The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
To some of us, stocks and bonds seem like a foreign language. We do not know the first thing about investing and the idea of starting to invest is very daunting. However, learning about investing was exactly what I aimed to do. After finishing my first year at Penn State majoring in Economics I decided to try and dive into trading and investing.
Why I Picked Robinhood
Choosing which platform to start investing in was no easy task. I wanted to pick a platform that would allow me to invest small amounts of money. Robinhood worked out great because users can start investing with as little as $1. The platform was also extremely easy to use. I saw step-by-step instruction videos and felt like the app was a great choice. I did not know anyone personally who used Robinhood, but I considered this to be a learning process and a great jumping-off point.
Once I created my account I started watching more videos and exploring the app. Something that stuck out to me was the ‘bulls’ and ‘bears’ input segments. These boxes describe expert opinions on why you should or should not invest in a company. I thought this feature was very helpful in growing my knowledge of a company’s possible future. There was also more analytics data available if purchased for viewers to look over an expert’s research on the company.
Cryptocurrencies used to mean nothing to me. We all have most likely heard about Bitcoin, but not other alternative cryptocurrencies. I am still unsure about what I think the future of cryptocurrency will look like, but learning about other alternatives helped further my business knowledge. Robinhood provides a list of alternative cryptocurrencies that users can view and choose to invest in. Solana, Dogecoin, Polygon, and Shiba Inu were just a few listed. Robinhood is not recommending these choices but merely makes them available to users.
I also learned about ETFs. ETF stands for exchange-traded funds. These investments diversify your investment at low risk. You invest in an asset with a common theme, which can be industry, sector, or even region. ETFs are buyable and sellable just like any other regular stock. There are cons regarding ETFs that Robinhood notes to its users. One con is that they can be difficult to trade even though ETFs are tradable throughout the day. Also, users may struggle to understand the variety in their investments. I have yet to invest in any ETFs, but it is one of my goals in the next couple of months to start learning more about them.
One of my most exciting discoveries was dividends. Dividends refers to a profit given to shareholders by a company during certain periods throughout the year. It is important to note that not every company offers dividends. Dividends are not just given out by the company because they want to thank their shareholders, but also are given to encourage investment in their company.
My First Investment
Once I started investing in Robinhood it was at a small capacity. I was investing in small dollar or two dollar purchases. I wanted to start very small so I could watch my stocks and hopefully gain more insight. I started out investing in Tesla. There’s been a lot of debate about whether or not Tesla is going to plummet, but I received some free stock from the app and decided to start there. I invested a couple of dollars into that company. I also started putting small dollar investments into NVIDIA and Meta Platforms. They were suggested in an article I was reading so I decided to branch out to investing in them as well.
As previously mentioned, I was investing small amounts of money into stocks. However, after reading more articles about investing I was able to conclude that in order to earn money you have to spend money. I was watching my investments change by cents a day, and even if there was a large percent change I barely noticed unless I flipped to that feature. I needed to diversify my portfolio more and invest real money into my stocks. I am still not investing large sums of money but a feature on Robinhood has allowed me invest $20 per week. It keeps me motivated to check in on my investments more often and motivates me to do my own research.
My Future In Investing
I started out on the Robinhood app with almost zero knowledge. I am still at a beginner level in investing but I can see myself slowly growing and learning over the months. My hopes are that I can become much more consistent with my investments and dedicate more time to learning. I also plan to take classes to help develop my understanding more.
I think something that always held me back from the stock market was the fear of looking dumb and making bad decisions. Now I see my failures as the beginning of my journey, and I know that one day I will look back and see how much I’ve grown.
If you ever wanted to start investing, give it a chance and allow yourself to make mistakes.