By now, it’s no secret that investing is a major key to building any kind of real wealth in your present or future, not to mention paying down existing debt you may have. However, too many people feel that investing is a bit of a pipe dream for them: it’s too complicated, or it requires more money than they have, or they wouldn’t know where to start.
The problem with never getting started in investing is that it means you also never have the chance to reap the rewards. Sometimes, though, knowing the facts isn’t enough: sometimes we need to get inspired by someone who knows our situation, but who took that jump anyway, stayed the course, and benefited from the results. Here are two TED talks with two messages that are different in plenty of ways, but share the same ultimate message that investing can lead to excellent pay-offs down the road:
- “How I learned to read—and trade stocks—in prison” from Curtis “Wall Street” CarrollCurtis Carroll was only an adolescent when he went to prison for theft, born and bred into a family who relied on crime to make ends meet. When he got there, he had a run-in with a fellow inmate a bit more seasoned than he was, whose major advice was to…learn the stock market?
Carroll started out in prison determined to teach himself how to read, since he hadn’t known how when he arrived. After he accomplished that, he set out to take the fellow inmate’s advice and learn everything he needed to know about investing. Setting off on a self-taught journey about personal finance, Carroll learned that a whopping 60% of people have fewer than $1000 in savings, coupled with troubling statistics about the personal money management abilities of the average American…to say nothing of the average inmate. Today, Carroll runs personal finance courses for the normal, everyday person largely unaware of how to make their money work for them. His message is one of hope for change in our society not just for the average American family, but also for inmates exiting the penal system by setting them up for success with personal finance lessons before they leave.
- “The battle between your present and future self” from Daniel GoldsteinOpening with a tale from Homer’s The Odyssey, Daniel Goldstein describes the struggle between Odysseus and one of his soldiers, who has been tasked with leaving Odysseus tied up, even if he demands to be untied, all as a type of test. There is a battle back and forth as the soldier continues to think that Odysseus is done testing him, so the soldier unties his captain, only to find that the test isn’t finished and he’s failed again.
So, Goldstein describes, is the way we battle with what we know is best for ourselves and what we want right now. We want that donut, but we know it’s not good for us. We want to buy that new gadget, but we know we shouldn’t spend the money. We should be saving for retirement…but we just don’t really want to!
Goldstein illustrates that 2/3 of people are not going to be able to survive for long on the retirement money they have put aside…so how do they change that behavior? He talks specifically about artificial intelligence and how it helped his team illustrate for people what their own emotional reactions would look like with different retirement scenarios.
Investing can be fun, but for most of us, it’s something that simply needs to be done so that we can benefit from it in the long term. If you’re not sure about where to get started or how to learn about investing even where you’re at, check out our course from our sister page Calculate My Wealth to learn more and kick off your retirement fund!