There’s an old saying in the investing world that I’ve seen repeated a lot lately:
“Investing should be boring.”
It seems to be the official response from anyone over 50 reacting to the meme stock craze. Granted, they have a point; investing shouldn’t be rash, reactionary, and treated like gambling. It should be slow, mindful, and precise.
But just because investing requires mindfulness doesn’t mean it has to be boring.
1. Invest in things you believe in
One of the best counterpoints to the notion that “investing should be boring” is the joy (and massive gains) you can get from ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) investing.
ESG is the fancy industry term for conscious capitalism – basically, investing in the “good guys” who run morally upright companies that benefit humanity and/or the earth.
I’ve written a whole piece on ESG vs Sin Stock Investing (its evil twin), but the short version is this: both ESG and Sin stocks tend to outperform the general market – but only the former gives you the “warm and fuzzies.”
Thankfully, in the investing world, “sustainable” actually means “more profitable.”
“Companies with better ESG profiles are performing better than their peers.”
The infamous investment firm has a name for the higher profits you can expect from ESG investing: “The Sustainability Premium.”
So when choosing your next ETF, ask yourself: what do I believe in?
Do you believe in:
- Solar energy?
- Space exploration?
- Lowering carbon emissions?
Well, there are ETFs for each of these!
Read more: How To Invest In ETFs
2. Subscribe to some investing subreddits
Like all things, investing feels more fun if you’re part of a community.
Reddit is home to dozens of investing “subreddits,” where you can read the latest headlines, join debates, and increase your overall knowledge of investing. I wouldn’t get any advice from these subreddits, but they’re still a great source of news and social nutrition.
Here are some of the best investing subreddits for you to join:
Despite operating under the self-deprecating slogan “lose money with friends!”, r/investing is Reddit’s oldest and most generalized investing subreddit.
Here, amateur and professional investors alike share news, discuss market trends, and have friendly debates. It’s well-curated and non-toxic, and the “mods” do a great job of keeping things civil and on track.
As the name implies, r/stocks has the same friendly and informative vibe as r/investing, but with a more narrowed focus on the stock market.
One thing I like about r/stocks is that it doesn’t just discuss fluctuating stock values – it discusses trends that can influence stock values. That makes r/stocks a great place to learn how greater market forces affect the value of your investments.
Like the plot of Fight Club, r/wallstreetbets can’t be summarized in a single sentence, or even a paragraph. No; Reddit’s amateur investing nuthouse requires an entire article to fully explain, so that’s exactly what I did.
If r/wallstreetbets could be explained in a photo, it’s probably this one:
Imagine if an entire frat party spilled onto the trading floor of Stratton Oakmont, and you’d have a basic idea of WSB’s “vibe.”
You definitely shouldn’t take any investment advice from WSB. They think losses are hilarious, and making a risky, poorly-researched trade isn’t just encouraged – it’s their favorite pastime:
3. Talk about investing with your friends (the right way)
I love chatting about investing with my friends because it checks several boxes at once.
First, it helps promote financial literacy amongst the people you care about. I still remember the first time my two friends brought up their investment portfolios when we were 23. I didn’t have an investment portfolio at that time, so I felt dumb, uncomfortable, and overwhelming FOMO.
But FOMO can be a powerful motivator, and that conversation inspired me to get my finances in order, start making some smart investments, and make sure I was maxing out my retirement accounts at work.
Second, talking shop with your friends can open your eyes to new opportunities. My friend Carol is pretty dang rich despite never having made more than $60k in her life. When I asked her how, she gave me a surprisingly simple answer: save and invest 20% of your income for 30 years.
If you’re interested in getting rich, I’ve detailed everything out, step-by-step, in my piece How The Rich Get Rich (And How You Can, Too!). But the point is, chatting about investing with your friends can reveal life-changing intel.
Finally, chatting with your friends about anything just makes it more fun. Friends have this ability to make everything better – from road trips to movies to video games. Investing falls in that basket, too.
It doesn’t have to be all serious all the time, either. My friend group and I trash talk each other, WSB style, about our portfolio performance all the time.
“Here comes Mr. Index Funds – how are those cute little 10% annual returns treating you?”
“Hey, at least my portfolio can survive a Tweet from Elon Musk.”
It’s all in good fun because, at the end of the day, we’re all making money.
4. Give the bulk of your money to your financial advisor, and “play” with the rest
Traditionally you’ve had two options for investing your money:
- Invest it yourself.
- Give it to a wealth manager or robo-advisor to invest it for you.
Option #1 is exciting, but involves tons of research and risk. Option #2 is much safer, but way less fun and doesn’t give you much to talk about with your friends.
So why not a mix of both?
Consider giving the bulk of your money to your respective wealth advisors (you can get some suggestions here). Then keep a small “yolo” fund for yourself. Of course, make sure you’re paying your bills, but having a little bit of fun money does wonders for lowering stress.
At the end of the day, whether our own investments go up or down, we know that someone way smarter and more level-headed than us is keeping the bulk of our money safe.
5. Watch Billions
Sometimes, watching a TV show centered around your new hobby can help support and sustain your passion for it. If you’re trying to get more into cars, you can watch Top Gear. Aspiring singers might like Glee.
So, are there any investing shows that aren’t, you know, as boring as they sound?
Yep – it’s called Billions, and it’s brilliant.
Billions is a fictional drama following the high-stakes world of New York hedge funds. The reason I recommend Billions to young investors is because, well, the show helped get me into investing.
Billions is equal part edutainment and cautionary tale, and it undeniably makes investing more fun.
6. Constantly remind yourself that it’ll make you rich
Even if you exercise tips one through five on a daily basis, there will still be times that investing feels tiresome, tedious, or even disheartening.
This is especially true when the markets are down, because even though you’ve done everything right, you’ll still temporarily lose money.
That’s why it’s important to keep in mind, at all times, that what you’re doing is making you rich.
We tend to assume that rich people got that way through inheritance, luck, or simply being in a highly paid role for long enough. But in reality, those three groups represent only half of rich Americans.
The other half of rich people got that way by simply saving and investing 20% of their income for 30 years.
Did they get lucky with their investments? Nope
30 years of compounding interest at 10% APY is really all you need to become a multi-millionaire. At that rate, every $25,000 you can invest by age 35 will become $436,235 by age 65. And that’s assuming you stop contributing at 35 (which you won’t!).
So if investing ever stops feeling fun, just close your eyes and remind yourself:
“Oh, yeah – I’m making myself rich.”
The old adage “investing should be boring” is true to an extent. Investing shouldn’t be rash, reactionary, or based on temporary emotions.
But you can still have fun while being rational. Even if all you do is put money into retirement and index funds, you can still extract joy from investing by connecting with an online community, chatting up friends, watching Billions, and more.