Do-it-yourself investing can be scary for a lot of people, especially young wanna-be investors.
The financial markets are complicated and so most people prefer to give their money to someone else to manage.
When Brian Barnes graduated from Stanford in 2012, he had a hard time finding a tool with which he could invest in the stock market on his own. This prompted him to start his own online brokerage site, M1 Finance, at 25 years old
“What I was trying to do seemed relatively basic,” Barnes penned in a recent post on M1’s site. “I wanted to be able to pick my investments, and have recurring deposits automatically added to those allocations.”
And that’s exactly what M1, which currently has $60 million under management, allows users to do. M1 users can pick the stocks they want to invest in and then they can determine what percentage of their portfolio they want each position to make up. M1 automatically updates as you put in more money and as stock prices fluctuate to maintain your preferred portfolio allocation. So if you want Apple to make up 25% of your portfolio, M1 will balance your portfolio as such.
Unlike most brokerage sites, M1 doesn’t charge a fee for users to buy a stock. It does, however, charge users an annual percentage-based fee on their assets.
We recently asked Barnes for three investment tips recent grads can consider when investing. They are as follows:
Embrace individual stocks
It’s important that young investors learn to think broadly about what drives a company’s value, expanding their understanding and revisiting to improve decision-making. The personal finance fad of the moment is that you should not invest at all in individual stocks and instead buy index ETFs. While this guarantees market performance, it doesn’t teach you anything about what makes for a good investment. Just remember to stay diversified.
Pick a couple investments that will get you excited
The most important determinant of your long-term financial success is not whether you outperform or underperform the benchmark, but how much money you actually put away to save and invest. If you get excited about investing, you might increase a monthly contribution from $100 to $110. If you’re not excited, maintaining behavior becomes more challenging.
Days and weeks may seem long, but months and years get short the farther away from graduation you get. If you put away a few hundred dollars a month, you’ll find in no time that you have real money. You just have to cultivate good habits and stay consistent.