Investing can be like going to the casino

Investing can be word that cause fear in many people. People like my uncle, who lost his life time of saving. The stock market lures you in like casino if you don’t follow good principles in investing. On the other hand, people who think they know investing but failed to do sufficient audit on their own emotions fail too at this game of investing. Lastly, I share about how young adults now do more than the previous generation in understanding money and finally there is a new pool of people who work hard at sourcing information about money, investing and a better outcome in life with money.

Let me share three stories about investing with you today. And let’s talk about the thing that is seldom talked about – people losing their money in the stock market. A lot of it. How? And what do you do?

Investing can be like a casino if you don’t follow good principles of investing. We all are susceptible to our ego, an urge to prove how smart we are and the adrenaline of winning. And we all have one relative we know of who is entirely fearful of investing and this fear came from somewhere. My uncle and his fear of investing is the first story I want to share with you. You see my Uncle is a conservative man, he worked for the government, wanted to play it safe, seldom or never upgraded his skills. He believed the government is going to take care of him and boy was he wrong. He started investing or shall I say gambling like many others, through his retail bank. His retail bank helped him open a brokerage account. It was easy. There was no need for additional financial checks or identity submissions. It was a click, some questions and viola, he has his account. Because my Uncle seldom read, or want to learn about finance, he has little knowledge of the stock market. He went into the stock market like he went into Walmart. Thinking he can buy stocks cheap and hit it rich. Unfortunately for him, like many retail investors, esp. those termed mum and pop investors, he didn’t understand what are penny stocks, what is volume risk, what is bluechip and what’s long term versus short term risk, what’s small cap risk and returns. You see my Uncle felt a great deal of adrenaline when he went into the stock market with his savings and hard-earned money. His early success and profits in trading in and out, made him plough in even more of his savings. Like everything in stock market, the party ended when recession hits, which we know always come. He decide to panic sell, and made a huge loss. He swore off stock market as a way institutions cheated his money and that stocks are all bad.

I wished my Uncle and many others would read up, research and understand many aspect of investing. For example, what is risk and return, and the difference between buying a small cap company versus a big cap company. I wished someone would teach him how to check if a company is set up in Bermudas and how different is that from a company registered locally in united states. I also wished someone would just tell him to check on the auditors on the company he invested because in the end, the company he invested flopped and my uncle not only lost all his savings but lived with a life long shame of losing his money. Information are everywhere now, I wonder why such basic help is not made available to people like my uncle.

Another story is about my friend who was in finance. Obviously because of his background, I expected him to have very sound financial knowledge of investing. Wrong. And very wrong. You see, they teach finance, ratios and price per earnings, mathematical modeling and everything complex you can think of. But I noticed in my finance syllabus, they never taught you what human emotions are involved in investing, how to analyze the best investors and keep to a good investing habit. They did not teach finance graduates how to read up on short sellers, who “game” the system and often lead to huge waves of price change to the stock, and panic. They did not teach finance student like my friend, what losing a lot of money meant for mental health. Perhaps these colleges never taught enough of how experts and gurus who invested long term, has very good discipline and did not let greed of higher returns overcome them. Maybe if they have taught my friend, How to research investment habits based on giants who have continuously returned a profit in the stock markets over 30 years, he wouldn’t have attempted to take his life, lost his marriage. (Yes, there are people who make a living investing in stocks and consistently made a profit). So I know there are many men in their 30s and 40s out there, gambling ferociously with their money, feeding their ego when they win and like my friend, some are going to end badly. I started this blog and course to help people similar to my friend.

The last story I would like to share with you is one about my friend, who is much younger than most of the people I mentioned. She is just 19. But like many of her peers nowadays, she is already looking into FIRE movement, learning about personal finance in bits and pieces. In fact, many young adults nowadays are very quick to learn about money, how they can understand the system of study hard, graduate and find meaningful work. Many young adults, are even doing real life projects on money and spending. So you see, personal finance education is catching on because this new generation saw how hard their parents worked, for a mortgage, paid their taxes, car loans and didn’t take vacations. They know if they master their money, they have a chance at mastering their destiny. They start little investment clubs to talk and analyze about stocks, starting with the places they know, like Walmart, Costco, Apple, Amazon, Dairy Queen.

I hope my stories helped you understand that investing can be fun. I also hope you will go out there, take some courses even if you are not taking ones I am offering, take any courses to learn more about money, stock market before you start investing. Investing can feel a lot like gambling if you are not careful, it lures you in with adrenaline when you make money like a casino. And last of all, you do need not be a fearful of the subject investing, if you approach it with the right attitude.

