Welcome to the first official post of my GOTM blog. I have been trying to work on this blog for a while now stressing myself out about a million and one details. I recently came to the conclusion that things will never be 100 perfect and decide to just do it.
I’ve been trying to decide on a first post and then realized what better story than to share how I discovered investing and a bit about how Girl$ on The Money was born.
Here we go …
I discovered the stock market for the very first time during my senior* year as an undergraduate student. I attended the State University of New York at Albany (SUNY-Albany) with the intention of becoming a Computer Science major. My “dreams” were crushed soon after I enrolled in Computer Science 101 and realized I was completely lost and confused. Even after getting a tutor I still found the subject extremely hard.
Prior to college, I attended public schools in Bronx, NY and had never taken a computer science course in my life. However, I loved the idea of technology and wanted to “be part” of this “new world” (think 2001 or so). I also graduated salutatorian from my high school and had a lot of confidence in my ‘smarts’ and the idea that I would be able to just “get it”. Guess what, that wasn’t happening.
I was discouraged for a while and discussed this with my college counselor. I had no idea what to do next. He suggested I look into the business school and consider majoring in Business instead. At first I was skeptical but then it kind of started to make sense. I grew up with a father who had a very successful business for YEARS (he still does!) . I also loved math and numbers and all that good stuff and business actually started to sound interesting. I figured, OK sure! And so, I slowly started adding business courses to my schedule.
In the fall of 2004 I enrolled in a class that completely changed my life – “Investment Management” by professor Christopher Faugere (still clearly remember his name and the class). As someone that had NEVER been exposed to the world of investing in any way, shape, or form; I found the course extremely fascinating and was completely hooked from the beginning. The core of the class was to learn the general concepts of investing and how to analyze publicly traded companies. Our project for the semester was to apply everything we had been learning into building a virtual stock portfolio.
While my team and I didn’t win the contest of the most ‘profitable portfolio’ we did get a 92% on our paper and I won something far more valuable – I found a passion. I immediately switched my concentration to finance.
The actual report that i’ve saved for well over a decade!
In May of 2005 I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Finance and went on to work a corporate job in the insurance industry. Although my real dream was to work in Wall Street for a major investment bank, the reality was that I had zero connections in the Wall Street ‘world’ and as a minority (Latina) and also a female I was not very well represented in the finance world (we still aren’t). I was afraid I would graduate jobless and disappoint my parents. And, so, I decided to go with the insurance job.
All I could think about day in and day out was how I could start investing and asking the “universe” to send me someone that could explain this to me. Notice that even with an “official” degree I was still a clueless and confused about the actual process of investing.(Side note: this is why I love teaching my investing class because I get to show my students exactly how this works).
I was eager to learn and so I would read everything I could find on the subject. I would say I was borderline obsessed and I may or may not still be the same today =).
It took 3 years for me to finally meet someone that taught me the actual process of investing. As my higher power, luck, or the universe would have it, this person was a new hire at the insurance company where I worked. The crazy thing is that they could have sat this person anywhere in that office but they sat him right next to me and we got to talking.
Talking about stocks to anyone who would listen is something I had been doing for YEARS so naturally the conversation came up. Most of the time I would be greeted with blank stares and confusion. However (and thankfully) this time was different. To my pleasant surprise, this person shared they had been investing for a while and dedicated the following weeks to teaching me everything he knew about investing.
I would be forever thankful to that person (Alimo). If it wasn’t because he “magically appeared” in my life perhaps I would have never gotten started or would have gotten started much later in life. I also know there are no coincidences in life and I took that ‘serendipitous’ meeting as a gift from God/my higher power.
Finally, in the summer of 2008, a few months shy from the financial crisis that shook the world, I opened my very first online brokerage account with Tradeking and a few days later I bought 4 shares of stock from my favorite company – Google. I remember the day clearly and I was so excited I think I almost cried. As you could probably tell by the fact I only purchased 4 shares, I was still a little bit “hesitant” and working on getting the hang of it. I was so excited to go through the actual process and to just learn hands-on how to complete an investing transaction from beginning to end.
As the financial crisis got crazier and major corporations started going out of business I was not discouraged at all. Instead, I remember being super excited and started to buy shares of high quality companies at deep discounts. I think this only served to strengthen my love for investing and I continued educating myself on the subject.
As time went by and my passion for investing continued growing, I decided to pursue an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship which I finished with honors in the spring of 2014. I learned a ton in those business classes mostly fancy finance formulas and how to be strategic about business practices. I also learned that no one needs an MBA degree or a finance degree to understand investing and be successful at it.
Once I finished my MBA degree I was faced with the decision of pursuing my life long dream of a Wall Street job. However, as the universe would have it (again!) a semester before I graduated with my masters I got the idea for Girl$ on The Money while sitting at a cubicle at my corporate job.
In the spring of 2014 after finishing my MBA I finally quit my job in insurance and decided to pursue my dream of Investing Education for the masses. Despite wanting a “Wall Street Job” so bad for many years, when I got the idea for Girl$ on The Money things started to make a whole lot of sense.
I soon realized that maybe my mission in life is not working in Wall Street making the wealthy wealthier. My mission is to spread the knowledge of investing education to everyone who will listen and show (in a practical hands-on way) that investing is NOT rocket science and that anyone has the power to invest and be successful at it.
Today I manage a profitable portfolio of various stocks most of which I’ve held for several years. One of the reasons why I feel so strongly about investing and spreading the knowledge of investing education is because I have seen first hand the incredible difference between seeing your money grow in an investing account VS. seeing your money make pennies on the dollar every year in a regular bank account.
If you educate yourself and make educated investing decisions (which is what I strive to teach with my content and everything I share) you can grow your wealth a lot faster and be exposed to a world that many of us are not exposed to – sometimes ever! Through Girl$ on The Money I am here to change that.
In this blog I will continue sharing valuable content about investing for beginners so please feel free to spread the word and share with your family, friends, and loved ones.
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Cheers to profits!
*Edited to update that I actually discovered the market my senior year of college not my junior year. My report for that infamous investing class shows it was submitted November of 2004 when I was actually a senior not a junior :).