Investing in the stock market was a terrifying proposition if mentioned to me in college. I vividly remember taking a college class back in 2014 that was specific to the 2008 Financial Crisis. The primary topic of conversation was how the banks were “too big to fail.” I barely squeaked,  but that class had left a negative impression on my mind about the market. It correlated an unhealthy sense of fear and desperation with the stock market, where individuals acted out of greed and duplicity. Life carried along, so did the stock market. In 2017, I met a gentleman named Mark in Virginia, who I grew a deep sense of respect and appreciation. One time, dangling from the back pocket of his denim jeans were lottery tickets. I do not indulge in lottery tickets, but my past work experiences had shown how people gravitated towards them. They were just ordinary people trying their luck. Some spend a little too much, but at the end of the day, it’s just people trying their luck.

To create a conversation point, I approached Mark about the lottery tickets and then learned that Mark even purchased shares in the stock market. Granted, at first, I received this as a gentleman who enjoyed to be reckless with his Money, aka gambling. Gambling is pure luck. Yes, there is math involved in certain games, but the game’s specificity should not tailor the specificity of the definition. Upon learning about stock from Mark, I realized that what he was doing was not something extraordinary. He was just using simple logic. He just bought what he liked. To paraphrase his outlook, he understood that it was a bigger world out there and that instead of boxing his Money, allowing his Money to go out and work for him was most certainly a benefit. That day, I understood that “Work Hard for the Money you Earn. Let your Money work Harder for you to Earn.”  

Since that interaction, I had decided to build enough Money after building emergency savings to buy stocks. I started with a $1000 and limited knowledge of the market but understood that individuals were smarter than me that inhabited this world. I added more funds accordingly and always maintained that I was in it for the long term and that I was in charge of the decisions. While commentary on the TV, podcasts, and articles served as an influence, I always wanted to have an independent approach to the market. I wanted to have a process that reflected my point of view and thesis. Maintaining that it was indeed a process was also crucial since I could not expect overnight success. Failure is common, but failure is also an opportunity to learn. In my limited experience with the stock market, I have learned that its constituents are fellow community members. Participants’ previous actions are not purely a reflection of future reactions but can serve as a series of unfolding events that can highlight patterns of behavior. That distinction caught my attention and encouraged my desire to start investing, which I did. So far, some have performed, others not so much. But that’s the point I learned from my mistakes.