Recently, many people were stunned by the US presidential election results. The majority of the polls and the media got it wrong. The LA Times poll that did get it right was mocked throughout the election. Simply stated, many people just did not expect the election results to turn out the way they did. Many people had also feared an economic collapse and a stock market crash that would go along with a Trump presidency, and therefore warned others to pull their assets from the market right before the elections. However, I believe that this advice is dangerous. Warren Buffett says he is 100% optimistic about the stock market regardless of who is in office. I am in total agreement with his wisdom and believe that we should not stop investing in stocks, real estate, and perhaps most importantly, ourselves.
We are only given one physical body in our lifetime, so it is up to us to nourish and maintain it. It is up to us to make the effort to eat healthy and stay healthy. If we don’t, it will eventually catch up to us and we’ll struggle much more in our older years. We’ll lose the ability to perform more physical activities or enjoy time with our loved ones. We’ll lose our ability to work or vacation at our fullest. Although some things are inevitable, we still have a chance at staying healthy into our older years if we make the right decisions starting right now. Similarly, I believe that we need to make the right financial decisions that will benefit our health down the line. Regardless of the election results and the political climate, I believe that it is necessary for us to think about how to make the best financial decisions for our future. Therefore, I highly recommend getting an HSA account if it is available through your health insurance provider.
So, I recently turned 30 and have had some time to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned over the years. I was inspired to write this post after reading lessons from another blogger who also recently turned 30. It seemed like not too long ago, I was just a young college student starting off life on my own. Although many of these lessons may not be financial or career in nature, I feel that they ultimately will help people in those areas. Here are my lessons in no particular order. These are the same lessons I wish I could teach my 20-year-old self.
Have you ever had a rough day at work which ultimately ended up ruining your evening and preventing you from sleeping at night? Even worse, you wake up the next morning feeling unrefreshed which leads to another bad day? Well, I’m sure it happens quite often for a lot of people. It’s definitely happened to me before. Unfortunately, with our busy schedules, it is inevitable that we face times of stress and frustration. The further we push in our careers, the more times this will happen. A large part of our journeys to build our careers is to face these situations head on and figure out ways to get by them. If we want to succeed, it is necessary to face these challenges and come out stronger, wiser, and smarter.
I’ve heard of two main schools of thought when it comes to developing the right skills for your career. On one hand, there’s the belief that you need to develop highly specialized knowledge in order to land a well-paying job. For example, accountants have developed a special skill set to basically measure and disclose a company’s transactions and dealings. Actuaries have developed the ability to measure and manage risk and uncertainty. Inside knowledge of a company’s processes and procedures may also be considered a highly specialized skill. These are all highly specialized skills that take years to develop, and the market will pay a certain amount for these skills.
No one really knows which direction the market will go. I saw the stock market drop substantially back in 2008-2009 when I was still in college. Back then, I was part of a student-run investment fund and saw our portfolio lose half its value after a tremendous run in the few years prior. It was definitely a great real-world learning experience and wake up call.
Although it tends to go up in the long run, there are periods of downturn. These periods of downturn have caused significant stress in many of our personal lives and financial turmoil in our wallets. Thankfully, there are ways to decrease the losses that you’ll suffer during a recession, and perhaps even come out on top. Here are some ways to recession-proof your portfolio.
In previous articles, I wrote about exchange-traded funds and the importance of investing early to build wealth. Well, what happens if you want to start investing but can’t find a fund or individual stock that you like? Suppose that you want to invest in a certain trend. However, you don’t want to put all your money into one company since it is too risky. At the same time, there’s no index fund that properly reflects that trend or idea. You are in luck, there is something called motif investing.
All throughout college, it was always instilled in my mind to network with other people. I was told to network with working professionals since it would help me get interviews, learn about different industries, learn about different companies, learn how to conduct myself professionally and ultimately help me land a job. Therefore, I reached out to hundreds of alumni through email. I tried to set up phone conversations with the ones that would respond to me. This experience allowed me to truly enrich my knowledge of different industries, companies and positions. It also gave me the confidence to interact with professionals who were more established and older than me (which certainly helped with interviews). Now that I am considered an experienced professional, I realize that it is equally important to network. One avenue for networking is through a professional association. Here are some reasons why it is extremely beneficial to join a professional association and regularly attend events.
Most of us have goals in life and want to do better for ourselves and for our families. If we’re lucky, we have 80 years on this planet. It is our own responsibility to make the most of the circumstances that we were given. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to set goals, don’t know how to execute on them, or aren’t able to follow through with them. From my experience, I have found several guidelines I follow to achieve my own goals. Here they are.
People are always concerned about recessions and for good reason. People have money invested in the markets, and they want to make sure that they do not lose it. They don’t want to lose all their hard earned money. It’s a problem when people start selling stocks and other assets at the wrong times and buying at the wrong times. People sell more when the markets are tanking, thus further driving the decrease in prices during a recession. People also buy more when everyone else is excited about buying, thus further adding to an overvalued, over-inflated market. However, mixing these two together is a sure way to lose money in the long run. Warren Buffett summed this concept up beautifully, “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”
Professional Development and Personal Finance Blog