How to Avoid These 5 Personal Investing Mistakes
Do you find yourself regretting past decisions that have cost you valuable time and money? If so, you're not alone. Many individuals have made costly errors when it comes to investing their hard-earned cash. Unfortunately, that includes me. 😥 In this special blog, we are joined by my good friend Charlote Belle of outliersconnect.xyz in collaboration to reveal our personal investing mistakes and lessons learned from them. We hope that the costly blunders in our financial journey can help you avoid falling prey to them and make smarter investment decisions.
Disclaimer: these are our own personal experiences and by no means should be taken as financial advice. So, let’s delve deeper into each one to know some of the most untalked-about investment traps that we fell into.
What went wrong with investing in NFT, Cryptocurrency, and Shitcoins
In 2021, Bitcoin was at its all-time high with values exceeding $65,000 per BTC which led to its rise in popularity. Everyone was wishing they invested sooner and was scrambling to get into the cryptocurrency investing space. Alongside this, the popularity of NFTs skyrocketed and one of the most popular NFT games out there was Axie Infinity by Sky Mavis. We won’t get into detail explaining what it is because it has been covered by the mainstream media already and if you’re a Filipino you have probably heard of it.
The Hype Was Real. Almost everybody knew somebody who was playing or was involved in it. In a podcast, one of Axie’s founders posed the game to be “a solution to poverty for 3rd world countries”. Sad to say, I (Rem) failed to see the red flags from that podcast conversation and bought overpriced Axies because I wanted to “invest”. There was no investing goal or exit strategy. I learned later on that what I did was speculation instead of investing. Investing is when you are putting money into an asset with a surefire return on your capital. Otherwise, you are just speculating if there’s high risk and no guaranteed return.
What we learned:
“Investing without a guaranteed return on capital is not investing. It is speculation.”
If you are not 100% sure or don’t understand what it is, don’t invest.
If you don’t understand but still want to invest, do research.
Don’t trust the hype even if it’s from Elon Musk lol. RIP $DOGE
Never invest with your emotions. The DCA method helps in applying this.
Know your risk appetite before investing.
Buying a new investment product (REIT) in the stock market that is not yet stable in the market but banked on the potential return but ended up losing money.
Investing without a financial plan that fits current needs, lifestyle, and future goals
Most mom and pop would encourage you to buy your own house. At least mine (Rem) did. So when they offered a foreclosed property in 2020, without much thought I agreed to get it and carried a 30-year mortgage. After all, buying a house was an investment right?
Then the ever-famous Robert Kiyosaki came along in my life. I (Rem) was enlighted by his videos about the 4 cashflow quadrants and buying a property. He said, “Your house is not an Asset”. When it doesn’t give you cash flow but takes out money from your pocket, it’s a liability. Technically, owning a property is still an asset especially if it has current or future economic value but his point is if it will never give you cash flow because you live in it and don’t plan to sell it then it’s just an expense. That’s when I realized, shoot! I should’ve thought about this, before carrying a 30-year mortgage. 🤪
What we learned:
Buying a property or a house to live in is not an investment. It’s an expense. There’s no cash flow because you don’t rent it out. You may have been pressured to buy one because of your relatives or the people around you. I learned that we must identify if buying a property to live in meets our lifestyle and goals. For instance, if you’re someone who travels a lot and can work anywhere, it doesn’t make sense to buy a home that you won’t occupy very often. In this case, it makes more sense to rent.
Without a financial plan, you could end up ballooning your expenses instead of gaining an additional income source
By not having a clear investment plan the path to financial freedom could get tricky. It starts first with educating yourself on how financial literacy then works your way to how you can implement what you learned in your life.
No clear investment strategy
One of our biggest personal investing mistakes is investing without a clear financial plan that fits our current needs, lifestyle, and future goals. We failed to ask ourselves, “Do I want to invest using a long-term or short-term strategy?”. I (Rem) used to think that investing was like gambling but if you have a clear goal and strategy it is so far from relying on luck 99% of the time. We already have tools and data to analyze the movement of the market and make more informed decisions. So if you’re investing money in something, you need to also invest in knowledge.
What we learned:
A good investment strategy has a budget, secured capital, and an exit strategy.
High return = High risk; Low return = Low risk
You don’t necessarily get rich at investing, especially if you're playing low-ticket investments. If you invest small, you get low returns but it’s still better than leaving your money to earn 1% at the bank when they invest it anyway.
Not diversifying and having no exit strategy can eat up your savings or investment budget.
Understand the basics of the market. Invest in what you understand so your portfolio won’t turn red just like mine (Charlote Belle).
Buying stocks for the long term and dividends as I discovered FAT Fire resonates with the life that I (Charlote Belle) want.
Trying to time the market or beat the market
I (Belle) opened my stock market account way back when I was in college, but I only started buying stocks in 2020 because I was waiting for the right time to enter the market. I had analysis paralysis, there were a lot of stocks to choose from, and I couldn't decide what to buy because I was afraid of making the wrong choice. I could have started at 19 investing in the stock market and made compound interest work its magic instead of being anxious at that time.
What we learned:
“Time in the market is better than timing the market.” - Ken Fisher
There’s no better time to start investing. Start it today and your future self will thank you.
