Gold Dust: A Beginner’s Guide To Investing

BY Markus BaerMay 28, 2019

Crypto White Man Smiles In Front of Pink Rope Wall

Bonjour, my friends. My name is Markus and I’m a cryptocurrency bag holder – aka someone that owns crypto that’s currently worth less than what I paid for it. The following disclaimer should therefore be easy to follow as I am apparently not very good at investing. I am not a financial advisor, I have no idea what the markets will do and neither does anyone else. This is not financial advice. It’s always better to make up your own mind about things, especially when it concerns money.

Now that’s out the way: finance as a career never really tickled me. Too many boring suits and old men. However, money and investing as a hobby, a playing field, as a way to grant yourself some freedom and to enjoy a few extra bits that you wouldn’t have had access to otherwise – is something I’m getting more and more into every day.

GETTING INVESTED

My poor financial situation has not always been this way. As a young lad, I was probably in the best financial health I’ve ever been. No bills, no tax, just pure disposable income, savings accounts and a few BT shares gifted to me by my Grandpa. I still hold these shares to this day and every now and again the odd tenner lands in my bank account in dividends (interest in share speak).

My financial journey really started with him guiding me to the best savings accounts to squeeze the most out of my tiny pot of gold. Even though a few percent of a small amount doesn’t really seem to amount to anything in the short term, in the long term every little helps. A few years later, I graduated to finding the best savings accounts myself, jumping from intro offer to intro offer. Mostly, I headed here, which is the easiest tool to take your old, stale, unloved, uncared for 0.1% to a new and currently exciting 1.5% or 15x more free money every year.

I first started investing in the big bad stock market when I inherited a bit of money from my other grandparents and didn’t want to instantly pour it all away. I invested in a couple of managed funds (a collection of shares and other good stuff that someone who “knows what they are doing” plays around with for you) with Hargreaves Lansdown. After sitting on these for about 3 years and with the luck of the draw, I actually saw some decent returns. Making money has a funny way of encouraging you to go for more. With my appetite now thoroughly whetted, I decided to take a much more active role in investing. This, as I was to find out later, is generally a bad idea.


THE CRYPTO FACTOR

I got into crypto in the 2017 mega-boom – a pretty good time. Getting out turned out to be the hard part. I used to spend hours scrolling coins and bought my first fraction of a bitcoin with Coinbase. Although the financial aspect wasn’t as profitable as I might have hoped, I felt much richer in knowledge.

Not long after joining Huckletree, I attended a Vestpod workshop, which was probably one of the most financially informative hours of my life. Had I attended prior to 2017, I might have ended up saving a lot of money. Although I was familiar with most of the terms in the Beginner Workshop, Founder Emilie’s knowledge of the field tied everything together for me. She also passed on some nuggets of wisdom they don’t teach you at school (but should!):

  • Managed funds are more expensive and normally don’t outperform passive funds (that just track a market). So really, I was losing out twice with my long term investments.
  • Most interestingly, I learnt that men find it much harder than women to stay away from their investments. Gents, just leave them to do their thing. (At least our own stupid impulsiveness is balancing out some of the missplaced pay gap).

So, if you want some real (not financial) investment advice, grab a ticket for the launch of Emilie’s book, You’re Not Broke, You’re Pre-Rich, and listen to the infinitely knowledgeable author. Learn from her and safely invest your money in long term holdings. If you still have a tiny bit left over and fancy trying your hand at beating the market (that statistically, you’re not going to beat), here are three options that I’m eyeing up next…

SILVER LINING

Stocks have been rising for quite a long time now and it’s been about 10 years since the Wall Street crash of ‘08 that fuelled so much misery. Although 10 years is not the be all and end all of bull markets (where prices keep going up), it is quite long in economic terms. Especially with the current US-China trade tensions, with 80% of current IPOs making a loss (the same level as in the dot-com bubble) and with the S&P 500 (index tracking 500 of the largest American companies) currently painting a triple top, some people think we might be at a tipping point.

In late-stage economies, possibly like this one, commodities (things rather than stocks) tend to do well. For example: gold, silver, oil. Precious metals especially are seen as a hedge against stocks and these are what I’m currently looking at. Silver, which has been in a bear market (declining prices) for about 8 years, might just be at a similar but opposite tipping point to the stock market. Silver is also currently at record lows vs the price of gold, meaning it theoretically has much more room to grow in price to return to equilibrium, therefore, providing a more profitable investment opportunity.

GREEN LIGHT

Now I’m not quite sure how this fits into my current bearish stock market bias.

However, with CBD already blowing up majorly and the continued legalisation effort of cannabis throughout the USA, Canada and surely sometime soon into Europe, this could lead to the biggest cash crop since tobacco.

Hopefully, it’s also far less addictive and damaging than its older brother. Investing in cannabis has so far been tricky taking into account both regulatory issues and generally knowing in which bit of the market to invest in. However, a few weeks ago a new ETF was launched aptly named YOLO (lol), which lets you buy a whole range of weed specific companies neatly rolled into one purchasable stock-like thing.

CRYPTO FO SHO

Yes, it’s still my biggest investing love. Cryptocurrencies are some of the highest risk, but most fun investment opportunities. Although at the moment they still require a reasonably high level of insight just to keep your money safe, if you can be bothered to learn, nothing currently offers the same amount of potential gain. Bitcoin, crypto’s lead currency, has been in a bear market for about a year and a half now, which is a long time in crypto land, and throughout the last month has shown some pretty strong signs of life. It might just be gearing up for its next wild ride into 2020.

AUTHOR

Markus Baer

Community Assistant, Huckletree Shoreditch