Putting your money in fixed deposit hurts those who doesn’t earn a lot because inflation and the lost of the magical compounding effect.

Start somewhere small today, read up on something about investing. Read the terminology. Money and finance may not be your favorite subject in school, but getting the ABC of money and finance will save you a lot of sleeplessness.

My name is Lee Nagel, I am a youtuber, and I write and share about money, love and life.

This blog is also on youtube

Investing for Beginners

Investing for beginners, a guide I wished I had when I started investing. How to get started in 5 minutes and what to look out for. All the basics of investing distilled into one article you can digest. Written from an honest point of view.

Investing for Beginners

So you have been hearing about the term “investing”. You may be clueless or have some idea. You may have some money saved or expecting some money or no money at all and want to get started. 

This quick 5 minute read will help you get all the basics you need. This is the article I wished someone have written for me when I got started. You see years ago, I saw my friend lost their hard earned money to the Lehrman brother crisis. My uncle was the hardworking type who saved every penny, never eat out and kept all his money in fixed deposit or mutual fund. And he invested in an index fund that went down. 

I understand how anxiety inducing the talk about money and investment can be for some of you. You might be thinking I might lose my money. The truth is not doing anything, you are definitely losing  money. Here’s why

Let’s say if your mother had $10, in 1960s. She kept it. If she kept the $10 under his pillow or he could have walked out and bought something to eat for her family of 5?

In 1960, you can buy 47 burgers. With just $10, you can fit your whole family of 5, for several days. In fact, 8 dinners. Because in 1960, an average burger cost only 21 cents.

In 2022, you can barely buy 5 burgers, at $2.29 each. 

With the same $10

1960 – you can have 8 dinners of a hamburger each for family of 5

2022 – you can have 1 dinner for the same family 

IF you kept the $10 for retirement in a bank, you will need to have grown and invested your $10, to an amount of $91.60 to afford the same lifestyle or goods you have in 1960, that is to have 8 dinners for your family of five.  Else you only get 1 dinner for your family with the same $10 in 2022. So  you lose buying power, but you still hold on to the same $10 note.

Therefore if you kept $10 under your pillow, and did nothing with it, you will still have the same $10 note, but it will be worth a lot less, 7 times less. That’s in very simple terms, inflation and how inflation is invisible and how it robs you of your money without you knowing. 

So you are going to lose money, you lose buying power even if you did nothing with it. 

You want to learn about investing because you are worried about inflation, or you have heard of Amazon or Tesla. 

In 2018

2018 – Tesla $67

2022 – Tesla $1100

So that means if you put in $67,000 in 2018, you will have $1,100,000 – 1.1 million, making you a millionnaire. 

2018 – Amazon $1305

2022 – Amazon $ 2799

If you left $13,050 in Amazon in 2018, you will have $27,990 today

There are many many other examples of Netflix, Google etc.

So you decided you want to learn about investing but like me many years ago, you are afraid of losing your money. 

If you are new to investing or is not from a finance background, investing can really make you turn back and just do nothing about it. I get it. When I first started, I asked myself 

“How do I buy a stock?”

“Do I just go to and click buy?”

“Do I need to buy a minimum of 1000 shares?”

“How much is one share?”

“Do they require a minimum amount?”

“How much money do i need to get started?”

“What if I lose all my money?”

“Isn’t investing only for finance people and I should leave it to them?”

“Isn’t investing risky and I can lose all my money?”

“Can I just leave it in a bank and earn interest?”

“How do I get started?”
“When is the right age?”

If you started working, you will know your employer has asked you about 401K, or hear friends talk about ROTH IRA. Is it too young for you to think about this when you haven’t even have the money to pay rent or save up for a house? When is it a good time? Or if you are already indebted with a mortgage, you have a family to feed, and you have little savings, you wondered if you can even think about investing?

The answer is simple, start small but start. Learn early, but take action now.

Even if you don’t have any money to spare, you can start learning.

The earlier you start, the less likely you will become a victim of what i called the “evil system” set up to rob all of us, or the people who worked hard and know nothing about finance.

Because we are in 2022, the unfortunate time when banks no longer pay interest of 17% and we can sit on bank deposits to beat inflation and earn a handsome return. 

“Can I just leave it in a bank and earn interest?”

