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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Investment Learning Experience: Teach Your Kids About Business, Stocks and Money Earning?

By James B. Baldwin


Trading is awesome! Everyone should trade stocks. The benefits that trading brings to anyone who sticks with it are vast. They spill over into and enrich all aspects of our lives, in a myriad of ways extending far beyond the obvious financial rewards. And it's never too late or too early to start learning this fascinating and empowering art.

Learning is naturally empowering and self-feeding, the more you know the more you want to know. And knowledge and diligence ultimately lead to success, which builds self-confidence. Once you start making money trading stocks, and you will if you apply yourself and stick with it, your whole worldview starts to change. As your income becomes less dependent on your time on task, as the markets reward you for the merit of your own decisions, I guarantee you will feel better about yourself and life in general.

When I was 12, my father opened a brokerage account for me. Of course back then you had to actually call your broker on the telephone to make a trade, so it was certainly intimidating at first. Trading, and really anything new, always is. But I bought some stock in IBM and never looked back from there. I saved income from my summer jobs including fishing golf balls out of water traps, mowing lawns, and painting houses. I invested some of my meager surplus income in stocks.

If you are a parent, I'm sure you want your kids to excel in all these critical life traits. Trading is a great way to teach them! Start your kids out young, it's easy and fun. When you take them out to their favorite restaurant, talk with them about the process of getting the food to their plates. Tell them about all the workers from the farmers to the truckers to the cooks, who labor hard and earn a profit for their part in the food chain. If the restaurant is publicly-traded, explain to your kids that they can own a small piece of this business themselves!

Trading is incredibly liberating, breaking a crushing bond that enslaves most people their entire lives. Trading divorces income earned from time on task. Salaried or not, we are all essentially paid to work by the hour. But this is a problem, it creates an artificial ceiling on our incomes since our time is precious and finite. We can only devote so many hours each week to work before our lives become an unbalanced, unhappy disaster. We effectively become financial slaves to our time available for work.

Teaching kids about business and stocks is very empowering for them, they naturally love to learn. It instills in them a broad practical worldview most people never experience, and increases the odds they will nurture their entrepreneurial side and ultimately do fulfilling work they love. The earlier anyone starts learning about trading, and all the necessary peripheral topics like sound money management, the more successful they will ultimately be.

The ultimate result of this liberation is the highly-sought-after goal of financial independence. If you start trading and stick with it for decades, you will get good. And trading mightily rewards experience, building fortunes for those who strive to master it. Eventually your trading will at the very least set you up to retire much earlier than you otherwise could. And since trading doesn't require excessive time (a few hours a week of research is often enough), it can free up many hours for you to pursue your life's passions.

Trading is a great equalizer, shattering all the limiting preconceptions that we burden ourselves with and others impose on us. The world is tough and unforgiving, and often we feel inadequate. The reasons are infinite. Maybe the world teases you about something, looks down on you for some reason, or doesn't respect you for who you are. All these crushing limitations that saddle real life are obliterated in trading.

Starting out small is actually really important. If you start out trading with a lot of money, odds are you will lose it and get discouraged. The great majority of traders lose almost all of their initial capital at some point in their first year or so of trading. It is par for the course. But the hard lessons learned, and the skillset developed through those early losses, scale beautifully to any amount of money as your trading prowess grows. Even if you are blessed with lots of surplus capital, start trading small with an amount you can easily afford to lose. As your confidence and skills gradually grow, only then should you start trading bigger.

The amount traded is totally irrelevant. If you can earn a 20% return on $1000 in your earlier years, you can earn a 20% return on $100k or $1m as your capital grows. The critical thing is just to get trading, start small and start learning the lessons stock trading teaches. Get your greed and fear under control and grow your understanding of the markets and stocks when you have little on the line. This foundation is essential to help you thrive someday in the future when you are risking a lot.




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