Being smart with money has always been a hot topic in my family, and recently, my mother has been pressuring me to learn the ropes of investing. As my mother has difficulty navigating the internet never mind analyzing investment opportunities, it’s no surprise that she has been bugging me to educate myself about the ins and outs of the market.
After weeks of procrastination I finally decided to begin my quest by tackling the Google search bar (“learning to invest”, “getting started investing”, “how to invest”). With thousands of results sitting in front of me, I felt a bit overwhelmed, but I checked out a few of the listings to see what services were out there to help me learn.
There is certainly plenty of information out there, particularly if you’re looking for something specific, but from a general getting started standpoint, not many sites were able to deliver services in a user-friendly, easy to understand way for a novice investor like myself. Most sites just tried to get me to share tons of information in order to sign up for accounts, at the same time giving me the indication that I was really on my own after doing so.
I really wanted to find somewhere that understood where I was coming from and didn’t just want to make a quick buck off me. Almost on the verge of giving up, I came across a small start-up, SprinkleBit, that was seeking an intern. The timing was a bit ironic, so I curiously checked them out. And that’s where my investing journey began.
Signing Up For Free
Although I was a bit intimidated to take the first step, once I found myself on the SprinkleBit website, I was immediately sold by the fact that it was obviously targeting my generation, and even more specifically, the kinds of users (like myself) who lacked investment knowledge. Scrolling down the landing page, I discovered that it not only had a community of investors that shared information, but also an education platform called SprinkleBit University, a stock market simulator that would allow me to practice investing, and an actual brokerage service for when I was ready to actually start investing for real. Considering they weren’t asking for much information and were offering most of the services I needed for free, I couldn’t find a good reason not to give them a try.
Building A Profile
As the absolute minimum was asked of me during sign-up (name, email address, password), I was able to set up my account with a couple of clicks. I then was asked to begin creating my profile by first filling out my “investing style” that would help match me to other users with similar experience. Parts were a bit confusing because I wasn’t sure what to select, but I gave it a go anyway.
Next, I was asked to choose stocks that I wanted to add to my watch-list. I was unsure what companies I wanted to “watch” so I found myself selecting only the most well-known companies such as Coca-Cola, Facebook, Google, and Amazon. Finally, I was offered up a list of other investors that I could follow, which I took advantage of because I’d be able to see what they trade and hold in their portfolios. Not a bad way to learn the ropes I suppose.
Once I was done setting up my profile, I was able to go through an online tutorial explaining how to use the site and all its features. Once that was done, I played around a bit on my activity feed, which showed stocks other users bought or sold, as well as news articles and comments on different companies.
I played around with the site a bit and still felt a bit overwhelmed, but I realize that learning to invest is not an overnight process, so I’m going to have to dedicate some time to figuring it all out.
Success Or Failure?
My goal for this week was simply going beyond typing “How to start investing” into the Google search bar and actually taking the first step towards learning. Considering I actually opened an account and set up my profile, I’d have to say this week was a success! In the next few weeks I will be familiarizing myself with all that is offered with this free account, starting with SprinkleBit University. I need to start learning and understanding investment lingo if I want to be serious about this!