that the price of gold would increase substantially was exciting. By 1979, gold rose to more than $400, and I bought my first futures contract, only to be stopped out at a loss when gold dropped back to my sell stop at $395. I then watched from the sidelines as gold soared to $850. In 1980, Nelson Bunker Hunt was forced to liquidate his silver holdings, and silver crashed from $50 to $10. I bought a lot of silver on the rebound at $15, and sold most of it near $25. That $10 move in silver created more profits than I thought possible, and the experience convinced me that I knew what I was doing in the futures markets. Unfortunately, I soon learned that there were many more lessons I had to learn, and the cost of tuition in the school of hard knocks was very high. My summary of that experience is (1) it is better sometimes to be lucky than smart, and (2) a fool and his money are soon parted. I slowly learned that buying good stocks (and sometimes writing call options against them for added income) is a slower, but much safer way to invest.
I'm not as concerned about the return on my money as I am the return of my money. (Often attributed to Will Rogers)

Mr. Digweed
Posts: 95
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 11:22 am

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Mr. Digweed » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:12 pm

My dad, who learned from the insights of a college classmate, John Marks Templeton.

User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 2720
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:13 pm

From the time I was 18, my mom would send me to every investment, get rich, prosper in R/E, etc, etc, seminar that had arrived in town. Invitations courtesy of her vast financial network and connections. When I came home she'd ask me what I learned and what they presented. Then she proceeded to poke holes in everything until I realized that everything I learned was a complete waste of time. . . . Though she would point out the few jewels of information that each one had.. . . The last one I went to was at least 3 decades ago. It was on R/E. I lasted about 10 minutes then walked out.
j :D

User avatar
iceport
Posts: 3333
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 4:29 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by iceport » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:28 pm

Personal finance journalist Jonathan Clements was, by far, the single person or place most responsible for my investing "awakening."

My introduction to basic sound investing principles was quite accidental. In the early and mid-1990s, when poring over the home real estate offerings in the Hartford Courant every Sunday, I found myself drawn to the writing of the Jonathan Clements' WSJ column, Getting Going. I continued to read with interest for many years thereafter, but never took his message to heart until a few years after the dot.com bust. (I was embarrassingly slow on the uptake.) His approach seemed reasonable enough, but just didn't strike me as aggressive or ambitious enough. I thought I could do better!

Then a few years after the dot.com bust, after I had become disillusioned enough of my own abilities, Clements reported that the CAGR of his portfolio had been "clicking along" at about x% over a period spanning the recession. Whatever that return was, it seemed phenomenal to me at the time. And that was my "Aha!" moment. I finally realized the value of diversification, and saw the use of index funds to harness the market returns less as a timid or lazy crutch and more like a sophisticated and ingenious way to invest.

After that epiphany, I bought his latest book — You've Lost It, Now What? (How to Beat the Bear Market and Retire On Time) — and the back pages included a reference to the Vanguard Diehards at Morningstar.com. The rest is history.

To Jonathan Clements: A most sincere and heart-felt Thank You! I will be forever grateful.
"Discipline matters more than allocation.” ─William Bernstein

User avatar
buccimane
Posts: 163
Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:34 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by buccimane » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:21 pm

John Oliver, host of Last Week Tonight, introduced me to this world. As described in the video below, he learned about index investing after looking at his own 401k contribution through HBO which was riddled with fees.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvZSpET11ZY


Rather than recommending BogleHeads, I typically show this video to people who ask me anything regarding my personal investments. If they come back to me after viewing, I then introduce this website. :moneybag
A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still

DrGoogle2017
Posts: 659
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:31 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:26 pm

I have to thank both of my first tech team leaders that I’ve worked with in my first job out of college, one was married to a professor at Harvard Business School, he is now a professor at Princeton, the other also graduated from Yale with PhD degree in CS. They both told me to NOT be too focused on work and spend at least 10% on something else. I think they both introduced me to read the WSJ. We had a small library at work, so that’s how I got started.

Hukedonfonix4me
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:00 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Hukedonfonix4me » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:39 pm

My parents at a young age noticed my curiosity and encouraged me to open a bank checking account. After seeing first hand the possibility of accruing interest, I started asking questions. Where can I get more of this magical interest money? How does compound interest work? When can I spend the money?

I was let down at the time when I was told you invest the money forever. I couldn't wrap my head around that for years, but as my parents seemed to be correct when it came to such things, I plugged away as I was able (gifts, lemonade stands and such).

As I got older and started working. A custodial Roth account was my first true investment account and was opened with the Vanguard S&P 500 index fund. This became my baseline. I would work during summer/winter breaks and put 1/2 in the Roth and 1/2 for spending. This was done through college without any additional real knowledge. Not enough money to max out and invest elsewhere, so not much more to learn yet...

Fast forward, first real job with 401k. Maxed employer match contributions and worked up to maxing Roth. Once I maxed Roth, I went back to 401k and increased yearly.

