By Kait Bedell – News Editor
For many college students entering the real world soon, it is their first time investing. Between learning how to study the stock market and wisely investing money, there are key things that new investors should know.
Senior sports communication and journalism major Taylor Viles is a student investor and says first-time investors should always have a plan.
Viles said this plan should include first deciding whether to be a long-term investor or to sell fast.
“It is important to decide which stocks you are holding and which you are selling. It does not have to be all or nothing,” Viles said. “You can sell a little here and there and then reinvest it into long-term holds if you want.”
According to Viles, becoming a long term investor takes less involvement because the process after the initial investment is just letting money sit and grow. Selling fast means an individual will always have to be paying attention to the market in case the stock takes a bad turn.
Viles said another important thing to remember is short-term Capital Gains tax. Stocks sold after less than a year are subject to a high tax rate of up to 37 percent, according to Investopedia.
If one holds for longer than a year, that rate could go down to zero. This should be kept in mind when deciding when to sell.
“Smart investors are those who are capable of succeeding in both aspects,” Viles said. “They know which stocks are long-term investments and which stocks they must watch carefully because they are shorter term.”
Sophomore marketing major and student investor Riley Burke said he began investing to make extra money and plan for the future. He said for him, the hardest part about investing is putting in the required research.
“Just being able to wake up and get on the internet, and start reading about the stock market before it opens, and then reading about it after to get plans for the next day, and what you want to invest in, and what you want to sell, I think that’s the most difficult part,” Burke said.
Burke said the most important thing to know about investing is doing this kind of research beforehand. “My biggest thing would be to just really read the news,” Burke said. “The Wall Street Journal for college students I believe is four dollars for the entire year with your own student email and that’s what I started doing. I just started getting up and reading The Wall Street Journal.”
Assistant visiting professor for the School of Business Robert Zuar said an important thing to remember about stocks is the sooner an individual invests, the more money they will have later on.
Zuar said since pension plans are being phased out, students should focus on joining a 401k and putting in money each payment period as soon as they get out of college.
“If you invest it wisely, you’ll have a very good standard of living when you retire,” Zuar said. “If you don’t invest it wisely or you don’t invest it, that’s your fault and nobody’s going to bail you out.”
It’s no secret that the stock market didn’t perform on par with normal years when COVID-19 began. Many stocks fell initially in March of 2020, then a rapid rise began. Many portfolios incurred significant inflation during this time making it increasingly risky.
To help his students further grasp the importance of investing, Zuar allows his class to invest his own money in a portfolio throughout his semester-long class. If the students do well, he shares some of the profits with them.
“This is a skill that I think all students should have some knowledge of when they leave here because the mistakes they make early in their life are so difficult to correct later in their life,” Zaur said.