Thursday, February 22, 2024

How I Got Started In Investing.

July 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Money, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

( Someone recently asked me how I invest and thought that because my PhD is in Finance, I’d have a bunch of complex Harry Potter tricks that allow me to turn water into wine or a dollar into a thousand at the drop of a hat. I think my answer surprised them.

My investment strategies have been relatively simple.  The idea is basically understanding how delayed gratification can help you build the life you want.  You are investing anytime you allocate a scarce resource toward the pursuit of a longer-term objective.  This means that every time you take a pretty woman out to dinner, you are investing her.  When you spend time with your kids, that’s an investment.  Thousands of hours of study to become a doctor, well that’s an investment too.

In fact, anytime you get out of bed and do anything, you’re investing inInvesting-2014 something.  Unfortunately, some of us either throw away our most valuable resources (time, love, energy) or don’t invest in the things that will give us what we want.

First, I’ve always invested in myself: I invested tens of thousands of dollars and well over a decade getting the educational background necessary to compete as a black man in a world that would rather see me unemployed and incarcerated. I also invested thousands of hours and most of my paycheck trying to build a business so I could escape the trap I was in on my job. That allowed me to create situations where

a) my money was working for me,


b) when I chose to work, I could get paid what I was worth and demand more from the marketplace.

As far as standard investing goes, my approach has been relatively simple.  I don’t like stressing over money or worshipping my bank account.  I don’t feel that money makes me a better, smarter or more worthy human being.   I also don’t believe that having money brings happiness.  Instead, it’s the intelligent application of money that can create the options in your life that might bring you happiness if you have a well-developed sense of self.  Also, not having enough money can certainly be the key to discomfort, stress and unhappiness, which black people know all too well.

So, you can think about money like a bathroom:  You don’t care much about bathrooms until you need one.  At that point, it becomes the single most important thing in your life.

Here’s how you can get started with simple, standard investing.

Find a couple of mutual funds that are well-diversified, put a consistent amount of money in every month, don’t try to pick the right stocks, don’t try to buy at the right times, don’t obsess over the market. Just be consistent and let your money grow over time. Check your asset allocation every six months (asset allocation is what general classes of investments you have, stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.).

Do that over the course of a decade and you’ll look up and have a decent amount of money in the bank.  I don’t know which stocks I own, because my mutual funds literally spread my money over hundreds or even thousands of securities.   But I do know how much I am putting into my account every month, I know that it’s growing, and I know that the risk profile is appropriate for a man my age.

The key is consistency and patience.  That will help you build your nest egg, and anyone can put aside at least a little bit every month.  Most banks have investment options that they will be glad to explain to you.  But we have to get into the stock market, that’s for sure.

Most millionaires don’t get rich quick, they get rich slowly, despite what you read from rappers featured in Forbes Magazine.  Get started in investing right now, you’ve been doing it for your entire life. 

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit



One Response to “How I Got Started In Investing.”
  1. I agree with your investment strategy, with one exception Dr. Watkins. Not monitoring the market can get your money in serious trouble. Ask the people who didn’t listen to the market during the dot com period, or this so called great recession.

    I agree, you don’t have to check your stocks everyday with mutual funds, but you do need to know which way the market is going. After all you can always get back in. But once you lost all or part of your money, starting over is hard to do. So I would add, you should know if the whole market is going down or going up, and that’s not hard to figure out.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!