Now I knew I had a Roth and 401k but didn't have a clue what fund options were in the 401k. This is where the fun began! I started asking about the funds in the 401k and what they meant. This was the most difficult leg of my journey so far. You don't know what you don't know.

While family was essential in providing initial footing, they wanted me to blaze my own financial trail and learn by reading and understanding at my own pace. Basic principles and investing rules of thumb was all I could squeeze from this resource.

I contacted a "very good" friend from college who had just finished the CFA program after BA in business and MBA in finance. I heard nothing *crickets*. I tried another friend who received a masters in mathematics and was working for a financial institution. They actually sat down with me and we spoke for at least an hour. When I mentioned being interested in working with a fee only fiduciary, the relationship ended before it started. This was when I truly realized no one cares about your situation (financial or otherwise) more than yourself.

I began listening to financial/lifestyle podcasts on my commute in lieu of the radio. This led me to online blogs and I immersed myself within this financial literacy community. I also got married and needed to learn how to merge our financial priorities, accounts, and understand our portfolio holistically from expense ratios to asset allocation. Fortunately, neither of us made irrevocable choices and had a similar outlook on life.

During this immersion period, I found this beautiful board and realized I was an unfound boglehead all along and just needed to be pointed in the right direction.

I thank you all for the time, patience, knowledge, and wisdom provided to those who seek it. I know that my wife and I will be forever grateful.
"While some mutual fund founders chose to make billions, he chose to make a difference." | -The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing

User avatar
nedsaid
Posts: 8821
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:33 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by nedsaid » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:50 pm

Wall $treet Week with Louis Rukeyser.
A fool and his money are good for business.

User avatar
arcticpineapplecorp.
Posts: 2355
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:34 pm

Optmst wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:05 pm
I opened my first stock account in 1969, and bought a few shares of IBM because it was the safest stock I could think of. I needed the money less than a year later, and had to sell at a loss. That soured me on "investing" until I learned more about what to do and what to avoid. Two years later, I read books by Harry Browne (How you can Profit from the coming devaluation, etc.). His confident assurance that the price of gold would increase substantially was exciting. By 1979, gold rose to more than $400, and I bought my first futures contract, only to be stopped out at a loss when gold dropped back to my sell stop at $395. I then watched from the sidelines as gold soared to $850. In 1980, Nelson Bunker Hunt was forced to liquidate his silver holdings, and silver crashed from $50 to $10. I bought a lot of silver on the rebound at $15, and sold most of it near $25. That $10 move in silver created more profits than I thought possible, and the experience convinced me that I knew what I was doing in the futures markets. Unfortunately, I soon learned that there were many more lessons I had to learn, and the cost of tuition in the school of hard knocks was very high. My summary of that experience is (1) it is better sometimes to be lucky than smart, and (2) a fool and his money are soon parted. I slowly learned that buying good stocks (and sometimes writing call options against them for added income) is a slower, but much safer way to invest.
very nice first post. Welcome to the group.

Piggybacking on what you said, I just recently heard a study that showed that 92%-98% of investment performance is attributable to luck:

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/when- ... 2017-11-13

Also on the same podcast it might have been Mark Hulbert himself (or possibly Paul Merriman) who stated that Ph.Ds do no better than high school dropouts when it comes to investing performance. So it's definitely not education or so called intelligence that makes certain people better investors than others.
Last edited by arcticpineapplecorp. on Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Invest we must." -- Jack Bogle | “The purpose of investing is not to simply optimise returns and make yourself rich. The purpose is not to die poor.” -- William Bernstein

CookEMstr
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:56 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by CookEMstr » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:37 pm

goingup wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:40 am
CookEMstr wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:06 pm
My co-worker retired at 55yr old. I had never seen this before, I thought that was young to retire and then I was interested to do the same! I asked him for advice and he told me about Jack Bogle, Vanguard, index funds, and S&P 500. I read Jack Bogle's Common Sense to Mutual Funds, then Random Walk, then found Bogleheads. I am no longer in contact with my coworker but he changed my life, and I am forever grateful!
Great post! Welcome to the forum!
Thanks for the welcome! I have been visiting the site for over a year and felt compelled to finally join when reading this thread. My coworker got me going on the journey and I continue to learn from this great forum.

A440
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:46 am
Location: NJ

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by A440 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:08 am

Age 19. My friend's dad told me about Vanguard. Then I read Vanguard's "Facts on Funds" and Bogle's "Little Book of Common Sense Investing". I opened a T-IRA that same year.

I now have the privilege to teach a Teen Finance and Stock Market Game elective to my 7th grade students. Some important concepts include: Debt, Budgeting, Compounding, Stocks/Bonds/Mutual Funds, Taxes. We always have great discussions, for which I can never plan in my lessons :D . They are always amazed how they can own thousands of stocks by owning just one index fund. "Buy the haystack, not the needle"

Dandy
Posts: 4814
Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Dandy » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:14 am

I had what many would think was a great background for investing. BA in Accounting, MBA in Finance, Ran several mutual fund call centers and processing areas, passed a Series 6 and 63 which created a license to sell and supervise mutual fund sales (my job called for neither). And what did this background teach me about investing? Nothing. Ok, I knew what a stock was and what a bond was but nothing about how to invest wisely.

