Investing 101 for dummies: buying stocks, befriending money, and more

Ask yourself why you feel resistant when discussing money

preen investing 101 money matters

Whenever money is the subject of a conversation, I feel insurmountable dread. I list down multiple reasons why I’m a hopeless case—I’m bad at math, I only live paycheck to paycheck, etc. For those of you who have been or are currently in my place, you might have also asked yourself this question: Is it really possible for me?

Luckily, my chat with 25-year-old abundance coach and financial advisor Kimmy Chua made me realize that I do have options. I just have to be willing to consider them. Here’s how our conversation went.

First off, can you tell us about your work as a personal coach and financial advisor?

As a personal coach, I help people discover and rediscover the FUNdamentals of fitness, finance, and faith.

Fitness (in the physical, mental, and social aspects) goes first. It’s something that we tend to overlook, especially during our prime years. Aside from that, it’s important to look into our financial resources. Finance is not just limited to money. It also involves where we’re putting our time, energy, and attention. Lastly, faith is not limited to the sectarian type—it’s reconnecting and aligning our work with what matters most to us. 

 

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What is your top advice for someone who has just started handling their own money?

Build a relationship with money. Befriend it and see it as an ally. There are notions that money is the root of evil and a cause of conflict, but it boils down to the clarity of our intentions. 

I was inspired by the Japanese to say “thank you” to the money that I spend and receive online or through cash. Recognize that we are thankful for the exchange that happened. When receiving money in the form of a gift or your change, embody gratitude by receiving it without guilt or hesitation.

When it comes to spending, I appreciate the seven-day rule. Before making a purchase, check in after seven days whether you still feel like buying it. For a high-value item, ask if you can see yourself using it after 10 months. Do you really need and want it if it’s not on sale? Consider not just the price, but also its quality. 

Another way to combat buyer’s remorse is to create a culture of circular economy. Find new homes for items that once sparked joy in you.

How do I know how much to allot for savings, spending, and investments?

The best way to attain financial growth is to be able to keep track of your money and diversify. Look at your money as if it’s divided into plant pots. Some plants are already growing and are self-sufficient. Some are high maintenance while others are not. A common money breakdown that you’ll see is 50% for your needs, 30% for your wants, and 20% for your savings and investments.

There are some months that the needs allocation tends to be higher and that’s okay. But think of the savings and investments component as “paying your future self.” Setting up a business is also a way to attain financial growth, though it entails risk. Choose something that you enjoy doing or creating. It can be trading items like K-pop merch or creating digital art. Before starting, check the market by conducting interviews, surveys, and research.

When is it the right time to start investing? What are the factors to consider in making an investment?

Yesterday was the best time, friends! But it’s never too late. When the market is low, it’s an optimal time to enter.

Consider your why. Staying anchored to it will help you stay focused and on track. Then, ask yourself how long and frequent you see yourself adding to and keeping the investment. Also, think about how much money you’re planning to allocate.

A photo of Kimmy Chua

What’s a good first investment, especially for young professionals? What can you say about investing in the likes of stocks and crypto?

I’d like to emphasize that investing in one’s health is something that we hope to revolutionize. Invest in yourself firstboth in your health and by learning.

But going back to the financial side, set up an emergency fund for unforeseen situations first. It’s also essential to have a savings account. For those who feel that they lack time to study the market trends, mutual funds would be a good starting point. For those who are eager to study how the market works, stocks are a foundational long-term choice.

I then recommend identifying one’s risk appetite when it comes to investing. Are you the aggressive type who [accepts] the ups and downs of the market? Or do you see yourself as a balanced investor who allocates half for long-term high-risk and high-reward investments and the other half to more conservative types? Maybe you prefer to be a conservative investor who sticks to a fixed amount of return for a certain timeframe (such as Pag-IBIG’s MP2 savings). 

As for my personal opinion on cryptocurrency, the caveat is that your investment should be an amount that you may be willing to lose. I recommend that you only enter your “extra” resources and manage your expectations.

You encourage your clients to practice an abundance mindset and heartset. What does that mean and what’s the first step they need to take?

It starts from within—recognizing that we already have inner resources (such as courage, kindness, and grit) and [that] there’s room for us to keep growing and improving. Abundance means being in a space of creativity.

[It is a mindset] of [knowing that we] already [have] what we need for now versus being in survival mode and constantly wondering what you still lack. It may be done with an honest and compassionate self-audit. It’s giving ourselves permission to be okay with failing forward. 

A simple practice would be daily [affirmations]. What I’ve learned to bring with me is a quote from my grade school teacher: “Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better. And I believe it!” 

 

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Is being money-savvy a key to finding happiness? How does our relationship with money connect with our wellbeing?

When talking about money matters, it usually brings a bit of resistance. Ask yourself why you’re feeling that way.

Being money-savvy not only gives us the extra boost of confidence, it also helps us build up the moments that bring us joy. Ultimately, befriending money helps us address our day-to-day finances with much more ease and less of the stress. We may not gain complete control over it, but we are still empowered to recalibrate. I’d like to share a quote by Suzuki Roshi: “The most important thing is to remember the most important thing.”

 

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