I started researching financial independence around October 2019. I was trying to learn more about money and how to invest smartly. Thankfully the ChooseFI podcast recommended the Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins. He writes at JLCollinsnh and is the author of the famous Stock Series, later turned into a book The Simple Path to Wealth. This was my first deep dive into the investment world. I had read A Random Walk Down Wallstreet before, but I grasp all the new concepts immediately. That changed in reading the Simple Path to Wealth. All the concepts crystallized for me.
Investing: Baby Steps
I think that out of everything that I was learning back then, there were 3 things that were extremely clear to me:
- Invest in low-cost mutual index funds
- NEVER sell during a market crash
- A market crash is a Stocks on Sale (positive outlook)
but most importantly,
4. NEVER SELL DURING A MARKET CRASH
Whenever I heard someone talking about market crashes, it was always described as this gut-wrenching feeling that puts investors to the test. The crash negates riches to those that decide to sell out of lack of courage but rewards those who buy, hold, and buckle up for the ride. Hearing that same story over and over had ingrained in my brain to never sell during a market crash. I can’t say how many times I’ve heard the quote from the famous Warren Buffet on what to do when the market crashes:
Every decade or so, dark clouds will fill the economic skies, and they will briefly rain gold. When downpours of that sort occur, it’s imperative that we rush outdoors carrying washtubs, not teaspoons. And that we will do.https://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2016ltr.pdf
I love this quote, it sends chills down my spine every time!
While I was learning about all of these new FI concepts I had increased my savings. I managed to save an extra $3K on top of my emergency fund which I wanted to use to open my first Vanguard Brokerage accounts. Those who have listened to ChooseFI or JL Collins know how big fans they are of Vanguard. This whole account opening situation was happening around early March 2019… maybe you guessed it by now but that was approximately 2 weeks before the pandemic market crash.
A Global Pandemic
If you are not aware of what was occurring around March 2019, we had the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down the entire world. It just hadn’t turned serious in the US of A yet. But that was about to change. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “why would you invest right at that moment? don’t you listen to the news”? Mmm, no. Not really. News just gives me a ton of negative information that I don’t need to know so I usually keep it down to the little summary my google mini gives me every day. On top of that, I’d heard a thousand times that “the best time to invest was yesterday, the second-best time is today”. So…I pulled the trigger!
Two weeks went by and the market was down about 30% officially. I had not invested much, just $3K to get started, but my retirement accounts also took a hit. So while all of that was happening, stay at home regulations started. Everyone was either an essential worker, working from home, or out of work. I didn’t know how long the effects of the pandemic were going to last, but I did know that we have had plenty of market crashes before, and we’ll have plenty more in the future. Market crashes are impossible to time and also a normal part of the process.
I Should Write This Down
While I jumped from one thought to the next on my commute back from work it occurred to me: Wouldn’t it be interesting if I documented our journey towards financial independence which started right at the end of a bull market. What sort of different decisions will we have to make in order to achieve our goals? Could there be questions that were not asked before? How will this crash be different from the rest, and how long will it take? I guess we’ll see…
In the same way that those that have achieved FI before me share information about their journey freely, I hope sharing our experiences will be helpful to others. I remember how excited I felt when I found the concept of Financial Independence. I found purpose, a goal to be excited about and look forward to, while you build skills, habits and get to know yourself in the time that it takes to buy your freedom. I’d like to share that same sense of excitement and purpose with others through Dear Money Diary.
Have you ever experienced a stock market crash? How long did it take you to recover? Let’s hear it in the comment section below!
*The content posted on this website does not constitute professional financial advice. Please consult a certified financial planner or investment advisor for professional financial advice*