After years of avoiding investing due to beginner mistakes in my early twenties, I decided to give investing a shot again. When I first started investing, it was after completing my internship in uni. I took $2500 and put it toward a Roth IRA, trying to take advantage of the savings since I didn’t owe any federal taxes from my limited income that year. I thought this was smart because I was essentially depositing after-tax income into an account that I could later withdraw from tax-free without losing any money at all (until later, which I will explain soon).

Back then, I thought investing in the stock market was all about picking the right stocks and profiting it. I looked into a stock with dividends and bought a bunch of shares without really knowing what I was doing. And months later, the stock price doubled! I thought this was amazing. And then, I became busy with planning to move to Korea and living there. When I looked over my account a year or so later, the stock had plummeted and I was no longer receiving dividends even. I had no clue what to do. I couldn’t recover the money. So, I just bit the bullet and left it as is.

From then on, I would be scared to invest in the stock market. I never really read about how to invest in the stock market. I just avoided it from then on, thinking I could just make passive income later on, and that would be where I would invest.

Fast forward to earlier this year. I remember a financial advisor tweeting something about 8% returns on investments vs. the situation that was going on with GameStop stocks. And then I thought, “Huh, 8% returns? Is there such a thing? Is it actually that reliable?”

And then, one of the eBooks that I was waitlisted on from the library was available to me (by the same advisor). I was absorbed and read the first two chapters. He didn’t even talk about investing yet, but I realized if he could simplify financial concepts for people regardless of age and make it simple and easy, surely I could figure out investing in the stock market in a way that I can make 8% returns too.

I had a chunk of savings in an account that also had different investment options. But, I always thought the investments were either risky, or I would lose money to fees. As I was reading more, I realized that there was a relatively small fee. And as history would show, the return rates were high, even surpassing 8% on the most aggressive option.

I also learned that the market does go down at times, but as long as you keep your money there, it eventually goes up again (for index funds). And you know, I was scared because I invested in an individual stock only to lose money, and it never went up again. I’ve heard of index funds, but I never really knew what they were. And, those index funds have a proven track record of interest gains. I don’t have to be monitoring anything. The work would be done for me essentially. I never realized making money through investing in the stock market was this easy.

Though, I just started re-allocating my resources today. I’ll only know for sure if it was a good idea months or years from now. I’m just glad that I took the first step in investing, and that I have a better idea of what I’m doing now.