The holiday season is upon us and it’s considered to be the most stressful, er, I mean wonderful time of the year. It’s also the busiest time of the year, hence me being absent from my blog. Add in painting the upstairs hallway, replacing doors and painting doors (I helped sand the doorway trim and walls, but let’s be honest here, it was really my super handy dandy fiancé that did most of the work) and wedding stuff (Yes, the ball is actually rolling now!), only makes me more time starved for my blog.
Although I have a ton of other things to do which I know will not all get done today, I felt I needed some kind of escape from the gift shopping. My goal is to finish my shopping before next weekend.
Last month I finished up My Investing for Beginners Course taken at the University of Toronto. If you have ever taken a course while working full-time, regardless of whether or not it is in-class or online, you can relate to how tiring it can be. However, the class was well worth it. While some of it I had already learned on my own, it was nice to have the review. I also learned a lot of new info.
If only my family and friends shared the same passion for investing and finances.
I guess some people are driven my money and some people aren’t.
One thing that stood out in my mind about the course was that my lecturer literally started from ground zero in terms of investing topics. She gave answers to questions such as why invest your savings, why learn how to invest , why buy and hold, etc. (the stock market fluctuates constantly, but tends to rise in the long-term with economy growth).
The second class was a brief intro to economics. Back in my school days, economics, marketing, business and accounting were all the courses I had almost no interest in. If only my younger self could see my current self now. Constantly checking the business sections of the newspaper and GoogleFinance.
I don’t have a formal business background, but rather a science background, so this stuff was quite new and interesting to me.
There was a few tidbits on how to do research on stocks such as checking the 52-week high and low, comparing them to the current price and looking for steady increases in annual profits and revenues.
We always hear about diversification and not putting all your eggs in one basket when it comes to investing.
She emphasized on trying to hold companies in five major sectors:
- Manufacturing and industry
- Resource and commodities
- Consumer goods and services
So far I have stocks in manufacturing/ industry (Canadian National Railway), finance (Royal Bank) and consumer goods/services (Starbucks, Dollarama and Telus).
I also decided to take a risk and buy into the Ali Baba IPO. I had purchased it closer to the 52 week low value, so I’m not worried.
Unless there is a 20% percentage loss and/or something drastic happens to the company , I intend to keep it for the long-term.
Other lecture topics included mutual funds/ETFs (exchange traded funds) and index funds, financial advisors, DIY investing and a bit of technical analysis. Several guest speakers came in to discuss ETFs and DIY investing.
We also had a contest where we had to pick a stock, give reasons as to why we chose it and track its price for a few weeks. Afterwards we were to calculate the percentage gain. Prizes were given out for the stocks that had the most positive percentage gain and stocks that had the most percentage loss (or the most negative percentage gain, as another way of looking at it).
I am enrolled to take another course in January entitled: How Value Companies and Pick the Right Stocks. The course will go over how to read companies’ financial statements and how to analyze stocks through certain metrics. I am hoping that this course will help me have a better understanding on how to pick stocks and achieve better results.
Expect a post on that course in the near future. 🙂
No More Waffles says
Glad to hear you learned a lot from your investing course, Karen!
I think the tip on holding companies in five major sectors is a very good one when you’re just starting to build the base of your stock portfolio. Later on you can branch out to more exotic sectors and stocks.
Best of luck,
For the longest time, I only had two types of stocks. I guess I felt like that was enough at the time. I’m hoping in the New Year I can buy some utility and resource stocks. It’s too bad I can’t ask for that as a Christmas gift. It may be awhile before I’m comfortable buying exotic stocks though! 😛
Jon @ Money Smart Guides says
Good to hear you are learning all about investing!!
I went to grad school part-time while working and it is exhausting. There were some people in my class that had families and were working full-time. I have no idea how they pulled it off!
As for investing, at the end of the day, it really isn’t complicated. Buy solid companies and hold for the long-term. Not complicated, but not easy because we allow our emotions to get involved. This is why so many fail at investing.
Glad to hear you are ready for the next course. Can’t wait to read your thoughts on it!
The media also seems to add craziness to our emotions. It seems as if they like to create fear and speculation. Sometimes it’s hard though not pay attention to it when it’s all over the news.
I wish there were more courses available!
Get Rich Brothers says
It’s always great to update your skillset, whether formally or as a DIY project on your own time. That new course you’re taking to value stocks through UofT looks interesting as well. Anyone picking individual stocks rather than indexing should definitely have an idea of working their way around an annual report and some financial statements.
If you’re interested in long-term market data, check out “Stocks For The Long Run” by Jeremy Siegel. It’s a pretty amazing read, covering market data from 1802-2012 in the most detail you could possibly need.
– Ryan from GRB
Thanks for the book suggestion Ryan! I’ll have to check it out. 🙂
This sounds like exactly what I need. I would love to learn all this information right from the basics. I wonder if there is some distance class out there. It something in my Area. I will be looking into it for sure. Hopefully I’ll keep posting little bits of info for us all I. The meantime!