I Invested in the Stock Market for the First Time

Holly Slater

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My expertise is writing in the relationship niche. I’m no financial guru, but, I have been slowly building a steady side income from blogging, and I’ve recently been able to start on that epic and seemingly impossible endeavor known as “saving.” 

And with saving, comes the possible (and far riskier) fuel for investing. 

This week, I made my very first few purchases in the stock market. I’m using the Robinhood app, which seemed the most accessible and least complicated for a newbie like me (even though it’s still plenty complicated). 

My desire to invest began long before Game Stop hit the news, but that fiasco put the idea back into the forefront of my mind. 

I wanted to start, but I had no clue what I was doing and needed to learn a bit more. So I did. 

Let’s be honest though. I learned a little bit more, but I didn’t spend hours agonizing over my new endeavor. I watched a few YouTube videos, read a few articles, listened to a couple of podcasts (this one about the basic terms a new investor needs to know before beginning is fantastic).

I like that Robinhood is commission-free, secure, and it doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to set up your account. You can also invest in something called fractional shares for any amount, meaning you can own part of a stock in something that might otherwise be too pricey for your current investing power. 

And, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I couldn’t get myself too worked up or freaked out over what might happen to my money. 

Before I could start, I needed to be fully aware and accepting of the fact that I could very well lose any money I invested. To me, it seems that having realistic risk awareness is the smartest first step you can take. 

Baby’s First Buy

I started with “disposable income.” As a woman who was once a single mom on food stamps, I hate that term. Because of my poor financial background, I don’t feel that any amount of income is disposable now. But I eventually decided on $300 — an amount I was comfortable investing, knowing that my world won’t be turned upside down if I lose it. 

This amount is a reasonably small portion of my savings. And the only reason I have any savings to begin with is thanks to my part-time blogging efforts. 

Next, I downloaded the Robinhood app. Then I set up my account and transferred the $300 to start investing. A mere pittance for the wolves of Wall Street, but nothing to sneeze at for this newb. 

My very first buy was Microsoft (MSFT). It seemed like a smart pick to me. I’ve used and loved Microsoft for years, and it’s treated me well in all my scholarly, creative, and professional pursuits. 

I purchased one share at $245.02 — most of my starting allowance for investing.

Microsoft is a buy right now, according to investors.com. It beat out the giant Amazon to win a major U.S. Defense Department cloud-computing contract in October 2019, which will pay the company $10 billion over 10 years. MSFT has also increased its market share from 10% to 20% over 16 quarters.

What the hell does all that even mean? 

I’m not exactly sure, but I was always a strong reader — good at deciphering the bits and pieces I may not fully understand via context clues. This analysis of Microsoft, in my opinion, reads as a smart choice.

Then I focused on picking smaller stocks, seeing as I’d blown most of my load already. 

Here’s the list of my investments thus far:

  • Microsoft (MSFT): 1 share at $245.02
  • Pfizer (PFE): 1 share at $34.75
  • Trivago (TRVG): 1 share at $3.54
  • Catalyst Pharmaceuticals (CPRX): bonus stock from Robinhood, 1 share at $4.45

My second and third choices were made partially with some light research, but also due to my own emotions. Mixing emotion with investing is something I’m certain every pro would warn you against. But I believe in the work Pfizer is doing. And with my investment in trivago’s hotel booking site, I’m just hoping against hope that travel will soon be where it once was before COVID-19 turned the world upsidedown. 

And remember my big disclaimer here — I really have no idea what I’m doing and am ready to be out $300 after this little experiment if I’ve happened to make all the wrong choices. 

Branching Out 

Technically, I’m no stranger to investing. I invested in my college education and now have a job that I love. I invested in my blogging and podcasting pursuits and have since generated monthly side income. 

And throughout 2020 (and yes, into 2021), I invested heavily in drinking. You see, writing makes me yearn for a crisp glass of white. And a crisp glass of white, in turn, makes me want to write. It’s a vicious egg-chicken thing. We all have our demons. 

My dividends on heavy drinking are nothing aside from gaining the occasional few pounds and the odd terrible hangover. Not a great ROI if you ask me. 

I’ve never been much of a gambler. Though I certainly do love the thrill of the game, I’m always able to stop playing Blackjack at the casino after I lose. I’ve literally gone to the casino in my hometown with a $40 limit. The minimum bid for Blackjack at that place is $20, so I know I’ll at least get to play my favorite game twice, then hang out in the bar and listen to live music (much more my comfort zone).

Investing in the stock market is my way of branching out. I need to keep pushing — to keep learning. 

Risk and Reward 

If you decide to try investing, I think the most important thing to remember is this: make sure you start with an amount you know you can afford to lose. 

No, no one wants to lose their hard-earned cash. But for me, the idea of my savings sitting there and earning me practically nothing is almost as worrisome to me as trying to decide which stocks to invest in. 

I hope to write an update later with good news on these investments. And, as I continue to put some money away, I’ll continue to invest small amounts here and there.

But really, I couldn’t tell you one way or another what’s going to happen. Who the bleep knows? 

Investing is risky, while saving is not. When you invest, you’re inviting the potential for financial loss into your universe. But you know what? My refrigerator crapped out two months ago — hitting us with a big financial loss. 

These things happen. Car repairs, busted appliances, health expenses — they aren’t completely avoidable. But at least with investing, you’re not only inviting potential risk — you’re also inviting the potential for rewards into your universe. 

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Writing about places to see, things to do, and news to know.

Cincinnati, OH
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