Girls just wanna have funds

Better Have My Money: learning 'bout stocks so we all get rich

Hi friends!

Welcome to Better Have My Money, my weekly newsletter about stocks for newbies who are a lil terrified by the stock market. Better Have My Money is a gif-filled rundown of thing I'm learning from my own tiny brand new stock portfolio (from how to buy a share, to being mad about how much CEOs get paid, to losing a bunch of money in weed stocks) and the things we're figuring out together.

So, part of being female on the internet is dealing with men on the internet. 

And this message landed in my DMs this week, which I then aggressively tweeted.

I genuinely think reader Evan was trying to offer some genuine advice out of concern for me losing my money but also I can spend my money however I choose thanks (he did apologize, just FYI).

But it was a good reminder that while yes I was very aware that focusing on the daily movements of a company's stock is not very conducive to making lots of cash— particular since my method for investing is based heavily on how much I just personally like the company and its products — that newer readers may not have seen me mention that fact before.

So! Let's talk about buying stocks in funds that follow the market versus buying stocks in individual companies.

As I wrote in the second edition of this newsletter: "If I was being completely responsible, all my money would probably be in Exchange Traded Funds (ETF). But this isn't my super responsible money."

ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) are basically funds that own stocks in lots of companies and therefore you follow the market because no one company dominates or destroys you. You can buy and trade stocks in ETFs as if they were companies themselves. There's lots of different ETFs — ones that just follow the top 500 companies, or ones that follow emerging markets, tech or healthcare or whatever.

With ETFs you just follow the market, over the years, and ultimately the market is the safest way of investing AND it's actually really hard to beat the market.Literallynearly everyarticleabout buyingindividual stocksall notethat the best and safest way to invest is through an index fund.

To be extra lazy, you can use the appAcorns which will just round-up all your purchase to the nearest dollar and add it into an ETF, without you even having to pay attention to it (sign up with my referral code and we both get $5).

Instead, I mainly buy individual stocks! It is the most wild, careless and uncertain way of buying stocks! But I like to live dangerously, the Villanelle of stocks. (Yes this is a Killing Eve reference, and if you're not watching it, you should be).

I buy individual stocks because it's just more fun!

That's really it.

I just enjoy it.

That's what I write this newsletter, for free, every week. That's why I read lots about stocks. That's why I check my Ally and Robinhood accounts multiple times a day. That's why I read about high-growth stocks to invest in. It's interesting!

I don't have a background in finance, and buying stocks in individual companies provides me a whole new world to explore and discover, rather than just buying some ETF stock and then selling it in 10 years. I've learnt ten times more than I previously knew about markets from having my own individual stocks.

AndI like to think there is a chance I could strike it rich. Probably not! Could lose it all. But trust me, the early investors in Google and Apple and Netflix didn't just "beat the market" (I bought Netflix at $289, I am not an early investor,andit's still up 13% in two months). But the whiff of riches is there. 

Also, my 401k is mainly in mutual funds and ETFs. So I'm having it both ways. Which investment strategy do you do (or plan on doing)? Why? Are you glad with your decisions? What worked and what didn't? What's your hot individual stock tip to make me a bajillionaire?

In breaking news, I made this spreadsheet to show my share portfolio (lol)! Since my shares are spread across Robinhood and Ally, it was getting very messy to try and display it. 

So yes right now overall I am up 0.7%! That's not very much but at least it's up! 

I can neither confirm nor deny that I just had to get out a calculator and work out the figures and then type it up myself because I can't remember how to write a spreadsheet.

In genuinely bamboozling news I have somehow spent $3800 on shares in the last few months. When I started this newsletter in February, I had just $2000 worth of shares and no real intention to spend much more than that. It feels like rather than making other large retail purchases — flights, new clothes etc — I have instead often chucked a few extra dollars into my Robinhood account and just bought shares instead. Does anyone else do this?

(My weekly reminder that if you open a Robinhood account, which lets you buy and sell stocks with zero fees, use my referral code and we both get a free share).
 

Confusing term of the week: "scale trading" — buying more and more stock in a company as it decreases in value (often with a set price, so like every time it drops 20%, you buy more) in the hope of lowering your overall cost per and that it will later rise in value and then be sold for a profit. But it usually means you just keep growing your failure. 

Basically, it turns out scale trading is exactly what I had been doing with my CRON weed stocks, as I explained in last week's newsletter!

Investopedia calls it the "worst stock trading strategy I can imagine" and "the manifestation of all the most devastating investor mistakes" and also wow "not a very popular or widespread strategy except among extreme neophytes" (neophytes is a fancy word for newbies) and OK I feel personally attacked. I did not know this was a specific strategy but I'm at least impressed that I realized on my own that it is a garbage strategy.

Help a reader! Reader Kevin noted that he is based in Germany (although he has UK iTunes) and he can’t access Robinhood and asked if I had any stock buying apps for European readers?

Kevin I do! So Freetrade is supposed to be a pretty good Robinhood substitute. It's UK based, but hopeful it may work for you?

Aussies! I also have a recommendation for you. You can use Stake, an app which allows you to buy and sell US stocks for $0 brokerage fees! From what I can see (I haven't used it), while you need a minimum of $500 AUD per transfer to your account, you don't need to buy $500 in each stock! This seems like a very cool way to play the market, anyone tried it?

Any other questions you're too embarrassed to ask people about stocks? Just email me and I'll find the answer for you, shame free.

In heavy but important news, in light of dozens of Palestinian protesters being shot dead by Israeli forces today, may I suggest donating money to the Palestine Children's Relief Fund this week.

Testimonials

  • From Ryan: "As somewhat of an amateur investor (who has also lost a ton of money on weed stocks) I’m really liking this newsletter. If you prefer your stock tips and financial explanations with gifs, this is for you." — all the cool kids have spent all their money on weed OK

Better Have My Money is on Twitter @bhavemymoney, so please tweet nice things and tag us. Got a mate who is also clueless af about stocks but might find it secretly fun? Forward this onto them and tell them to subscribe.

Marketwatch tweeted a five month old story today that had media Twitter making quips:

Basically the articlerecommends people have their salary saved in their retirement fund by 30, and double that by 35, but it then acknowledges that basically no one has that. At least not in the US!
 

Glamor did a great feature on money last month, which noted that 85% of its readers did not own stocks and that 53% didn't have a 401k. This is concerning! Are you a working adult in the US who doesn't have a 401k? If so, plz tell me why, I'm genuinely interested in knowing.