Want to make money? Investing it is the answer, and it's easier than you think

Want to make money? Investing it is the answer, and it's easier than you think

Becoming rich is a dream many of us have, but if you're not sure how to save your money wisely, you could think about investing it

If you have a job for the summer, then you may have had a paycheque. It may even be your first one. Congratulations! Now, what should you do with that money? That may sound like a silly question, but it's not.

Saving the money is smart, but putting it in a bank means your money will be worth less and less over time, because of inflation. One thing you could do is invest your money.

First of all, you're not alone if you're not sure how to handle your money. Ernest Tan is a Singaporean who founded Jopez Academy, a school to teach children and adults what to do with their money.

He says he didn't figure out good money management until he was in his 30s. He came from a very poor family: his mother wasn't educated, and his father was bankrupt. He stayed poor until his 30s.

"Every month, my salary was just enough to cover my expenses," Tan says. "I wasn't sure how to make any money other than to work hard."

But then he became an insurance agent. He started reading investment books, and taught himself about investing and finance.

Put your money in three jars

Before we mention stocks, let's talk about what to do with your money. For young people, Tan recommends putting it in three places: money that you spend, money that you save, and money that you share, or give to charity.

The money that you save is the money that you should invest.

To show why this works, Tan points to a former student of his who is now 18. The boy started learning about investments in secondary school. He worked with his parents and started investing S$400 (HK$2,300) every year. Tan says that student's investment account is now worth 16 per cent more than the amount he has paid in.

Tan says young people should talk to their parents about what makes sense in terms of investing money that they can afford.

You don't need to spend money to learn

That's exactly what former Young Post junior reporter Pradyumn Dayal does. The 15-year-old is now a student at Phillips Exeter Academy in the US. He says that when he got his first iPad a few years ago, he looked up Apple's stock out of curiosity, and asked his mother if he could buy some.

"I asked my mother: 'Can I buy Apple?' and my mum said: 'Red or green?'"

Pradyumn explained what he meant and discussed it with his parents. They then bought a few shares in Apple. He looked into other companies too, like Tesla, the electric car company. But he no longer holds any stock, and says that you don't need to spend money to learn about investing. He says he runs a paper portfolio with tools such as Google Finance or Yahoo Finance. That lets you invest in stocks as if you had the money. You can figure out trends, what stocks are good investments, and what aren't, without losing any money.

Investing makes you smarter

Now, maybe this is starting to sound like homework. But Pradyumn says learning about investing actually changed the way he sees the world. For example, he learned about the complex processes behind how his iPad was made.

As an example, he points to a scene in a TV show, Silicon Valley. There's a businessman who buys a lot of burgers at Burger King. He notices the buns have sesame seeds, and learns there are only three countries that grow sesame seeds. Of those three, two are suffering from insect plagues. This means they are unlikely to produce great sesame seeds. He invests in the third country and makes a profit.

As Pradyumn notes: "Everything you own, everything that you interact with, is owned by a company somewhere. Once you see how it's all linked, and once you can talk intelligently about what this stock does … not only do you seem smarter to other people, but you actually know more about the world and the ways of the economy."

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Want to make money? Invest it


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