For over 10 years, I’d worked in Malaysia’s largest bank as a data analyst.
Ironically, when it came to the world of investments I had zero knowledge. In fact, I never really had an interest in the subject. With a decent career and a satisfying wage, I didn’t have to.
But with fatherhood approaching around the corner, I felt a heavy responsibility to provide for my family, and to ensure a bright future for them.
With the pay that I’m getting, I wasn’t sure if I was able to get there. That was the turning point that pulled me into starting my investment journey.
The world of investing: With the advent of Bitcoin, Ethereum and the like, it seemed way too complex for me. As a rookie in the scene, my main goal was only to diversify my savings.
I needed something simpler and low-risk as a good place to start. So while browsing, I came across a digital cash management app called Versa.
Testing the waters with Versa
As a beginner investor (I don’t really consider myself a real investor), it was perfect.
You can start investing as long as you have some cash on hand, a smartphone, and your IC. The app’s friendly interface made it fairly stress-free to navigate.
What really drew me to Versa was the fact that you don’t really need to have any investment know-how to start investing. The platform had weekly educational blogs, which was way better than having to pay for an online class for it.
Reading those blogs, I learnt that Versa taps into the concept of money market funds (MMF) which are a type of mutual fund that is both stable and low risk.
Starting off with no experience
While you can start investing with a deposit of only RM1, I decided to put in a couple of thousand which I had saved up since the start of 2021.
Versa doesn’t have any lock-in periods or hidden fees (unlike traditional fixed deposits). While it was money I was comfortable with burning, it was still a relief to know that in case of emergencies, I would still be able to withdraw my money anytime.
Around this time, I was also investing about the same amount in StashAway. I was trying out a riskier mode of Exchange-traded Fund (ETF), and my venture with StashAway was generating losses.
It didn’t have me worrying, as it was within the RM 10 – 20 range. But no one likes to see the number going down, so I moved more of my funds to Versa. Right now Versa is giving me higher returns, so I’m putting them there.
Should I diversify?
I’ve thought of trying out stock trading quite a few times.
For many people, stock trading has become a hobby — it requires a lot of dedication, similar to a full-time job. In fact, I have seen friends who quit their full-time jobs in order to devote all their time to stock trading.
But more than just a new “job”, it had become their new lifestyle; a routine, even. They trade like machines, sometimes spending hours from dusk till dawn due to odd international market hours.
It was almost like a chronic addiction.
As for me, I still had a lot to learn about money market funds, let alone stock trading. The only thing I know is that investment is better than my money just sitting in a conventional savings account or even putting it into a fixed deposit.
Knowing that I don’t know much, I’m convinced that staying in the low-risk lane is the smart move. Venturing into the unregulated crypto market is too huge a leap for me.
But that still doesn’t mean I shouldn’t make tiny strides in my journey of learning about investments.
And so I tried out TD Ameritrade, Etoro, Webull, and crypto
After trying out Versa, I ventured out to take bigger risks in hopes of gaining bigger profits. I tried out TD Ameritrade, Etoro, and Webull. And of course, I hopped on the crypto bandwagon.
Before beginning my journey to crypto, I sought ample advice and insights from friends who were already really into it and have significant experience.
Despite all that, I still couldn’t help but feel anxious and worried what with the little knowledge I had on it — which admittedly, made the entire crypto experience an emotional rollercoaster.
I heard that some of my friends even dumped as much as 50% of their net worth into crypto. Call me a skeptic or a prudent investor but that is just too much!
As a highly risk-averse person, I’ve always evaluated the potential returns versus the risks involved, as I have to keep in mind that I now have a young family to care for.
If I were to describe how much of a risk I’m willing to take using the scale from 0 to 100, I would only go as far as a level of 10. I would still be comfortable with going two or three steps riskier than fixed deposits, but definitely not going from 1 to 100 steps in one stride.
One thing I’ve always kept in mind is to be aware of the consequences and not to be blinded by the big bucks.
Investing is like betting on your favorite team in fantasy football
I am a huge fantasy football fan. When you place bets on them, you have to do the necessary background research on a player first.
Investing is basically the same. You do the background research on a company: Read their yearly returns, find out who runs the company, and the people joining or leaving the company, then you proceed to place your bets on your chosen company.
I have been applying this theory to investment platforms like Etoro where I can implement my own predictions.
One thing that I also find to be a crucial part of the investment experience is the user interface (UI), which is why I like Webull.
The UI is also where Versa excels. As someone with little investment knowledge, I like that Versa occasionally sends me useful tips and tricks such as “Did you know you earned money while sleeping?”
I like receiving these little notifications as they can really serve as a morale driver and mood booster as I see my profits go up and up.
Overall, I only have one regret…
I wish I had gotten into investing in my early 20s. If I’d started at 22, I’d be 10 years ahead in investing than I currently am at 32!
Not to mention the potential returns I would have accumulated over the years.
In the past, people used to have the mindset that in order to start investing, you would need a few 1000 ringgit ready to spare, at the very least. In today’s world though, literally anyone can invest.
Apps like these are a great starting point for beginners and especially those prefer to play it safe.
Just a decade ago, there were hardly any of these convenient features or platforms. Today, you only need a minimum capital of as low as RM 1. Other platforms such as GO+, Touch N Go’s new investment feature, allows investors to start from RM 10.
If there is something that I would do now, it is to encourage today’s young adults to start investing at an early age, regardless if they are working or still studying.
Lessons I learnt from investing later in life
Investing can prove to be a good and reliable backup plan. It’s never too late to start saving up for whatever the purpose.
The key takeaways I had from investing are:
- Have clear investment goals. What do you want to achieve with your money?
- Do your research. Pick the investment type that suits your risk tolerance, even if it may not bring you the biggest profits.
- Approach it with the right mindset. Investment is a commitment that requires time. Don’t be impatient and greedy.
Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life’s sentiments.