The internet has made information on any topic more accessible now than ever. If you’re out in public and look around you, it wouldn’t be difficult to see the eyeballs of people glued to their phone screens. This blessing has also been a curse, as it is very difficult to be focused on the things that matter when we have a flurry of irrelevancies being bombarded at us every second of the day.
Most of us have books or articles that have been bookmarked for years, which we resolved to read, but never did because it is so difficult to keep up in this internet era. Oftentimes, it can be hard to figure out which source of information is reliable.
To build up your investment knowledge is a difficult task, however, if you have a clear plan, develop the right habits and stick to them over a long period of time you will become a better person.
The brain knowledge compounds gradually if you keep feeding it, but you must understand that temperament alone isn’t enough to succeed; the major thing is for you to maintain a high level of curiosity for a long time.
Below are steps to help build your investment knowledge:
- Regular daily/weekly reading of market updates from sensible websites and blogs.
- Reading of quarterly/annual reports of companies and industries.
- Reading of business magazines and financial publications. There are lots of reports that can be downloaded from the websites of some financial institutions for free.
- Read more of source data (primary data) than secondary data.
- Listen to podcasts that focus on finance and investments.
- Read books and study the history of investing. Study market bubbles, why markets rise and crash, recessions and depressions and understand the features of those moments.
Whatever has happened before will happen again, and whatever is happening now has happened before. History helps you notice patterns that will protect you from catastrophes as long as you aren’t affected by herd mentality.
Study biographies of the greatest investors of all time. Read about Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger, Ray Dalio etc. After you’re done studying them list out the things that make sense to you.
Some people naturally have a business/money mind, however, reading the right thing will help you build the right intellectual framework that can help you decipher things like how to value a business, know when the competitive advantage of a company is durable or fleeting amongst other things.
In summary, read & listen to everything you can and discard what doesn’t resonate with you. The investment landscape is broad and no individual is vast in every area. If you are humble, open-minded and willing to learn nothing can stop you from success.
We all know someone or someone who knows someone who works in financial institutions/manages money. Bury your ego and ask for help. You would be surprised at who would be willing to help you.
Some experts can easily be reached through their social media accounts or via email. Do not hesitate to send an email.
One of the most important decisions you can make is being honest with yourself about what you don’t know and getting the right people to ask questions.
After reading, asking questions and making the necessary research, you will have to test the waters by yourself. You also have to be realistic about where you are financially.
There are different asset classes and each requires varying amounts of money to invest in, so you may decide to save first before you venture, or invest based on what you can afford.
The fastest way to learn is to start early and build a sizable investment portfolio by making regular investments. This will help you benefit from the magic of compounding.
Bonus: Some books to read for a start
- Zero to One by Peter Thiel
- Essays of Warren Buffett by Lawrence Cunningham
- Sapiens by Yuval Harari
- Tools of the Titans by Tim Ferriss.