On a business trip I read a library copy of the Four Pillars of Investing. Later, Bogle's book on investing and the Boglehead's forum. Now things started to make sense. In retirement, I read Dr. Bernstein's idea that if you have enough stop playing and that helped me structure my retirement investments in a helpful way rather than just continuing on the approach used, successfully, during the accumulation stage.

User avatar
arcticpineapplecorp.
Posts: 2355
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:21 am

A440 wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:08 am
Age 19. My friend's dad told me about Vanguard. Then I read Vanguard's "Facts on Funds" and Bogle's "Little Book of Common Sense Investing". I opened a T-IRA that same year.

I now have the privilege to teach a Teen Finance and Stock Market Game elective to my 7th grade students. Some important concepts include: Debt, Budgeting, Compounding, Stocks/Bonds/Mutual Funds, Taxes. We always have great discussions, for which I can never plan in my lessons :D . They are always amazed how they can own thousands of stocks by owning just one index fund. "Buy the haystack, not the needle"
Sounds much more in depth than what I got as a teenager...which was just The Stock Market Game.

Sorry to hijack the thread, but how does it go when you teach the Stock Market Game? Clearly there's winners and losers. Do you compare the return to the market? Even still, some of the teens' picks might beat the market over the time period you're playing the game. How do they learn they were just lucky to beat the market over the short term (not skillful) but not as likely to be lucky over the long term? I'd prefer never to teach that game, but since you have to I'm wondering how you deal with them learning that gambling on stocks can be fun and profitable in the short term, which really teaches the wrong lesson overall. Thanks for any input you can provide.
"Invest we must." -- Jack Bogle | “The purpose of investing is not to simply optimise returns and make yourself rich. The purpose is not to die poor.” -- William Bernstein

youngpleb
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:06 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by youngpleb » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:03 am

I started off by reading a Dave Ramsey book (lol ironic :mrgreen: ) to get a feel for budgeting since I had just finished grad school and entered the workforce. That kind of triggered my interest in investing, so then I read the gateway drug known as "Boglehead's Guide to Investing" and became enlightened. After that, it was Bernstein's "Four Pillars of Investing" then followed by "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" along with a lot of reading and occasional posting on here! I've got Ferri's "All About Asset Allocation," Bogle's "Common Sense on Mutual Funds," and Bernstein's "Rational Expectations" books lined up in the pipeline as well. I like to read a lot, because I am still fairly new and can feel the impulsive draw of over-complicating my portfolio, and these guys and their writings help keep me sane so I can develop good investing habits :happy

Nowizard
Posts: 1212
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Nowizard » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:05 am

Articpineapplecorp: I agree that luck plays a large part in investing, at least initially, when naïve. That is definitely the case with our portfolio as originally posted in this thread. However, I believe it is equally accurate to say that though luck plays a huge role in large gains (or losses), the steady approach recommended by Bogleheads offers the avenue to more predictable, long term success.

Tim

User avatar
steadyeddy
Posts: 663
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:01 pm
Location: The Alps of the Midwest

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by steadyeddy » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:24 am

My grandma gave me one share of stock and a book about investing for my 10th birthday. From then on, I would follow that stock’s price in the newspaper nearly every day.

In college I discovered Motley Fool, where I learned a lot of important sounding nonsense.

A couple years later I found Bogleheads. It took me a while to acclimate from Fool’s discussions of how to achieve 18% CAGR to Bogleheads where people said they would eschew stocks entirely for 3% real growth.

I have to say that reading Bogleheads during the 2008 recession was the best investor education I ever received. I saw first hand that even “stay the course,” intellectually driven investors suffer from behavioral errors and overconfidence in their risk appetite. Many posts at that time advocated for lifelong 50/50 allocations, but here we are today with a lot of posters saying they have no bonds at all. We Bogleheads are not immune to recency bias, and it’s dangerous.

User avatar
EyeYield
Posts: 567
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:43 pm
Location: Extremistan

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by EyeYield » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:29 am

It was from my mother, she forced me to save and invest starting at the age of 12. I grew up poor, but my mother grew up poorer. She swore she would never again have to stretch the life of a pair of shoes by putting cardboard inside to cover up the holes in the soles and she would be damned if her kids would have to.

I was forced to buy company stocks at an early age and I hated it!

My mother told me it was cheaper to buy stocks directly from the company and reinvest dividends thru their dividend reinvestment plans. She told me to pick a company (well she actually picked the first few) that had at least a fifty year history of paying dividends and pick one from each of the ten sectors of the S&P 500 and then go back and do it again.

