I ended up putting $50 into the stock market with little-to-no experience with Robinhood or with stocks in general. This comes amidst a global pandemic that has been sending stocks tumbling to the ground, with many losing tens of thousands of dollars… in a single day. That’s when I thought to myself: “What a great time for an 18-year-old kid who has no major financial experience to invest in stocks.”
In all seriousness, I’ve been wanting to learn the art of investing ever since last year, but the lack of age made that dream virtually impossible. Now that I’m 18, I’ve practically made myself go on this adventure with the hopes of learning something new about a subject I know virtually nothing about. Here’s my journey.
Day 1 (6/19): Day one involved setting up my account and learning all the basics about the app. I ended up watching a series of videos from Andrei Jikh (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XjD0cNg4WY), a guy who made a channel based entirely off of investing. Jikh seemed like a nice guy, so I listened. He created a pretty extensive Robinhood playlist that really helped me understand how to set up the app, along with basic techniques to investing with Robinhood. I was then able to retrieve one free stock as per Robinhood’s method to reel in potential investors. I ended up getting a $2.75 stock from Southwest Energy, thereby providing the first earnings to my account on Robinhood. I was a little nervous about committing the bulk of my $50 to the stock market, so I ended up starting slow with a $13.08 stock from a Hong Kong real estate company and I excitedly awaited the weekend away to see my first results.
Day 2 (6/22): Day two made my ego collapse. I was thinking real estate would be the only market prevailing during these times, and that buying into it would be a guaranteed win. However, this simply did not happen, as both of my stocks made significant drops and ended in the red. Southwest made me lose five cents and Sun Hung Kai had me give up another 7 cents, ending the day at a negative 12 cents. You were probably thinking that I’d take the time to really research and reflect on my decisions… well, I didn’t. I ended up buying another stock for $1.54 and one GoPro stock for $4.66, simply because I like GoPro. Yeah, I know, you wouldn’t hear Kevin from Shark Tank make that kind of decision.
Day 3 (6/23): Day three was also a mediocre day, but I did learn a new tactic that I’ll definitely be trying out in the coming days. I decided to pursue “day trading,” where I buy stock early in the day and hope for gains to sell by the end of the trading day. If I end up losing by the end of the day, I’ll keep the stock until I eventually make a profit. Today I was able to provide one win when I bought one Annaly Capital stock for $6.78 and sold it for $6.87, making a $0.09 profit. Real estate seems to be a safe market right now, and so I plan to continue to pursue those stocks in the coming days.
Day 4 (6/24): Day four was definitely the busiest I’ve been trading stocks. Unfortunately, I learned that you can only do a few daily trade transactions before Robinhood is able to freeze your account. So, uh, I had to change strategies. Obviously I can’t follow through with my great tactic any longer, so the only option was to wait and see how my stocks do over the course of the next few days, since, of course, I can’t trade them now. I actually ended up in the green for once, finishing off at $53.20, mainly due to my purchasing of the very successful China HGS real estate stock that rose 20% in value. I also bought two more real estate stocks (SGOCO & Manhattan Bridge) that ended up rising moderately in value. This outvalued the losses of Sierra Metals, Sun Hun Kai, and Southwestern, all stocks I have yet to see a return in.
Day 5 (6/25): Since I’m essentially too poor for day trading, I let my stocks ride out the final day to actually close in the positive. Three of my stocks, Sun Hun Kai, Manhattan Bridge, and SGOCO, all ended with gains, where Southwestern, Sierra Metals, and China HGS all ended with losses.
Conclusion & Final Thoughts: Overall, I found a lot of enjoyment in learning about the process of stocks and the stock market in general. I never made any serious gains, finishing the week at $52.62, making a profit of $2.62 from my original $50.00. However, this week alone proved to be very beneficial in my knowledge of the stock market, and I plan to continue to learn the art in the months that follow.
Now, to answer some questions. Do you need to have a strong education to get into stocks? I’d say no, as one of the most important aspects of education is firsthand experience, and learning through this method may prove beneficial if you put in the time to learn.
How much money should you really put in? The stock market is a system that is very unpredictable, and so there is never a day that goes by where someone is certain that they will walk away with gains. You should base this question on the amount of experience and knowledge you have acquired. As I have been investing for only a week, I would not trust myself with putting $10,000 further into my Robinhood account. However, if I became confident in my abilities as an investor, and my small investments have shown this, I may be more confident down the road to do just that.
Do you have to be rich in order to invest? What this experiment has proven is that you really only need a little bit of money to become an investor. I only needed $50 in my bank account, but there is no “minimum” you must put in, as stocks go for as little as less than $1 a piece. It simply takes management of your stocks and time in order to improve your craft and earn from what you put in, whatever that amount will be.