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  • Writer's pictureNEXT LEVEL money

Investment Education and Experience

My investment philosophy has morphed over the 15+ years since I first started investing. It's evolved as I've continued to learn over the years.

I went to school for finance and took investing courses. I've read dozens of investing books and thousands of investment articles (or at least skimmed them). I've been inspired by world class investors, past and present like Peter Lynch, Cathie Wood, Warren Buffett (and his mentors Ben Graham and Phil Fisher).

But nothing quite teaches you like learning from your own mistakes. I've committed plenty of mistakes over the years and I do my best to learn from them.

Despite my past performance, I still would not consider myself an investment expert or guru. There's still so much that I've yet to learn. And there are plenty of niche areas that I will probably never care to learn about. Since starting in 2005, I've only experienced 2 market cycles with the crashes of 2008-2009 and 2020.

As I gain more experience as an investor, I want my performance to come from more skill than luck. Luck (aka uncertainty that just so happens to fall in your favor) plays a large role in investing. Anyone who tells you otherwise is foolish. I was lucky since my first day of investing. Apple (AAPL) was one of my first two stock buys. Why did I buy AAPL? Largely because I grew up in a Mac household instead of a PC household and thought Apple's products were superior. I had no control over me growing up in a Mac household, thus it was luck.

I was also unskilled at the time. I had no clue how to properly valuate a stock or analyze financial statements at the time. And I definitely had no clue that the iPhone would come out 2 years later which would help propel the company to eventually become largest publicly traded stock. My analytical skills were barebones as best.

I held AAPL for 3 months before selling the position. I made ~30% return in those 3 month, so I thought I was pretty smart for selling at the time (that's like 3 years worth of returns in just a quarter, right??) Thankfully I did buy it back and it's contributed to my portfolio's alpha over the years. But I would have done better if I never sold any of the AAPL shares I bought. In fact, much better to the tune of 6 digits worth of money that I "could have made" if I never sold. Lesson learned.

I'm sure there will be many more lessons I will learn over the next several decades of investing (God willing). I won't expect to have everything figured out about investing after 15 years of experience any more than a 15 year old would have everything figured out in this journey we call life. Investing, like life, has it's ups and downs but hopefully you continue to growth with time.

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