How I Became an Investor and How You Can Too

When I was a young boy, I remembered that the only impression I had about stock market investing is that it’s RISKY (yes, it was that risky to me).

I had heard stories of celebrities “playing” the stock market and ending up broke; I had also caught wind of the 1997 Asian financial crisis which marked the start of the thinning process for my dad’s mop of hair. (Fortunately, the stock market recovered after the crisis and my family was not affected financially; sadly, my dad’s hair never did return.)

These anecdotes and experiences had left a strong impression on me about the dangers that lurk in the stock market.

But I soon realised something important when I started working. My salary from my first job was only RM1,800 (around S$680) per month; with that amount, it would be extremely difficult for me to save up a sufficient amount for retirement without any help.

I calculated that, even with a spartan lifestyle of staying with my parents and not dining out at all, it would still take me more than 800 years to become a millionaire if I had depended on just saving what I could from my starting salary.

I needed something that will help accelerate that wealth-building process and just like billionaire investor Warren Buffett had done many decades earlier, I found it in a book: The Intelligent Investor. The investing book, written by Buffett’s mentor Benjamin Graham, made me realise that investing in stocks need not be a risky act so long as I, the investor, remain prudent in what I choose to invest in.

The idea that I could control the level of risk I was taking on (mainly by choosing the right companies at the right prices) allowed me to see stock market investing as a great way to help me achieve financial freedom.

After digging through The Intelligent Investor, I began diving deep into the topic of investing. I read every book I could get my hands on about it, including annual reports from different companies. Investing gradually became a central part of my life and is today, more than just a method for me to reach financial freedom – it has become a lifestyle and passion.

Foolish Take

To be honest though, I realise that being actively engaged in stock market investing is not for everyone. There are only a small group of people who would really enjoy reading pages upon pages of documents filled with numbers and financial and legal jargon every day. For many people, investing is just a method to reach financial freedom – and that’s perfectly okay

But here’s the thing – you don’t have to give up investing completely even if it’s not something that interests you. We at the Motley Fool Singapore are here to help by doing the dirty, boring stuff and presenting it in a simple, easy to understand and (hopefully!) entertaining manner.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore writer Stanley Lim does not own shares in any companies mentioned.