I really like it when people burn tokens, that means there are more tokens for all of us. Well, recently #steemleo announced they will be burning LEO tokens in 7 or so sinks. Fortunately one of those sinks is a weekly LEO contest, which also happens to be the subject of this post. So without further ramblings let's have it.
Source is wikipedia page for board game stock ticker
"What does investing mean to you?"
This is the question I have to answer. Well, I'm not much for making a detailed list when writing. Technical writing is work. I don't do contests or read contest for work, I do it for fun. I'm just going to write a narrative of my experience. Obviously, investing to me means my experience.
I'm not going to bore anyone with TA or FA or the nitty-gritty details. Pick up a book on investing basics if you want to know the how-to.
I'm going to focus on the basics and how I got into investing, especially in the early era. I'm not motivated entirely by money and I'm not going to trust others entirely. I learned to do my own research and love investing.
www.steemleo.com really has the graphics looking awesome!
~ Steem Leo Contest - POST LINK ~
The Beginnings of My Investing Life
I've been investing since the day I was born. Literally. You see there are things called RESPs which are basically funds for children that let their relatives get tax breaks if they put the money away for their children's education. Well, my parents and grandparents opened one up when I was born.
The RESP really helped with education which was my second investment. Actually, I started saving money and doing other investments before I finished university. So let's start there.
Asides from my RESP, I've pretty much always had a savings account. This was an account where my relatives would put in birthday money and I would put in some of my allowance (they forced me to, better than not getting it). I could use the money to buy bigger things like bicycles or for extra money on a trip or something. My parents did most of the planning actually, but I guess I was in control.
The first step to investing is learning how to save and budget. Without a savings plan or a budget, you will never manage to have 'extra money' to invest. The nice thing about starting off like this is it is insured and you get to see a little bit of growing. I was introduced to the concept of interest. It was really small, much too small to notice compounding interest, but it was a neat thing. Money could make money.
One day, my grandfather got me something called a GIC which is a government savings bond with a fixed term. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I understood that I would make even more interest, however, I had to leave it in there for a fixed time. Basically, I was introduced to safe term deposits. Also, this was back in the day when interest rates were decent and the amount was enough that I actually noticed the compound interest. In other words, interest was making interest.
Around that time, I also started collecting stuff that would be worth money like stamps and coins. I also got a few silver coins and I guess technically this means I was investing in precious metals.
I remember my father buying me a game called "Stock Ticker". This is a very simple game that introduces you to the concept of the stock market. The prices are random (which ironically is similar to the real stock market), and go up and down based on a dice roll. When they reach the top they split (you get 2X) and go to par. When they reach the bottom they bust and you lose everything, then it goes to par. There were several different stocks you could buy. There were even dividends! In any case, I was introduced to the concept of losing money while investing and some basic stock market principles. I loved that game and found it fascinating. Compared to games like Monopoly where you just pay taxes, fines, and rent (no way to become rich), Stock Ticker made sense. Before you say meh not really, this was all while I was in elementary school and the game is less volatile than Cryptocurrencies.
Investing in Education
By middle school, my father had introduced me to a few computer programs which learned me about investing and the markets most were just games much more complect than stock ticker and based on real market stuff and the stock section of the newspaper. He would show me the stocks he was watching and even his books. I think my father actually called a broker over the phone back then or went to the firm to buy and sell stocks and funds. I remember going to what looked like nicer banks with him occasionally.
We even registered to play a few stock-picking games both via the newspaper and even online. Holy crap, I was virtually trading stocks online before windows 95 came out. It was similar to a sports pool, something else I did, but that's gambling. I learned the difference between gambling and trading stocks early. I also went to the horse track, the dog racing track and even carnival casinos. I remember being told the difference between gambling and stock trading was they house doesn't always win in the stock market so the odds aren't against the players. In any case, I wasn't gambling or trading stocks, my father was. I was just learning.
Eventually, I did get a part-time job and was starting to make more money. I remember buying my first mutual fund just before I went to high school from money I saved working at a banquet hall. I did pretty much the same thing throughout high school, random jobs at night and during the weekend and summer jobs. I saved a lot, had quite a few mutual funds, bonds, and a decent savings account by the time I went to university.
During university, I was able to calm down on the workload and focus on my studies without relying on my parents paying for me. It seems my investments paid off. I got a good education and I am gainfully employed in a job related to my major now. It's not business, finance or investing I like to separate work from play.
Where I'm at now
I graduated from university quite some time ago and have been continually investing ever since. I am one of those lucky people who has always managed to save ~25% of my paycheck. Actually, it is probably over 50% if I include mortgage payments (not the loan interest) and that's not including vacations or short term savings. I guess learning about saving and investing in elementary school and getting serious about working in middle school taught me a lot about money that is useful.
Since I started making money from full-time work, I've opened up several different investment accounts. I have securities, bond, mutual funds, and ETFs. I have diversified holdings across several sectors, I hold securities on at least 4 different national exchanges across 3 continents (never mind where the company's assets are), I have money in different currencies.
I even have money in alternative investments like small business, side gigs, online stuff, selling stuff I make or buy and resell. And I have my personal favorite which is a 'liberty garden'. Don't laugh agricultural futures paved the way to modern investing.
I guess I can say I'm not really specialized in anything. However, if I had to pick a favorite asset class, I would say my heart lies with ETFs.
I also have cryptocurrencies but I don't really consider that an investment in the same category. I look at it as an everyday man's venture capital or hedge fund. In other words, it's insanely risky. I got into cryptocurrencies serious about 2 years ago, however, I've owned BTC since 2013. Like everyone else, I wish I bought more. I'm sticking to it.
Right now other than top 20 stuff, I pretty much only hold Steem and a couple of others I don't really want to talk about. In the top 20, I like BTC, XRP, ETH, LTC, ADA, NEO and XLM best.
The End Game
I'm paying off my mortgage much faster than average. I'm saving up money for a large rural weekend/retirement property. I'm saving enough money to make myself and my family comfortable in retirement. I'm planning on retiring as soon as I have enough and I almost know exactly how much I need.
To be honest, I like my job, I like working, I like investing and I don't even know what my end goal is. I don't even care about being rich because I just want to do what I want, I guess I can say my goal is financial independence.
Don't get any ideas, I'm not rich. I just live within my means and I'm not dumb with my money, I just have a decent financial education and discipline. I'm always interested in learning more. That's probably why I'm drawn to #SteemLeo. Practice makes perfect!
I want to to thank @steem.leo for running this contest. To be honest I am just happy to see the Leo getting burned and look forward to reading the other entries. I've received more than 10 LEO in upvotes from this awesome community and I agree the fee keeps out the complete jokes. I'm not on Steem or Steem Leo to make money. It would feel too much like work and I would lose interest (I'd just delegate). And as a matter of philanthropy, I'll send in the 10 Leo entrance fee to the first person who writes "Please fund my entry!" in the comments. The only catch, If you haven't posted in Steem Leo before this post's date, you don't qualify.
I'm here to engage. So please tell me what you think of my experience. Also, if you didn't make a contest entry, tell me about your experience briefly. I'd love to hear it.
All the Steem Leo banners and the contest image are from @steem.leo's contest post I've linked above.