Today, banks are only paying about 0.02% to 3%. Real inflation, is between 6% – 10%. This means your money worth is losing value faster than what you are earning. No banks will pay you more than the inflation. If they do, they are probably another Lehrman Brother, selling you junk bonds. There is no free lunch, there is no sit back and do nothing type of investment that gives you good return. You have to learn and read. It’s painful I know. But I have seen friends and family lost all their savings during the Lehrman brother crisis and now in their 70s are still struggling and working to pay back their mortgage. You don’t have to be that person who loses money the “system”, even though the “system” is designed to rob you, the hardworking person. 

What is an investment?

In very simple terms, it is something that put money in my pocket.

My mother always have urged me to invest in property and not stocks. I did and I learnt investing in property, you can make a lot of money and you can lose a lot of money too. Not everyone makes money. 

For example, my friend bought a house in Chicago for $200,000. He paid 10% down, $20,000 before subprime. The bank lent him $190,000 which he paid $1000 monthly over time. 

Unfortunately the value of the house went down, in 2008 and the house was worth just $150,000. The bank now wants him to top up $50,000, the difference in the value he borrowed against versus the actual value. He couldn’t get anyone to rent the house, and pays $1000 for mortgage plus property tax and have to fork out money to repair the house for leaks. So it is not always that you win in property. In the end, he couldn’t afford the $1000 monthly payment and the bank foreclose his house. They fire sell it (meaning to sell it quickly), and it was sold for just $80,000. Now without a house, he still owes the bank $110,000 ($190,000 he borrowed less the sale price $80,000) and all the legal fees.

So what if you have a great house that you rented out and receive more money than you pay the bank? That’s what I have. But I have to say, I wasn’t ready to be bombarded with maintenance calls, property tax, lock change, tenant viewing, liaising with agent for rental. It’s a lot of work. 

Therefore, I favor share investing. 

What is share investing and why would companies or the market give you money for it? 

Basically imagine, Steven Jobs, he has apple inc. He needs money to hire engineer, marketing, pay for ads and rent. He runs a great company, in 1980 called Apple. You invested in his company by buying shares. He has 10 shares. He offered you 1 share at just $2 a share. You paid him $2, and now you are a 1 share holder. At the end of year, he sold many MacBook and made $1000. You have 1/10 shares of profit, so you get $100 of dividend. Because many people believe Apple will continue to grow, they want to buy that 1 share from you for $20. You sold your share at $20. You paid $2. You made $18. That’s why people want to invest in companies. For dividend (profits distribution), and capital gain (when price of the share go up and you sell).

So why are people so afraid of shares investing? Well, at some point, Apple was doing very badly. They couldn’t sell any computers and Microsoft and Dell computers beat them. They nearly bankrupt. And their shares that was $2 each, could be worth only 1 cent. So you lose all your money if they go bankrupt. 

And we have all heard of that one Uncle who invested in shares and lost all his money. I should say, gambled or traded instead of investing. Investors normally put their money in for 5-10 years and gamblers or traders, buy high and panic sell when there is a crisis. 

What I wish someone had told me before i started investing?

Size matters. 

You don’t want to invest in tiny companies with little capital, that can easily be manipulated. The companies I invest in, are big Standard and Poor 500 companies.

Why size matters? Bigger is like a bigger ship, can withstand larger storms. It doesn’t mean they wouldn’t collapse, but they have that much more of capacity to take on big storms. 

Bigger means it is harder for one or two players in wall street to buy up everything and dump shares, driving prices down using derivatives.

And of course, bigger means, they may most likely (not always the case), have institutional investors. These are investors who are not your mum and dad investors. Why is this important?

In time of a crisis, big ships with big institutional investors, don’t get their shares dumped. Mum and dad investors tend to panic and dump their shares, resulting in the shares of the company plummeting out of purely retail investors sentiment. However if you have Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet company as your investor, they hold on to their investment even during bad times. This makes the ship more stable.

US only shares 

Investing only in high quality stock with a good management culture and governance, and not getting distracted. That means US companies running in New York Stock exchange or NASDAQ.

Although no one can predict which company will not have fraud, chances of that in a good quality US company is lowered by a set of high quality regulation (say the SEC as a regulator). High quality stocks have real profits, they are audited and they are so big, they have controls and systems in place so fraud is much less likely. You don’t want a company that is from China, or anything China. Yes you see they make big profits but will the profit ever surface to a little investor like you or get siphoned away? I choose an American company, run by americans that has real products and services in US, than any other companies because historically, a lot of bad stuff has been cleaned up and transparency of profits is there. So remember, just because a company is profitable, doesn’t mean you will end up with the profit through dividend or increase in share price. The culture of the management and system of policing these companies matters. Do not invest in companies you have never bought from, or never heard of. 

