Today, I welcome Sogan, founder of the blog Upside. He will explain how to start investing in the stock market. An interesting subject, because after learning how to save and having created savings, it is important to make them grow. The stock market is one of the possible investment options. I’ll let Sogan tell you all about it.
You have a family and mouths to feed. Your primary concern is keeping them out of financial need. Which is understandable, of course.
Your concern is to gradually build financial wealth after creating precautionary savings. This makes sense, but you don’t know where to start.
The principal residence is not an asset but rather a liability. At the time of sale, you are not sure that you will make a significant capital gain taking into account the taxes and the loan you have to pay.
As for life insurance policies in euros, their returns are on a downward slope.
Why not start on the stock market?
This solution may scare you with the stock market crashes of the 2000s. At that time, I think that the people who took the slaps were poorly supported and did not know how to make their money work efficiently. Then it was the time when online brokers were taking their place in the financial sector.
When you talk about the stock market, you often refer to stocks. At some point, you must know what you are talking about.
Stocks are, by definition, shares in companies like L’Oréal, Danone or Coca Cola. Basically, you don’t feel that this is so speculative.
In truth, what bothers you the most are the constant price variations during the day. Honestly, it’s the system that hasn’t taught you how to take charge of your financial education.
Now you want to know how to do it with peace of mind. You and your spouse can do it together.
Yes. I say two people or a family even though investing in the stock market is not usually a solitary act. On the other hand, it will save you from being left to your own devices.
Since I don’t want to play with your impatience, here are 10 practical tips to get off to a good start on the stock market if you have a family to manage.
Tip 1: Take the time to analyze your needs and constraints
When you have a family, building and managing a stock portfolio can be a challenging journey. Rest assured! It’s not insurmountable if you take the time to think about it.
You need to ask yourself the right questions. Why do you want to invest in the stock market? What are the constraints you will face? These simple questions at first glance are not so easy to answer.
Isolate yourself in a quiet place. Then take a pen and paper and think about your needs and constraints. You can discuss this with your spouse.
Let’s start with needs.
Each case is different. If you want a precise idea of your needs, you must take into account several parameters that remain subjective:
- Income level
- Your age
- Your children
- Your current financial assets
- Your professional career
As for constraints, I know you’re going to point out the lack of time, especially when you have children. It’s up to you to find the right balance.
The other constraint that comes to mind is whether you own real estate. Why am I telling you this? Because it can influence your investor profile.
If you have a loan to repay in addition to providing for your children’s needs, it’s worth thinking about it because your margin of error in your investment decisions will be narrow.
Tip 2: Divide up the tasks for a good start on the stock market with your family.
You intend to manage your stock portfolio as a couple. The hardest part in this type of situation is being on the same page.
Define your roles to avoid domestic scenes. Buying or selling a stock is not done lightly. It’s a long process.
If you follow these steps to the letter, you will have less apprehension to start in the stock market:
- Make a list of stocks to buy on the condition that you understand the industry.
- Find the right sources of information about the stock in question. This is what we’ll see in tip #4.
- Financially analyze the stock and its sector environment. Some industries are highly sensitive to the business cycle.
- Don’t attach importance to macroeconomic events when making your investment decisions on a stock. Otherwise, take advantage of them when the markets decline.
- Do not hesitate to use technical analysis to determine your entry and exit price. That said, you don’t have to.
- Set yourself an acceptable level of loss so you don’t put yourself in a complicated relationship situation.
You can follow most of the steps in pairs. Where it might be tense, it’s your responsibility to push the buy or sell button. Your likelihood of hesitating will be high. The best thing you can do is to play fair to make your family’s stock market debut a success.
Tip 3: Read books and stock market blogs
Most of you may have been a little hasty in your learning. Reading books and stock market blogs will be indispensable to you.
Why is that?
You will need to acquire the basics on the main pillars of the stock market: fundamental analysis and technical analysis.
I’m not telling you that you’re going to be investment experts. A minimum of preparation is necessary so that you don’t go off on a tangent.
However, you want to know what are the best books and stock market blogs to get a good start in the stock market.
Here is a list of 10 books to perfect your learning. You don’t have to read them all.
Finally, I’ll let you discover the 32 best stock market blogs that could be worth their weight in gold, on Trading Attitude. However, there will be many that do not suit your needs.
