Judging by how quickly many of you (who I don't personally know) subscribed in just a few minutes today, it's clear we all wanna know how to be rich thanks to the stock market, but, like, don't friggin' understand it.
Me either. But I've been bumbling my way through it in the last month or so and am now obsessed with watching my tiny baby stocks — aka my money — grow.
My financial ~philosophy~ (lol) is that it turns out you don't actually need thousands to invest in stock (some stocks only cost a few dollars?! Currently New York Times Company (NYT) stock costs $25.50ish and this time last year cost $14.70. You could just buy one, there is no rule) and that you can use your money to invest in stuff you believe in. I want to invest in women-led companies (not just cause sexual harassment scandals aren't good for business), although I have not yet done so cause there are so few of them and I don't want to buy Pepsi stock cause it rots your teeth. I also don't want to buy anything I don't understand.
Y'all should know me well enough but if not, my name is Amber Jamieson, I'm a breaking news reporter at BuzzFeed News (this newsletter has NOTHING to do with my employer or work there), and I'm a journalist in NYC meaning I am used to having little to no savings.
Thanks to a buyout from leaving The Guardian US last year, suddenly I had a few thousand dollars. I opened a high interest savings account with Ally Bank (online only, no fees) and was like 'great, now if I get fired again cause journalism, I will be able to pay rent for a few months.'
Except then I read the Barefoot Investor, a book everyone in Australia is obsessed with (it was the number 1 book sold there last year), and it pointed out that banks pay such incredibly low interest — usually 1% mark, highest I've found is Marcus by Goldman Sachs (lol, literally Goldman Sachs trying to be 'cool and internet') who pay 1.50% — that basically your money never grows. The book mentions people who are ready for retirement and had carefully saved their money for decades but because they'd never invested it and just left it to sit in the bank, it hadn't ever grown.
In comparison, last year the stock market (well, the Dow, which is the average of the biggest 30 publicly traded companies in the US) (yes I just googled 'what is the Dow') was up 25%. Twenty five! Obviously it was a good year for stocks, etc etc, but in comparison my 1.45% from Ally felt like garbage.
Plus, several of my mates in Oz invested in medical marijuana (which is only just beginning to be legalized there) and their shares jumped significantly and suddenly buying stock seemed not too overwhelming. So when the stock market recently plummeted, I decided to try investing about $2000 in stocks (which to be clear, is not all of my savings), bit by bit, and see how it goes.
I'm not a financial advisor, I have two degrees in journalism and literally don't understand basic mathematical concepts, you may lose all your money, again I need to emphasis I have not even SOLD a stock, I am very very clueless, do not sue me, I don't get any sponsorship or money for any of this, none of the links are affiliates, etc etc.
How to buy a share
So! You need to open an investing account in order to buy stock, which is not just a normal bank account. I opened mine with Ally, since I already had other accounts with them, meaning it is nearly instant for me to transfer extra money into my investment account. Ally also costs $4.95 per stock trade (meaning, you've got to add that cost onto how much money you actually 'make'), which is pretty cheap.
After I opened mine, I heard about Robinhood, which charges zero commission for its trading, aka it costs nothing to buy a stock minus the price of the stock, but I'd have to open a whole new account and I fear that is bad for my credit score (maybe it's not, again, I am not money learned). So I would suggest Robinhood, cause bank fees are for idiots.
Signing up required a bunch of info — SSN, all your normal personal info, if I had a family member who was an exec of a major public corporation (only in my dreams), did I want to trade 'options' (I have no idea what options are, so I said no) — and then you need to transfer money from your normal bank account into your investing account. Once this is done (might take a few days), you can buy stuff!
But what to buy? Google is actually super great at giving you lots of info about a stock price — how much it's jumped today, last month, last 5 years etc. Just google "[company name] stock" and all the graphs appear.
My first purchase was Estée Lauder (EL), because I decided I wanted to invest in skincare. There's obviously been a crap ton written about skincare (including The Outline recently declaring it a con, and a million think pieces declaring that article a con) and I just think it will keep becoming a bigger thing for the mainstream, aka my mother is not yet using any acids on her skin. Estée Lauder owns Clinique, La Mer, Rodin, LAB series (a line for men) and obvs Estée Lauder. It also owns MAC, Smash Box, Tom Ford Beauty, Jo Malone, Bumble and Bumble, Bobbi Brown and Aveda, aka a crap ton of famous and good makeup brands, who doesn't love a MAC lipstick.
I also read about how their stocks jumped 66% (The Motley Fool, a news website about stocks, is the only one I've read written in plain English) in 2017, and that they were predicting more growth in 2018. Again, to clarify, I looked at zero financials, have no idea how much debt this company is, do not understand anything about its operating costs — I simply think that skincare will increase in popularity and also they have just grown really well over the last few years so figured they must be doing something decent.
So I bought five of them. I just paid market price as I didn't understand how to do it any differently (I do now, will talk about this in the future). I paid $133.92 on Feb 8 — and now they are trading at $143. Meaning, if I sold them today, I'd be up $45. I plan on... not selling any of my stock, for a while, but I'll also discuss that in the future.
I've bought stocks in two other companies since then — and am currently kicking myself that I didn't buy Netflix (NFLX) when it was selling for $250 on the day I bought the Estée Lauder shares. I tried buying some Netflix shares (literally two) for $277 on Friday, but they jumped too quickly and now they are selling for $293. I will probably buy some soon because who even owns a television. I am also wanting to buy shares in Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy, because they own the company that owns Fenty Beauty, but I am still confused by them because they trade on both US and French stock markets. Also I don't have that much money.
Here's a look at my whole share portfolio (lol). Will share this every week to see if I'm up or down.
I plan on writing this every Monday. Will see if that happens! It will also probably be MUCH shorter in the future. You can reply to this email with any feedback or advice (no mansplaining, thank you) and also please tell me if you've bought any shares, I am dying to hear if you do. You can tweet me @ambiej. And if you like this, plz forward to your friends. If you hate it, plz forward to your enemies.
And money is great and everything, but I also feel ethically bound to encourage you to donate some of your earnings to charity. This week, I suggest giving some clams to Everytown for Gun Safety.
Also we have the opposite of whatever is the Felix Salmon tick of approval, lol.