The Truth about Life Insurance in the Philippines
A month ago I (Rem) canceled a Life Insurance I bought from Malayan Insurance. I was paying P340 every month starting in 2021. The policy benefits are as follows:
Daily Hospital Income Benefit: P3,000
ICU Confinement: P3,000
Accidental Death: P100,000
Total and Permanent Disability: P100,000
Educational Cash Allowance: P10,000
House Rental Cash Allowance: P5,000
Monthly Cash Pension: P5,000
Now I wouldn’t have a claim to any of these unless I got in an accident, was admitted to the ICU, or I was dead. But in the 3 years I was paying, I experienced neither, thankfully. I doubt that in the next 3 years, I would because the probability is low. I work from home, don’t commute, and don’t travel a lot. Another point is what if in 5 years I was paying for a P2,000 per month insurance, suddenly had no job and couldn’t afford to pay it anymore? The total premium I would’ve paid in those 5 years is P120,000. All of that is gone because You Can’t Refund Your Premium Back if you chose to cancel your insurance. Unless your policy says that you can.
So the most important lesson here is to READ YOUR POLICY. Don’t get carried away by insurance agents posing as financial advisors. If they are under an insurance company, it’s easy for their opinions to be biased. They will care more about sales than how this insurance would fit your needs. Ask yourself, “How will this policy fit my current lifestyle and needs? As a single 25+ years old working adult who doesn’t have any dependents and no retired parents, will this really benefit me?” Make sure that if worse comes to worst, if you can’t pay for a Life Insurance anymore that you can claim your premium back.
What we learned:
Buying life insurance without goals is a waste of money.
What insurance companies sell you is the feeling of security but there’s a huge probability you can’t claim it anyway so it would be better to set it aside as your emergency fund or savings.
Some insurance agents or financial advisors are biased toward the insurance company they’re working for. Of course, they will sell you their company’s insurance, not a policy that fits your needs.
Looking at the policy and what fits your needs is key.
It is still an investment so we need to look at if we can secure our capital or have ROI. Sadly in the 3 years, I (Rem) was paying, I didn’t have any ROI.
Use insurance as a protection if you already have assets not when you are still building them. It takes a big chunk of your budget and might not be a good idea in the long run.
Consulting a therapist or psychologist is a waste of money
I (Rem) used to believe that seeking help from professionals like psychologists and therapists was a waste of money. It’s a taboo in the Philippines. People would think that you’re crazy and would look at you differently.
Before the pandemic, I had terrible issues with my mental health and I confided what I’ve been experiencing to a friend. I told them that I feel like I need to seek help from a psychologist to unpack what was going on in hopes to get better. That friend told me that going to the psychologist was a waste of money. I took on that advice and proceeded with my life until years later it became worse. I turned to alcohol and was building a lot of bad habits. Later on, I decided to talk to a therapist who told me I had Seasonal Affective Disorder. I talk more about it and how I got better in this blog. Long story short, I discovered that Investing in yourself is NOT a waste of money. Sure the ROI is hard to quantify but remember, you are your best investment.
When you feel there’s something wrong, even when there’s none, that could be a sign of anxiety, or sometimes it’s this weird physical symptom that I (Belle) ignored at first but ended up as a panic attack. Seeking help to identify what’s wrong with your body is also similar to the mind. You can’t just ignore it and wait for it to get worse as I did. Physical exercise like yoga didn’t help either to calm my mind, but going to a psychiatrist did by talking through my emotions, and getting the right medication. It may be expensive, but trust me it’s worth it and you are worth it.
What we learned:
Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Helping yourself get better can make wonders in all aspects of your life not just mentally.
Face it till you make it not Fake it till you make it.
We’re not rich. We both are average people trying to survive life, taking advantage of opportunities to have better financial well-being while being responsible adults. It’s embarrassing to share mistakes especially when it comes to money but personal finance shouldn’t be a taboo and we hope that by being vulnerable and sharing our own experiences, it can shed light on the fact that it is ok to have some errors even costly ones. It’s human nature. The most important thing is to learn from them, grow, and do better.
Despite what happened, I (Rem) still know that there is potential in Blockchain technology. However, the nuances it has right now like being used for money laundering and other illegal activities are preventing that potential from being used for the good. Until then, we have the choice to accept the good with the bad or completely stray away from Cryptocurrencies or for that matter any type of investment.
So to sum it all up whether you’re investing in stocks, properties, or even yourself, it’s important to (1) Fully understand what you’re investing in (2) Understand what type of investor you are (3) Secure your capital or have ROI (4) Be careful who or what you trust. (5) Embrace growth. Stay vigilant.
About the Authors
Rem Ortega has been a 4-year marketing specialist turned podcast manager for over 2 years. Rem’s obsession with podcasts led her to start Podcast Management Wiz™ – a podcast production agency that helps podcasters reach a wider audience. She has worked on over 20+ podcasts and is now passionate about creating content, giving podcasting tips, and sharing her favorite podcasts. She explores topics around marketing, entrepreneurship, personal development, online tools, productivity, personal finance, and investing.
Charlote Belle is a HR professional turned writer. After spending several years in the corporate world, Charlote decided to pursue a career in writing and hasn't looked back since, creating a range of blogs focused on topics such as adulting, self-improvement, finance, and life hacks. Charlote provides readers with valuable insights and practical advice on how to navigate the complexities of modern life. Whether you're a recent college grad struggling to figure out how to become an adult or someone looking to improve your personal finances.