Welcome to Better Have My Money, my Monday night newsletter about investing, stocks and the messy world of markets.
Look, it’s Iowa caucus night, meaning that no one is paying attention to anything much except which Democrat candidate will win this first race and the fact that J.Lo is 50. So I’m going to keep tonight’s newsletter short — and also politics related. Relevant!
I try to avoid the ups and downs of what the markets are doing day to day — well I watch my stocks jump up and down but I don’t change my mind or respond differently, I just go “huh, interesting” and close my stocks apps. But, like me, you may have noticed 2020 has been a bit of a bummer for the market so far.
Last week the market had its worst week in six months. Coronavirus sent everyone into a panic, with stocks sliding partly thanks to a drop in demand for oil because of cancelled flights and people being quarantined (interesting the market sees the reduction of the use of a nonrenewable resource as a problem). Today, the first day the Chinese market was open since the Lunar New Year, saw stocks there have their worst day in five years.
There’s a decent chance the markets will *respond* in some way to whoever wins Iowa, particularly if it’s Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren (I’ve written before how Wall Street wets themselves in panic at the idea of bank regulation, looking at income inequality or breaking up big tech companies).
The mainstream media (I hate when people make sweeping generalizations about the media but here I go) usually only reports on markets when things are really up or really down. It’s either huge crashes or giant leaps and not just like a boring day when things are up a small regular amount.
Which means we can have pretty warped ideas on how the markets are doing *overall* and makes it seem that investing can be really, really risky — rather than a very historically safe way of making money — or that all news about the market being down means terrible things for the world, rather than… yeah, less oil is being used and Wall Street might not be allowed to continue paying its CEOs 100s of millions of dollars while its employees are on food stamps.
It’s been a minute since I did a check-in on my lil stock portfolio, so I figured today was a good time, since everything is a bit down.
I’ve bought nothing new in months — been putting all my extra cash into Ellevest and making sure my damn credit card is paid off each month. The last time we did a check in was last November, when I was up 22% overall.
Now I’m up 35% overall, despite several of my picks — my weed stocks Cronos, Roomba maker iRobot, Slack and Stitch Fix — being in the negative, and it supposedly being a bad time for the market. This money in a high yield savings account would be going up about 1.7% every year!
Again, a reminder that individual stock picking is the worst way to make money on stocks, the best way is to buy ETFs or other index funds that follow the market, I just like individual stocks cause they are FUN (shoutout to Okta for rising 166%, yesssss sirrrrr).
But remember, historically, the market drops 10% from a recent high every 11 months. Drops are normal!
But picking a president by standing for hours arguing in a high school gym is not! Regardless, until my impossible dream of mandatory voting in the US occurs, I’d suggest throwing a few coins to an organization voting against voter suppression, such as The Brennan Center.
If you haven’t listened yet, the newest episode of Get Money — the podcast I co-host about getting your financial shit together — episode is all about budgets. Turns out the key to budgeting is to look at what you’re saving, not what you’re spending. Listen here!
Oh, and I recently sat down for a chat with Grow, a CNBC publication, about tips for new investors. My biggest tip of all? Just fucking do it.
So stop worrying about the drops,
Better Have My Money is on Twitter @bhavemymoney, so please tweet nice things (aka the link to our sign up page) and tag us. Got a mate who doesn’t have a candidate or an investment portfolio? Forward this onto them and tell them to subscribe.
And shameless referral code time! You can use my referral code to get a free stock when you sign up to Robinhood, which has free trading. If you open an account with Ellevest using this link, we both get $20. And sign up to Acorns here and we both get $5. As always, if you've got any questions about stocks, this is a shame free zone. Just reply and ask away.