We sat down with two experienced, young investors — Sebastian and Ben — to get their opinions on the market, insight into how they began investing, and much more. Below, we explore their relationship with investing.
How did you begin your investing journey?
Sebastian: I started investing in October 2020 after many years of wanting to go into the markets and I really didn't know much about them. I began my journey by actually opening a Robinhood account. I think overall that decision made it easier, and investing then became second nature.
Ben: It all started when I was 18 and I opened my first trading account. So exciting! I put every last dollar I earned into that account and promptly lost a good amount of it. Every loss was a learning experience and continues to be. I absorbed as much of the daily stock market news as I could. I studied charts, studied companies, read quarterly reports, read analyst reports — you name it.
What made you realize that it was time to start investing?
Sebastian: My personality is such that when something is on my mind, I immerse myself 110% into it until I completely understand and am able to benefit from it. That's especially true when the potential to earn money exists. After I started investing, I began watching relevant videos and read a total of six books, all of which revolved around the stock market and investing.
Ben: It was right around the bottom of the housing market crash. If you looked at the news, you’d have thought we were in for a depression. But wherever I went, people were still buying groceries, going to the mall, going to amusement parks. I figured it was the perfect time to start.
How did you navigate the process of starting to invest, which may at times feel rather challenging to do?
Sebastian: I first started by watching an unhealthy amount of YouTube videos. I don't think there's a stock market YouTuber whose videos I have not seen. After that, I started buying books and reading more about the emotions and trading and how overall the stock market follows a sentiment. From the books, I actually bought a few courses online. After two courses, I realized that each person has their own trading/investing personality.
Ben: I just dove right in. Traditional financial institutions have done a great job of making it seem like they’re the only ones who can do it and that the barrier to entry is too great for the average person. That's simply not true at all. So I just got started and faced any hurdles as they came.
What have you learned about investing since you started?
Sebastian: I think many people see the stock market and automatically get intimidated because all you see is people flashing their wealth, fancy cars, etc. Unfortunately, it seems many investors paint it as a get-rich-quick scheme when in reality it's the complete opposite. The people who succeed in the stock market are those with patience.
Ben: I’ve learned that there are no shortcuts. There is no magic stock. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. I’ve learned that once you start fantasizing about imaginary future gains, it’s a good time to sell.
What are some investing approaches worth sharing with fellow investors?
Sebastian: Start small. Don't rush into anything. The stock market isn't going to go away anytime soon; there is no rush and, no, you will not get rich quick. If possible, have conversations with people you know are familiar with the stock market.
Ben: Truly, going slow and steady. In my opinion, there’s a reason people preach this: It has worked for most people over the longest time frame. Be sensible, be smart, be patient, be PRACTICAL. I can’t give you stock tips and anyone who does should be met with healthy skepticism.
Was there a moment you realized you were truly proficient in investing or have you experienced a particular “win” while doing so?
Sebastian: The moment I realized that I could do something in the stock market was when I closed my first year with a favorable return while benefiting from keeping my money there. And the beauty of all this is that I only need to dedicate maybe 10 minutes per day to this stuff.
Ben: Feeling proficient comes in waves for me. Sometimes I feel utterly clueless, which is a good indicator for me to step away and recollect myself. Other times I feel untouchable, which is…also a good indicator to step away and recollect myself. I’ve definitely experienced wins that made me feel like I’ve finally gotten a handle on things in the most simple way, which remarkably takes years to achieve. That is, the simple stuff is just a practice that takes years of honing.
How do you maintain a positive relationship with investing?
Sebastian: Always keep in mind that this is a long-term game. If you are investing in top-tier companies that you believe in and doing your due diligence, it can pay off in the long run.
Ben: I maintain a positive relationship with investing by respecting it and realizing I’m not some genius and that I don’t know more than whatever the market is dictating. Price is everything, despite what I might feel or think I know. I also keep my expectations at a healthy, low level.
How do you deal with the current challenging market and what do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started?
Sebastian: The stock market is made of supply and demand — that's all it is. Similar to this year when many stocks have plummeted, others have gone up. It's just a matter of knowing where to invest. Risk management is everything in the stock market.
Ben: I deal with it by staying nimble and open-minded. I try to consume as much information as I can handle to get a grasp on what the pros are thinking and position myself accordingly. What I know now that I wish I’d known when I started: Just slow down, relax, and breathe. Take your time.
Imagery via Getty.