By Gil Michel, CPA, MBA
The scene is an all too familiar one. You’re in a gathering and inadvertently someone brings up the subject of investing. You and your family stay silent because no one in your family has ever purchased and sold stocks, let alone bring up the subject of investing. But the subject of investing should not be one that intimidates us, rather it should pique our interest because it is one of the fastest ways to gain and grow wealth. Investing at its most basic level is purchasing something at a low cost and selling it at a higher price. It’s just that simple. When it comes to stocks, you purchase part ownership of a company at one low price and sell it when the value of that stock increases, for a profit. When it comes to bonds, you are allowing your money to be used at a determined interest rate for determined length of time. When purchasing real estate, you may buy a small house or condo for certain price and possibly rent it for a time or sell it outright for a higher price than you purchased it (otherwise called Flipping).
However the practice of investing is not one that is easily acquired. It requires discipline, patience, intelligence and at times nerves of steel. So let’s talk about some of the misconceptions that people have when it comes to investing.
I have to be experienced. This is probably the number one barrier to people getting their feet wet when it comes to investing. This reminds me of the story of the woman who would cut off the end of each ham when she cooked every year for Thanksgiving. When asked why she did so, she said my mother did it and my grandmother did it. When she really got down to the root of the matter the reason why her grandmother cut off the ends of the ham, it was because the pot was too small. And so it is with investing. We don’t do it because our parents and grandparents, many times didn’t do it.
It requires a lot of money. There are companies and services that will allow you to start investing with as little as $50, so money is this an excuse. However you should really develop a plan to have that small nest egg grow as quickly and as efficiently as possible. You may begin with $50 but repeating this every month means that you’ll have $600 or more in one year if you invest wisely.
It’s too risky. If there is one thing that I’ve realized, it’s that there is no reward without some level of risk. I recently heard a man say, “I would rather be the first to fail than be the last one to try.” So, have a little faith in your ability to grow your investment and most importantly, to learn in the process. Remember when you learned to ride a bike?
Over the next several issues we will be looking at investing from many different angles and delving into some specific areas in particular. So go ahead and get off the bench. There is a very profitable game to be played out in the field of investing and you have to be in it to win it.
About Gil Michel: Gil Michel is a CPA and financial planning expert, and is the CEO and President of The Caleb Group, Inc., a small business solutions firm. Gil’s experience has evolved from working in top ten CPA firms to working one-on-one with small business owners in developing realistic budgets to create wealth for their families. Gil’s Caleb Group is the parent company of BlackMoneyMatters.com, an interactive website that seeks to educate, inform, and enlighten the Black community in areas of financial health. Currently Gil is featured on Sheridan Gospel Network’s The Light, which is syndicated in 56 radio stations/48 cities across the United States. In addition, Gil is also featured on The Good Life Radio broadcast financial segment every week in a feature called “Stacking Paper.” Gil’s passion to see urban cities turned around in the next 10 years inspired him to form TACTT, Inc. (www.tactt.org) Teens Achieving Community Through Training, in 2003. TACTT is a financial literacy program that empowers teens in the five areas of entrepreneurship, real estate, banking/personal finance, investing, and positive life skills.
Caleb Group, Inc.
922 East Wayne St.
South Bend, IN 46617