Tip 4: Look for the right financial sites to inform yourself
You have a value in mind. You have agreed with your spouse to include it in your stock portfolio.
Have you taken the time to inform yourself and analyze it?
Rushing usually causes fatal errors. Afterwards, you may feel remorse.
Keep in mind that the stock market is an endless marathon. At some point, you will have an opportunity that will open up if you are patient and disciplined.
With the Web, the abundance of information can lead you to disperse in your decisions. You have to sort it out.
The sites of listed companies
What surprises me is that few individual investors visit the websites of listed companies.
Yet that’s where you’ll find the best sources of information. Knowing that they have an official character. Moreover, listed companies have a duty of transparency towards shareholders.
You have a global overview of the site. Click on “Investors / Shareholders” at the top left. You get the elements that interest you to analyse L’Oréal at a fundamental level.
Stock exchange sites
You’ve got plenty of choice with mobile apps on Android and Apple Store.
I’ll be honest with you. They all look the same in terms of the amount of information.
What will make the difference between a good stock market site and a bad one is the services you get. If possible, free.
You want to invest only in French stocks on the long term.
Investing in Les Echos and Le Revenu is more than enough.
To find information on the stock of your choice on Investir Les Echos, type its name on the search bar at the top of the window. Then click on “Company” and scroll down by clicking “View all financial data”.
You will finally get a summary of its results in the form of graphs and tables.
If you are interested in foreign securities, I recommend these 3 sites:
- Stock Exchange Zone
The first 2 offer you technical analysis tools. This is not negligible to take care of your timing of purchase or sale.
As for the stock exchange forums, you can find answers to your problems. From there to say that they are often good tips, be on your guard.
Tip 5: Choose stocks that have weathered financial crises with resilience.
Juggling family life and professional life is not so easy. This leaves you with little free time to devote to managing your stock market portfolio.
In phases of market stress in addition to the above, you can lose your footing. For fear of seeing your capital decrease significantly, you make inconsistent decisions that will cost you a lot of money in the near future.
How can you control your emotions?
This is a matter for me alone. But it’s up to you.
The ideal is to restrict your investment choices to stocks that have withstood the various financial crises. As a general rule, these are multinationals operating in sectors that are less sensitive to the economic cycle.
In terms of price fluctuations, they are less volatile because their financial results rarely disappoint. If they do, their problems are temporary.
Take an example like L’Oréal.
What I have learned to start well in the stock market is to think like the real rich. Multinationals are a perfect example of this. Why is that?
They are financially stronger than SMEs by taking care of their cash flow. Their international reputation will be difficult to dislodge by new competitors.
Icing on the cake. Multinationals regularly distribute stable or growing dividends, even in times of crisis. Owning a few of them will allow you to manage your stock portfolio more serenely.
They’re not that hard to find. Take a look at my investor portfolio and the monthly follow-up. You will notice that the majority of my stocks are very well known worldwide.
Tip 6: Place your stock market orders at home
Starting out on the stock market alone or with your family requires a minimum of concentration. Your home seems to be the ideal place to place your stock market orders.
Indeed, you have everything you need with a quality broadband connection. You are at your ease.
Nevertheless, you surely have rooms with sources of distraction that can disturb your analysis and decision making.
The living room with the TV on is not the room where your level of concentration will be the best. I consider it a place to relax.
The kitchen isn’t great with the clatter from the refrigerator.
You still have the bedroom. If you live in an apartment, I think it’s the best place.
If you live in a house, don’t hesitate to set up a personal office to free yourself from outside noise. You are more likely to be in control of your environment as long as it is clean and organized.
Tip 7: Think about taxes
Taxation of investment. You think about it. Why blame yourself? I think it’s commendable of you, especially in a family with dependent children.
Whatever your tax bracket (14% to 45%), you give enough to the IRS.
All the more reason not to overdo it.
In the good old days, you could find your tax account to start out on the stock market with a PEA or a securities account.
After the financial crisis of 2008, the tax advantages of a securities account were abolished. You can still benefit from capital gains tax deductions depending on how long you have held your shares.
Fortunately, the PEA did not suffer the same fate as the securities account. You are exempt from dividend and income tax without making withdrawals from the PEA’s liquidity for 5 years.
As a couple, you can increase your payment ceiling to €300,000 as of January 1, 2014. However, you won’t have the luxury of buying North American shares offering the best market conditions when buying or selling.