It was a source of great childhood tension. Imagine a twelve year old having to allocate part of his paper route profits to a piece of paper with a company name on it. I wanted a new bicycle, but always had to negotiate the price of a used one.

I still have the first 6 stock certificates with my name and my mother's as Joint Tenents and now those co panties have over a hundred year history of paying dividends.

As much as I hated spending my hard earned, small job, profits on investing, (my mother matched me dollar for dollar early on as an incentive) the investing seeds were planted and I continued filling out the sectors as an adult. Luckily none of the companies have gone out of business.

It was only recently when I brought the majority of my DRIPs to my Morgan Stanley broker and received his advice on what to sell (most of them) and the front end loaded, high expense ratio, 12b1 fee funds that he recommended I buy, that I started looking for information that led me here, - to the recommended book list, which led me to leave MS. Over the past six years I have trimmed some of the stocks that were too large percentage wise and began indexing.

It's been a long road and my only regrets are 1) I didn't listen more to my mother and 2) learn about Jack Bogle sooner.
There was no such thing as an Index fund when I started my forced investing, but you can say I built my own. I think Mr. Bogle would like my mom.

A couple of notable tales about my mom, if I may be so proudly bold.

When my dad returned from overseas after the Second World War (he had sent all his pay checks to my mom so she could support herself), he asked her what she wanted to do and she replied, "buy a house". He laughed and asked, "with what"? She told him that she saved all the money he sent home, worked two jobs, saved most of that money too and had the necessary funds.

When I was sixteen my mother wanted to help me buy my first car. We found a used 1959 VW bug in the paper at a small used dealership for $400 and went to look at it. My mom offered $300. When the shop owner said he could not do that, but could offer financing at a very reasonable interest rate, my mother leaned in, looked him straight in the eye and sternly said, "I don't pay interest, I earn it!" We got the car for $325 cash.

This apple didn't fall far from the tree.
"The stock market is a giant distraction from the business of investing." - Jack Bogle

User avatar
arcticpineapplecorp.
Posts: 2355
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:55 am

EyeYield wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:29 am
It was from my mother, she forced me to save and invest starting at the age of 12. I grew up poor, but my mother grew up poorer. She swore she would never again have to stretch the life of a pair of shoes by putting cardboard inside to cover up the holes in the soles and she would be damned if her kids would have to.

I was forced to buy company stocks at an early age and I hated it!

My mother told me it was cheaper to buy stocks directly from the company and reinvest dividends thru their dividend reinvestment plans. She told me to pick a company (well she actually picked the first few) that had at least a fifty year history of paying dividends and pick one from each of the ten sectors of the S&P 500 and then go back and do it again.

It was a source of great childhood tension. Imagine a twelve year old having to allocate part of his paper route profits to a piece of paper with a company name on it. I wanted a new bicycle, but always had to negotiate the price of a used one.

I still have the first 6 stock certificates with my name and my mother's as Joint Tenents and now those co panties have over a hundred year history of paying dividends.

As much as I hated spending my hard earned, small job, profits on investing, (my mother matched me dollar for dollar early on as an incentive) the investing seeds were planted and I continued filling out the sectors as an adult. Luckily none of the companies have gone out of business.

It was only recently when I brought the majority of my DRIPs to my Morgan Stanley broker and received his advice on what to sell (most of them) and the front end loaded, high expense ratio, 12b1 fee funds that he recommended I buy, that I started looking for information that led me here, - to the recommended book list, which led me to leave MS. Over the past six years I have trimmed some of the stocks that were too large percentage wise and began indexing.

It's been a long road and my only regrets are 1) I didn't listen more to my mother and 2) learn about Jack Bogle sooner.
There was no such thing as an Index fund when I started my forced investing, but you can say I built my own. I think Mr. Bogle would like my mom.

A couple of notable tales about my mom, if I may be so proudly bold.

When my dad returned from overseas after the Second World War (he had sent all his pay checks to my mom so she could support herself), he asked her what she wanted to do and she replied, "buy a house". He laughed and asked, "with what"? She told him that she saved all the money he sent home, worked two jobs, saved most of that money too and had the necessary funds.

When I was sixteen my mother wanted to help me buy my first car. We found a used 1959 VW bug in the paper at a small used dealership for $400 and went to look at it. My mom offered $300. When the shop owner said he could not do that, but could offer financing at a very reasonable interest rate, my mother leaned in, looked him straight in the eye and sternly said, "I don't pay interest, I earn it!" We got the car for $325 cash.

This apple didn't fall far from the tree.
great story. thanks for sharing!
"Invest we must." -- Jack Bogle | “The purpose of investing is not to simply optimise returns and make yourself rich. The purpose is not to die poor.” -- William Bernstein

User avatar
arcticpineapplecorp.
Posts: 2355
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2012 9:22 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:58 am

Nowizard wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:05 am
Articpineapplecorp: I agree that luck plays a large part in investing, at least initially, when naïve. That is definitely the case with our portfolio as originally posted in this thread. However, I believe it is equally accurate to say that though luck plays a huge role in large gains (or losses), the steady approach recommended by Bogleheads offers the avenue to more predictable, long term success.

