Investing as a Young Professional: Introduction

By Tosha Dunn, Spring 2016 Student Intern

So you’ve finally graduated for the last time, and you’re about to cash in at some totally sweet job that has, you know, benefits or whatever.  And come on, you took intro finance like 2 years ago, so you definitely know what’s up when you’re looking at that contract.  You totally have this one, bro.

Right, so do you actually though?  The goal of this series is to give young professionals some hand holding regarding finance and investing.  Because, while you may have taken one finance class, you aren’t Warren Buffet, and (again, sorry) you aren’t Leonardo Dicaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street–you can’t just be a hedge fund manager, or a flash trader, or a day trader, etc..  I mean maybe if you have the right background, but hey, for everyone who majored in biology or marketing, here’s some stuff that’s helpful. Of course, remember that we don’t provide investment advice, so this is for your information only and a starting point for your own homework.

Think of this as a jumping off point to actually become savvy about the grown up topic of financial investment.  This is not investment advice.  I am not suggesting what stocks to buy so that you will be a millionaire in less than a week–you’re entering the no-scheme-zone.  I’m presenting sources of information, explanations of some important terms, and general persons you may want to contact on your own for further information and actual investment advice.  We’re the tech generation, so why not have some links that you can refer to?

Next week, we’ll start at the beginning.  First, you have a job with a contract that includes a benefits package, so what’s really in a benefits package?  What is a 401-K?  What are some of the other common forms of investments that companies may offer?

Second, who can you talk to about financial planning?  What certifications might be important?

Third, what are the terms that might come up?  For instance: risk tolerance, time horizon, volatility, and business cycles.

Fourth, diversification.  Yes, it’s a term that’s regularly used, but it’s a term with some serious magnitude that requires focused discussion.

Fifth, investing on your own.  What are some of the products offered (IRAs, Roth-IRAs, etc.)?  What fees may apply, and what fees mean for your investment when you want to cash out?