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The Big Panic: Actually Buying Stocks

So I decided to try my hand at buying stocks. I knew about blue chip stockspenny stocks, and all the other major categories. But actually going on an online broker site was by far one of the most intimidating things I’ve experienced. Each stock had information that didn’t really make much sense to me.

While I obviously understood what the price meant, and what the fluctuations of the price on the graph meant, there was a lot that I didn’t know. I didn’t know what a Beta is. I don’t know what an EPS is. I also don’t really know what the Volume or P/E is supposed to represent. No one ever really told me what these things are supposed to be. It wasn’t covered in school. It wasn’t really covered in any Suze Orman book I’ve read. All these numbers, which were probably very important, had no real explanation given to me at any point in my life.

I froze, totally intimidated by my lack of information.

Looking at the screen, I realized something that was pretty brutal on my end. In all honesty, I had no idea what I was looking at. I was no professional stock broker, that’s for sure. I felt ill-prepared to begin building an investment portfolio.

Learning about the stocks you pick is important, and I didn’t even bother to read recent news headlines to find out what was even going on in each company. With all the emphasis of learning and researching I had, I had forgotten to actually look into the quality of the companies that I was about to put money into! Worse, I had no idea what the heck most the weird numbers on the page were supposed to mean.

Feeling like a complete idiot, I closed the laptop and sighed. It appeared I was not ready to make the move for my first stock purchase quite yet. It also didn’t make too much sense to me to spend $5 or $10 per trade if I wasn’t going to make that much money back.

I then looked at my desk and noticed a bill for a credit card that I own. It then dawned on me that paying off my debt would be a better investment. I would end up paying less interest, get a better credit score, and also most likely have less chance of a heart attack when looking at my bills every month. So, that’s what I focus on.


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Jason Vitug

Jason Vitug is founder at phroogal, creator of the award-winning project the Road to Financial Wellness, and author of the bestseller and NY Times reviewed book, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life.

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  1. When you do decide to get started, take a closer look at index funds instead of individual stocks. It’s a lot less intimidating and you funds are cheap through an online broker like Vanguard. That’s who I use.

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