Tim
but luck actually plays a role all along. For instance, Warren Buffett has even admitted that the particular time period he started investing was at least partially responsible for his good forutne. We know about sequence of returns. Someone starting to invest at one period of time is going to have different returns from another person investing at the start of a different period of time, despite both investing in the same thing, like the total market. Hopefully, returns will be close, but there's been a dispersion of returns. Someone earning 10% from the market nominal will do better than someone who earned 8% nominal from the market just because each happened to start investing at diferent times. That's called luck. And that does play a role in all of our investing whether we care to believe that or not.
"Invest we must." -- Jack Bogle | “The purpose of investing is not to simply optimise returns and make yourself rich. The purpose is not to die poor.” -- William Bernstein

RVosen
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:00 am

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by RVosen » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:05 pm

The one that sticks out to me is my high school econ class. Learned about the magic of compound interest then. I still didn't really understand how you could actually invest and make money though. It was a few years later when I thought I had it figured out and walked into an Edward Jones office to set up an account. After a few years of not being happy with my advisor and learning more about cheap index funds I made the change to vangaurd.

snarlyjack
Posts: 496
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 12:44 pm
Location: Montana

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by snarlyjack » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:16 pm

I graduated with a B.S. degree in Finance from the U of M.

My studies in Finance & Economics were very interesting
to me. It all makes sense & I enjoy studying it. It's both
a art & science. The 8th wonder of the world is compounding.

User avatar
steadyeddy
Posts: 663
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:01 pm
Location: The Alps of the Midwest

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by steadyeddy » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:34 pm

snarlyjack wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:16 pm
I graduated with a B.S. degree in Finance from the U of M.

My studies in Finance & Economics were very interesting
to me. It all makes sense & I enjoy studying it. It's both
a art & science. The 8th wonder of the world is compounding.
Gophers or Wolverines?

WildBill
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:47 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by WildBill » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:54 pm

Howdy

Could be Terrapins.

Or Ole Miss?

W B
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

snarlyjack
Posts: 496
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 12:44 pm
Location: Montana

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by snarlyjack » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:17 pm

(It's half time Saturday afternoon football).

University Of Montana Grizzlies vs. Montana State University Bobcats.
Brawl of the wild in Montana...Go Grizzlies.
One of the oldest rivalry games in the USA, 117 Games (football since 1900).

garlandwhizzer
Posts: 1661
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:42 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by garlandwhizzer » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:48 pm

I think my first and most persistent teacher has been the school of hard knocks. Making investment mistakes and behavioral errors actually turns out to be an effective teacher. Losing money is a potent stimulus for long term memory retention. Missing the opportunity when the gift horse is knocking on your door carries less emotionally impact but has the potential to be a good teacher. Through the experience of a few bear markets you learn what your true risk tolerance is, really the best way to know. This determines how many risky assets you can emotionally deal with in your portfolio. Experience can be an effective teacher but the important thing is not experience but how you respond to it. If you don't give up and learn from your past mistakes you can be a better investor going forward without following an investment maven.

I didn't start reading investment books until I retired. Before retiring, all I had time to do was listen to Bob Brinker's weekly radio broadcast on the weekends from time to time. I know Bob has a spotty reputation on this Forum but he is IMO usually sound with his advice and insight. No one, without exception, is always right with every piece of advice. I have been retired for a long time and have read multiple investment books including Bogle, Swedroe, Bernstein, and Rick Ferri, all of whom I consider to be experts offering sound advice. Interestingly there are points--some subtle, some substantial--on which these experts disagree. It is important IMO to look at the different points of view from various experts and decide for yourself which approach or combination of approaches is right for your particular circumstances, risk tolerance, and goals. As Taylor says there are many roads to Dublin.

Garland Whizzer

scrabbler1
Posts: 1998
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:39 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by scrabbler1 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:02 pm

If you define investing the way Jerry Seinfeld did in a "Seinfeld" episode ("make money without doing anything") then I first learned about it in a few ways as a kid growing up. The first was receiving a small dividend check every quarter from the one share of Ford Motor Company I was given by my uncle. I also followed the share price in the Sunday New York Times my dad subscribed to back in the 1960s and 1970s. Eventually, the stock had a 5-4 split and Ford bought back all the fractional shares, and after that I sold the one share.

Later on in my childhood, I would see interest being credited to my bank account's passbook whenever I had to make a rare deposit or withdrawal. Again, it was nice seeing myself become a little wealthier without doing anything.

I majored in Economics in college so I took lots of courses in that area as well as one in Finance 101, where I learned a lot more about finance and investing. When I started working, I began investing in a 401k. And after I bought my apartment, I began investing in mutual funds with my after-tax money.