That said, you have the right to combine the two.
In any case, it is in your interest to have a long-term investment objective to really optimize your stock market tax situation.
Tip 8: Learn how to lose so you can bounce back better
The best way to win on the stock market in the long term is to make mistakes. Of course, you don’t have to make the same mistakes again.
Why are mistakes beneficial?
You gain experience, perseverance, wisdom and tenacity. You learn a lot about the specifics of the stock market.
Question yourself. Be brave. Keep your enthusiasm. Mistakes serve to move you forward in your goal to become a good investor.
When you have children, you think a little bit more about your investment decisions. You take care to analyze value both financially and by sector. This is a mark of wisdom.
Making mistakes has another virtue. You will learn to recognize your limits.
Tip 9: Don’t put all your strength into French equities
Building up a stock market portfolio with only French stocks is not necessarily the best way to go.
I know that it may surprise you. On the other hand, I understand you.
You want to favour familiarity and proximity in your investments because you have better access to information about the Paris stock market.
You have a portfolio of French stocks in different sectors. They have international exposure. You feel you have done the job in terms of diversification.
Wrong, your diversification is biased.
Imagine a major event on French soil such as the victory of Marine Le Pen in the presidential elections (unlikely for the moment) with the bonus of France’s exit from the euro, your French portfolio could suffer the consequences in the short term.
We are not there yet. But it deserves some thought. Obviously, this is not my wish.
Playing the real international card by investing in North American and European stocks with a strong global reputation is not a silly solution. You will have a balanced distribution of risk at the geographical and sector level.
For information with the euro, you can invest without the exchange rate risk, on several European stock exchanges such as Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Madrid or Rome.
Tip 10: Buy shares in times of pessimism
You understand that the stock market operates in cycles with the formation of speculative bubbles.
When everything looks rosy on the financial markets, you and individual investors (the weakest link) have an unfortunate tendency to get carried away and think that tomorrow will be eternally better.
A few months later, the stock market crash arrives. You’re stuck taking your losses. You finally decide to sell when it drops again. Then that’s when seasoned investors make their sales on good quality stocks like Air Liquide, L’Oréal, etc.
Alone, you withdraw into yourself in a difficult moment of solitude. You prefer to keep your family away from your problems on the stock market. That’s why it’s a good idea to take your time to learn the workings of the stock market.
Forget the sad side by giving you a tip on how to buy shares at reasonable prices.
You and your spouse want to prosper seriously. I suggest you buy during times of panic, fear and despair. If the media and the press make the stock market the front page of the red and black newspapers, it’s an excellent buying indicator.
Here’s a proof with my investment in SEB :
At that time, we were in the midst of the euro zone crisis since August 2011. Stock market indices were suffering.
I had this value in my sights for my investor portfolio. I felt that its decline was unjustified in relation to its fundamentals. To equate the eurozone crisis with SEB was surrealistic.
After re-analysing the company and taking into account the mood of the financial markets, I bought twice to have a solid line in my portfolio. My patience and courage were rewarded.
For most of you, I know that it is counter-intuitive to do this on a behavioural level. But the stock market has this ability to take bad news and go up again with something else in mind.
You seem lost. Well, take this proverb and write it down on a piece of paper:
“Bull markets are born pessimistic, grow skeptical, mature optimistic and die euphoric. ” by Sir John Templeton, founder of the Templeton Funds…
Investing well in the stock market through stocks takes work, but it’s not Everest.
Don’t give up. With your partner, you will make rapid progress in your learning. Encourage yourself and take your time to lay the right foundations.
In a country that swears by real estate and life insurance in euros, it’s hard for stocks to make a place for themselves in the sun. Everyone will say that investing in them over the long term is impossible because you have to be an expert in the field.
Do not give in to this blackmail. You don’t need to know everything. Just the basics.
With the Web, things have really changed. You can train yourself.
But you can still get someone to go with you. Plan a training budget in case you want to take the next step.
Do you want to become a good stock market investor and seriously help your family with future projects?
You are going to make mistakes. Take care to set a loss level so as not to dilute your capital. You must test to learn. Inaction never brings positive results.
When the financial markets are in a bad period, you must have an iron mind to cope.
When you’re interested in a stock, avoid acting on instinct and follow the steps outlined in tip #2.
Now that you have these tips for a good start in the stock market, make it a point to prove people with a poor opinion of this investment wrong.