How I Invest, Part 2: Research and Education

(credit: La Citta Vita via Flickr)

(credit: La Citta Vita via Flickr)

I love to learn new things. I’m lucky that way. So when I had the inclination to start investing in the stock market, I sought out as much information as I could find about investing, absorbing it like a sponge. I talked in an earlier blog entry about One Up On Wall Street, and the influence Peter Lynch had on my investing style.

Remember, there was no Web when I started my investment journey, so researching meant time in the library studying the Wall Street Journal and other business journals, as well as the business sections of other top newspapers.

You could find me at my local library some evenings after work and on most Saturdays. Once I did buy stocks, instead of watching their prices throughout the day like I do now, I checked their closing prices the following day in the stock tables listed in the business section of the Dallas Morning News.

There were also no online discount brokers, so when I wanted to buy and sell stocks, I had to do that through a broker. Oh, how things have changed!

The timing of my entry into investing couldn’t have been better though. If I started investing today, there’s a very good chance I would never consider using a broker, since buying and selling stocks through a traditional broker is so much more expensive than using an online broker like Scottrade — which I use now.

But I would have missed so much of my investment education if I hadn’t met Gerald.

I met the man who was to be my stock broker for the next ten years through one my friends at Texas Instruments. Gerald, who I credit as the catalyst with my improbable success, had switched careers in mid-stream, becoming a stock broker after years of working in the marketing department of a large defense-based company in Dallas.

I suspect he was not the typical stock broker, or at least, once he left the profession after the tech bubble burst in the early 2000s, I could never find a broker quite like him. A natural salesman, he knew his products. His breadth of knowledge was phenomenal.

He was also a natural teacher. Maybe I was also a good student, because he was so generous with his time. I don’t know. But together — and I say together because I shared information, too — as I matured as an investor, my wealth grew with his help.

What’s my point?

There were so many reasons why I had the success as an investor I did in such a short time, timing being one of them, but a big reason was that I was willing to spend time learning as much as I could about the stock market before I began to invest and then kept learning up until today.

In the early days, I researched and studied the market, and I talked to people who had similar interests. And, I worked with a brilliant professional — one who spent extra time with me teaching me how to be a thoughtful, involved investor.

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About Liz Stauffer

Liz Morningstar Stauffer’s improbable journey—from a divorced mother of two at the age of 34 to a millionaire some 15 years later—has inspired her to create the blog “The Improbable Millionaire," offering tips, advice, stories and support for people on a similar journey—even if they don’t know it yet!

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