Billionaire
Posts: 265
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:05 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Billionaire » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:44 pm

Back in the early 80's my grandfather starting giving me and my sisters shares of stocks. Wasn't the best way for him to give away his money, but I did not complain. Around the same time I started working for a large brokerage company on Wall Street in the accounting area. Those events, plus my background in accounting got me started. I made my first deductible IRA contribution in 1981 and took it from there.

User avatar
White Coat Investor
Posts: 12905
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Greatest Snow On Earth

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:20 am

Nowizard wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:19 pm
There are obviously many extremely knowledgeable people who willingly and helpfully share their expertise with the rest of us on this wonderful site. Each of us has a history of learning about the ongoing process of investing whether formally or self-taught. It would be interesting to know where people were first introduced to the topic.

Some of us, the OP included, grew up in families with little interest in investing, little money to do so, or both. My father was an extremely intelligent person, one about whom it was said with some seriousness that he was possibly the only living human being who knew every word in the English language. Words and ideas, yes, but no investing knowledge. In his later years he once asked if every stock price was one dollar.

Personally, I knew nothing more at that point than the fact that stock prices fluctuated, but it was the first time I knew more than my father on any topic. Investing the small amounts available first began with individual stocks before "learning" about something called "Diversification." That led to discovery of mutual funds, and since they were diversified, one fund obviously answered all investment questions. Fortunately, the ignorant are sometimes fortunate and placing all assets into Michael Price's Mutual Shares fund and, later, all assets into Vanguard Healthcare Fund during the best days of each resulted in substantial appreciation with both funds. Knowledge and luck have brought us to the point of being financially secure in retirement. There is more to the story, but that was the start. If you think others would be interested in your introduction, please post.

Tim
Bits and pieces mostly, but the big boom was picking up Eric Tyson's Mutual Funds for Dummies in the summer of 2004. First time I heard of Vanguard was in that book. Became a DIYer a few months later. Wandered onto the Morningstar Vanguard Diehards forum a few months after that.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

User avatar
6miths
Posts: 640
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by 6miths » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:43 am

My father and maternal grandmother who was widowed at young age with 6 young children. Then the books on the reading list.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

Ragnoth
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:10 am

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Ragnoth » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:09 am

My Grandfather gave me a copy of "winning the loser's game" when I was a young teen. He always stressed the importance on indexing, and recommended Vanguard funds to anybody who would listen.

A bit tongue in cheek, my financier uncle gave me my first stock the next Christmas, a single share of "circus circus enterprises" (a casino-gaming group that later got bought out).

That said, the two of them were always full of folksy wisdom about keeping fees low, holding for the long term, diversification, and ignoring day to day fluctuations.

When I finally started earning my own money, my first ever purchase was a couple thousand dollars of Berkshire Hathaway (and in a great stroke of dumb luck, it spiked up 7% the next day). After that, I would just sock some money into Vanguard funds every month like clockwork.

I was in grad school when I first started, and I had plenty of free time to read up on the classic investing books. I would try things out as I read (fundamental analysis, technical analysis, options, etc.) but it was never a sizable part of my portfolio. It's was certainly fun, but tracking each of these little "experiments" over time it was clear that they never did much better that the market in aggregate.

retiredjg
Posts: 30785
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by retiredjg » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:10 am

At the dinner table when I was a kid. I only learned two things - diversify and don't sell during a crash. I never paid much attention to the little I had, but I did diversify and I didn't sell during the crashes (probably because I was not watching).

In my 30's I stumbled on The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need by Tobias. I learned a few things about basic finance (including marginal tax rates) and some things to avoid - stupid stuff with mortgages, loans, etc. I still recommend that book frequently.

After retirement, I stumbled onto Bogleheads....

User avatar
midareff
Posts: 5091
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:43 am
Location: Biscayne Bay, South Florida

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by midareff » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:28 am

At the dinner table when I was finally big enough to sit there.. call it about 1952. Buy, hold and get the dividends every quarter. Dad listened to the stock market report every day on the radio as my folks saved for their retirement, which was 1964. I started about 1970 as part of an employer's payroll stock purchase program. That later became a deferred compensation investment program about 1982 and somewhere around the mid to late 1990's I learned from a book called the The Four Pillars of Investing by Bill Bernstein and that turned the lights on. Discovered the Bogleheads and Vanguard and off to the races.

JW-Retired
Posts: 6521
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:25 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by JW-Retired » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:52 am

From Grandpa in the 1950's. He had sold the last investment property the depression left him with and bought dividend stocks for he and Grandma to live on. When his vision deteriorated I got drafted to help them keep track of them. Their portfolio was mostly buy and hold utilities and there was very little trading as brokerage fees were so large.

