When people learn that I am one of the weirdos in the world who is deeply interested in investing, I usually get a couple of questions: “What do you invest in?”, “What is good to invest in right now?”, “How do you get started in investing?. These are all very fair questions especially given that the investment industry is structured in such a way that if you’re not a “professional” the language alone can make your eyes glaze over. Real estate, Stocks, Bonds, Gold, Mutual Funds, P/E ratios, ROI, yields, Capitalization rates and the list of confusing jargon goes on.
In this brief post I want to open a small window of insight as to how and why I got started in investing.
Probably the most important part of the growth in my business knowledge was being part of an environment that actively supported that endeavour. Growing up, my father had a number of different small businesses that he would work on and bring me along to learn how things operated. Without me knowing at the time, it planted the seeds in my mind that made me open to learning more. As I got older, I was fortunate to have Chris Duff and Corey Wisdom, my two slightly older cousins that were (and still are) important influences that helped challenge my perspectives on the best practices for managing and generating money. Between the three of us we developed something akin to a “Mastermind” group where we bounce different ideas off each other frequently and push each other to broaden our understanding on how we can make better investments (in terms of both money and time) for the biggest return tomorrow.
ANALYSIS AND ACTION
The biggest thing that I had to get past initially was getting past the analysis stage and actually putting into practice what I learned. In the summer of 2012, I spent an extreme amount of time in the Brampton Public Library and digested an inordinate amount of internet articles to get a handle on the endless ways I could begin my investment journey. To test some of the different theories I was learning on how the markets work, I started using online simulators as my risk-free playground. I then saved up some of my pennies and purchased my first stock in September 2012. It was in Canada’s largest real estate trust, RioCan REIT, which I selected because I had expected it would grow in value over time and it paid out a monthly dividend while I waited for the growth.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
There are a number of layers to my reasoning for having a high-intensity focus on investments. However, one of the main reasons is that I feel a strong sense of responsibility to “set the table” for those behind me and change the typical expectations. More specifically, I have 3 younger brothers that I have seen many times over follow me down both my positive and negative paths, given that as the eldest I am the de-facto role model. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve recognized that my brothers and other people younger than me, are observing my decision making whether I like it or not. Being cognizant of this reality has made me push myself to do things a little bit differently than the norm in terms of how I think about using my time, investing my capital, and taking risk.
Given all the opportunities I’ve been blessed to have, I recognize that I have a responsibility to at least try to open doors for others that I have been afforded. In my opinion, one of the best ways to accomplish that is by trying to live in a way that makes someone else curious, and open their minds to the different possibilities.
Everyone has their own stories of how they got into investing or reasons of why they got into it. The three I’ve listed are the ultimate factors that encouraged me to look into investing and to actually start investing.