Think Long Term

This one is very simple. Do not become a trader or gambler of the markets, think long term. Hold your investments for a good five to ten years, do not panic sell. Recessions come and go. If you hold on to good quality stocks, it will bound back. 

Here’s a quote from Warren Buffett

​​You’ve got to be prepared when you buy a stock to have it go down 50% or more and be comfortable with it, as long as you’re comfortable with the holding.

Warren Buffett


Invest only in things you bought or know. 

I invest in the things I use everyday. 

Let’s make it simple – 

I wake up with an alarm on my iphone (apple). I turn on my Gmail, (google) to check my emails as I have my coffee. 

I open my macbook (apple), check the markets and type some thoughts out. 

I walk to a nearby cafe, swiped my Visa card (VISA) to buy a bagel for breakfast. 

I remembered I have a friend whose birthday is coming, I ordered something on amazon prime (AMAZON) for my friend as a gift over my phone. 

I pass by an electric car, parked along the road Tesla, (TESLA) and stared at it. 

I bought an accessory for my work online using paypal (Paypal). 

I ordered shampoo from P&G (Berkshire Hathaway’s portfolio The Procter and Gamble company), some Kraft Cheese (also Berkshire Hathaway).

Walked to my bank and withdraw some cash (Bank of America held by Berkshire Hathaway).

Back to my place, watched the news on my FIRE amazon tablet as I finished my bagel.

Before you invest consider the following


Pay off your credit card debt that is 20% – 30% interest. No matter how you invest, you cannot get a return of 30%. Even Warren Buffett consistently is only getting 10-20% per year. 

So if you let your credit card run on interest, it will balloon out of control.

Emergency Fund

Save up 8 months emergency fund, so in case you lose your job, you don’t have to liquidate your shares at sometimes the worse market conditions. Yes, when it starts to rain, it pours. When the stock market sinks, it is normally the time you lose your work and insurance, and can’t pay rent and have to go to hospital with out of pocket. Things can happened fast.


Don’t risk money you cannot lose. For example, if you borrowed from relatives to gamble on the stock market. Or if you have to access the funds within the next five years. The way to make money on the stock market is not to time it. Timing market is bad. Buy and hold for a good five to ten years, and your chances improve significantly. 

Investment rules 

Do not time the market. Yes there are dips but even the most prolific investor, cannot predict the trough. But as common knowledge, when everyone is in euphoria, market is going up, it’s not a good time. 

Do not invest for short term and panic sell.

Invest only things you actually use and is a good quality blue chip stock.

Hold your shares directly if you can, instead of going through a fund.

The Problem with Investing with S&P Index Fund

I have a personal philosophy of not handing money to a fund, as far as you can.

If you buy into VISA, you own a share in that company. You can attend the Annual General Meeting of that company. You can vote. But when you invest through a fund, even if it is an index fund, you own that fund.

Fund managers managed your money. They invest and assign the percentage of shares in shares you cannot really see even if you read the financial statements. 

Can the index fund go bankrupt? 

Yes. the fund can go bankrupt, and you can lose all your money. Of course if you hold individual shares, you can also lose all your money if say VISA go down, or if Coca Cola go down. 

But I am not for fund holding fund, investing your money.

Who is investing my money in the index fund?

You wouldn’t know. You handed your money over to a fund. The fund hires an investing manager, that will invest in the S&P 500 (major 500 companies) and allocate the percentage of investments. Of course you will get a report. 

You lose 1-2% in fees, considered low fees in performance fees, management fees, administrative fees. 

How do I get started?

To get started, you need simply a phone, ID, and a brokerage.

Fill in your address, your ID, upload a photo and identify yourself. 

How much do I need to start investing?

$50. You can start with as little as $50. It’s important to start early to get to try the entire platform and understand the process yourself.

You need an app on your phone or a computer to get started.

Top Brokerage firms in US


Charles Schwab

Fidelity Investment 




Interactive Brokers

  • Charles Schwab is a leading U.S. stock brokerage firm with $4.04 trillion in client assets and 12.3 million active brokerage accounts.
  • Fidelity Investments has $11.1 trillion in total customer assets, 38 million active brokerage accounts, and is a good choice for customers who want to invest in Fidelity ETFs and mutual funds.
  • E*TRADE is an online brokerage pioneer, well-known for its full-featured mobile apps, top-notch options trading tools, and customizable user experience.
  • TD Ameritrade is our best overall choice for beginners, strength in providing investor education, and ease of use. 
  • Etoro is an online platform, that allows you to copy trades and operate it over an app.