He had little stock investment insight to pass on but I do think me learning some of the nuts & bolts of it was pretty useful. It was the first thing I thought of when wife and I finally had some money to invest in the 1970's.
JW
Retired at Last

blarg
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:49 am

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by blarg » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:02 am

My father started investing seriously in his 40s when his company started offering a 401k. He tried to teach me some things over time but I was a teenager and the only way I could have cared less was if they were teaching it at school. He did manage to retire with a decent nest egg on a factory worker's pay, so he must've been doing something right.

I first got interested in the early 2000s when I came across the Motley Fool website while trying to figure out how to pay bills. Of course, shortly after that the dot-coms went bust and I graduated college, so was concerned primarily with food and rent for quite a while after. But poring over that website planted the seeds.
"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

scrabbler1
Posts: 1998
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:39 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by scrabbler1 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:54 am

On the lighter side, I forgot to mention another little thing I learned about investing. It was from a "Flintstones" episode I watched as a kid where Fred pretends he is some high-society bigshot. When asked how he made his fortune, he gives this simple reply: "Buy low, sell high!" :mrgreen:

montanagirl
Posts: 817
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:55 pm
Location: Montana

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by montanagirl » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:59 am

I watched Wall Street Week for years, when I had little to invest. I ate my heart out in 1982 because things were so depressed and it looked like a buying opportunity. I did buy some of the panel's recommended stocks like Storer Comm and Dow Chemicals, but sold when I went back to school. There I took a personal finance class and some accounting. In the finance class the big takeaway was to avoid fancy life insurance deals.

When I was finally ready to invest, at the tender age of 45, I got a copy of Money magazine to study the fund tables in back and get the lay of the land. I think I started Twentieth Century Ultra when it was roaring hot. Money was always good about recommending no load funds and I'm sure that's where I first read about Vanguard. Got to admit I liked their cautionary case studies too.

I didn't find Bogleheads until much later, and this is where I learned all about SS claiming strategies and Medicare supplements.

One more year to 70! :sharebeer

minesweep
Posts: 1150
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:17 pm
Location: PA

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by minesweep » Sun Nov 19, 2017 12:04 pm

Another shout out to Wall Street Week (way back in the 1970's).

User avatar
stemikger
Posts: 4583
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by stemikger » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:11 pm

My interest started shortly after I got married 25 years ago. I believe I read a book called Get Rich Slow and then I became obsessed. I started reading everything I could get my hands on when it came to personal finance and investing. The turning point for me was David Bach's book The Automatic Millionaire. That book really lit my fire and after that I was hooked.

My education led me here and after all these years I finally found the Yoda of investing. Mr. John Bogle!!
Choose Simplicity ~ Stay the Course!! ~ Press on Regardless!!!

chw
Posts: 327
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 4:22 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by chw » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:36 pm

I learned about mutual fund investing from my grandfather in the 1970s. He was an early investor in American Funds, American Mutual Fund in the 1950s. He was a machinist and shop steward at his company, and sold mutual funds to his co-workers part time. My grandfather had no formal education, and I don't know how he came to be a part time salesman for AF, but he had was always a bit of a non-conformist. He invested his commissions into shares, and held them (reinvesting all dividends along the way) until retirement (my grandparents then used dividends to partly fund their retirement).

His discussions were helpful a decade later when I had discretionary funds to invest, and made the plunge with Fidelity actively managed funds. It's been an educational journey since then, but this forum is by far the best resource for the DIY investor that is committed to managing their own finances.

User avatar
Sunflower
Posts: 395
Joined: Sun Nov 18, 2007 2:23 am
Location: Ess Eff, CA

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Sunflower » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:50 pm

Grew up with unknowledgeable parents who only invested in government savings bonds. Luckily, Father had a stable federal government job and pension. In my early 20's a co-worker told me to open an IRA. I asked why and was told "because you're so young." I planned to, but tomorrow never came. In my late 20's there was a mandatory 401k meeting for young folks and new employees. I knew contributing was the right thing to do, but wanted to enjoy all my money now, so went along kicking and screaming. Now, I'd like to reach through time and strangle that girl for only allocating such a small percentage. Luckily, the company contributed 10% of income, and continues to do so.

In my mid-40's a co-worker told me he was going to open a Roth IRA. I'd heard of them, they we're on everyone's lips, but I didn't know anything about them. But I wasn't going to be left behind! I openly said to a group of co-workers that I wanted to open a Roth IRA, but didn't know which company. Someone said "Vanguard is a good company," and someone else chimed in, "Yeah, they're good."

So that was decided, but I had no idea which fund to buy. I did a Google search for "most popular Vanguard fund," or something similar. Lol. The 500 fund popped up consistently, so that's the one I chose. No sooner do I buy in that I find Diehards at Morningstar and discover I bought into the "wrong" fund. So I traded to Total Stock Market and eventually added a few other funds.

I continued to lurk at Morningstar and when Bogleheads was soon created thereafter, I followed the exodus and joined. I still learn, every day, and still enjoy it.

I wish I could tell my now deceased parents how I'm in the two comma club; they'd be proud and flabbergasted. Maybe they know.

flyingaway
Posts: 1522
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by flyingaway » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:29 pm

I have not read anything like a book yet (too frugal to spend money on a book). I started reading online materials on investment in 2009 after I lost my ambition of my career in 2007. Right now, most of my investment knowledge comes from this board. I have been a saver all my life even before I became interested in investing.

User avatar
GerryL
Posts: 1451
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:40 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by GerryL » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:52 am

flyingaway wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:29 pm
I have not read anything like a book yet (too frugal to spend money on a book).
One word: Library.

Signed, A (retired) Librarian.

flyingaway
Posts: 1522
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by flyingaway » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:31 am

GerryL wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:52 am
flyingaway wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:29 pm
I have not read anything like a book yet (too frugal to spend money on a book).
One word: Library.

Signed, A (retired) Librarian.
Honestly speaking, I did check the library for a Boglehead investment guide book for my wife, but it was not available.

gnujoe2001
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:21 am

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by gnujoe2001 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:11 pm

Long ago, SmartMoney's website had some sort of Investing 101 primer, that went over basic, stocks, bonds, mutual fund concepts. They also discussed other topics like options and margin but was quick to add disclaimer in so many texts to keep it simple. And about that time, Motley Fool used to have a radio show on NPR.

Allan
Posts: 770
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: Houston

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by Allan » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:21 pm

I learned from reading this book by Venita Van Caspel:

https://www.amazon.com/Money-Dynamics-E ... Van+Caspel

gouldnm
Posts: 518
Joined: Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:54 pm

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by gouldnm » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:44 pm

I learned mostly by dumb luck.

My parents grew up during the Great Depression and instilled in me the importance of saving. Nothing about strategy or compounding interest, just that it was important to save.

When I was 23, I came across $10,000 (long story) and didn't know what to do with it. My father had me set up an IRA account at Vanguard. He only knew about it because he had taken a job at the University of Chicago medical school, and their retirement plan was set up through Vanguard (I guess those folks at the U of C Business School knew what they were doing!). My father knew nothing about index funds or low cost investing--he just recommended Vanguard, since that's who his employer was using.

A few years later, my husband's best friend had just started working as an investor on Wall Street. He explained the principal of compounding to us.

A few years after that, I got a job working for the Federal Government, which gave me access to the Thrift Savings Plan, which is even cheaper than Vanguard. I still kept my account at Vanguard, but now I also had access to the TSP.

I really knew nothing about investing and let my husband completely manage our investments. I didn't even know the password to our accounts! He really didn't know what he was doing, and he put everything we had into stocks--but that wasn't completely dumb, since we were still very young. When we got divorced, I suddenly realized that I needed to learn about investing. I took a basics class through my local community college, and the one thing I got out of it was that index funds are the way to go. Then I stumbled upon Bernstein's "Four Pillars of Investing", where I learned about asset allocation.

The amazing thing is that before I was in my 40's, the only thing I knew how to do was save, save, save! That was my only strategy was to just save as much as I could. But, fortunately, I was already invested in low cost index funds through Vanguard and the TSP, and I learned about asset allocation just as I reached middle age (and was no longer completely in the accumulation phase).

By the time I found Bogleheads, I learned that I was already doing everything right!

Talk about dumb luck!

User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 34318
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: Where did you first learn about investing?

Post by nisiprius » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:53 pm

That's an interesting question. I think the best answer is that I learned about it in a fourth-grade field trip to New York City (I lived in a suburb) where we visited the New York Stock Exchange, the New York Federal Reserve, and the Morgan Library.

What I mostly remember about the New York Stock Exchange was a conference room where the carpet--reddish, I think--was so deep that it felt like walking across a mattress, and it seemed as if your feet sank in several inches. I mean, it was hard to walk, like walking in sand. But luxurious.

But I also remember, absolutely for sure, that someone explained the difference between common stock and preferred stock. To fourth graders! Weird! Apparently it was a Frequently Asked Question, "So what is the difference between common stock and preferred stock," so they answered it whether or not anyone asked. Any discussion of investing mentioned it, and if people meant common stock, they said "common stock," never just "stock."

At the Federal Reserve, I saw a million dollars in paper currency--I think it was just one-dollar bills, in fact--stacked on a table that wasn't actually all that large. I think I have a vague recollection of seeing gold bars stacked up behind a grille, but I wouldn't swear to it in a court of law. Kinda funny how everybody knows about Fort Knox and hardly anyone seems to know about the New York Federal Reserve. There's actually more gold there than there is at Fort Knox. I wonder why Goldfinger chose Fort Knox?

At the Morgan Library we saw a Gutenberg Bible and talked to the curator whose job it was to turn one page every day.

But I didn't take any personal investing actions until the day they asked me how much of my TIAA-CREF contributions should be allocated to TIAA and how much to CREF.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

Post Reply