I was surprised this week when my spouse asked me if I liked tendies.
I wondered why they’d ask about chicken tenders. And then I heard about GameStop.
I’d never heard of tendies and I’ve been a shareholder for a good part of my life, in large part thanks to my mom starting me off with shares in a company she’s familiar with.
She saw the value in building wealth the best she could through investing and saving. As a Latina, I feel so many of us don’t have the access to generational wealth or the easy access that others may have, which makes that road so much harder for us.
It stems from the lack of financial education access — all the way to the large history of discrimination against Latinos that has prohibited growth.
I’ve been investing ever since, determined to build something more for my family. I’m nowhere near an expert, but I’ve continued to build wealth and increase my net worth using investing as one of many tools in that pursuit.
I consider myself familiar with the absolute basics of the market. Still, I wondered why would people be referring to chicken tenders?
It turns out “tendies” is the phrase a group on Reddit uses to refer to their gains in the market. Hashtags like #tothemoon and #gamestonk are trending. You may have seen them on social media.
Headlines involving GameStop, Reddit, and Melvin Capital have brought to light the innermost workings of the market, asking how is it that the average American can be outperforming Wall Street hedge funds?
The easiest way to explain it is that a group of investors figured out how to make their money work for them through analysis and research, as well as discussion of opinions on stocks in a manner similar to the big players on Wall Street.
They did it using the same system we have said for a long time is rigged against the average American.
No matter your stance on the topic, or how the story ends, the r/wallstreetbets subreddit has shown the barrier of entry to the world of stocks is lower than you might think. Yes, they reference the fact the elite treat the market as a casino, and I’m going to leave that alone in this post, but they also make a point it just takes one share to enter the market.
According to Money Watch, the median net worth of an American who is 35-years-old or younger is $11,100. Many factors lead to this number, like, lack of equal access to financial education, inequality in access to purchasing vehicles, and income inequality. Words like compounding interest, dividends, ETFs, stocks, and shareholders are not as common in our education system as they should be.
This often leads to a lack of understanding of how to break into the market may it be via a retirement or regular brokerage account.
That said, the barrier to entry continues to be lowered. Free trading, where no commissions are paid to buy or sell shares is now common. Apps exist that allow you to begin trading in a few minutes. There are numerous online resources explaining the more complicated areas of the market.
There is not a time too late to invest in yourself and your future, or your child’s future.
Purchasing stocks is a tool to do that in various retirement and non-tax advantaged vehicles. The opportunity is there, if we choose to pursue it.
Here are a few investing mantras I’ve followed:
- Pay yourself first when it’s financially possible to do so and invest appropriately.
Set aside an amount that you can afford to save/invest each pay period before making any discretionary purchases. I’ve given up something I’ve wanted in exchange for putting funds in my accounts, and I’ve seen gains that will pay me more than that item would have done for me financially speaking.
- Diversify your investments.
Don’t purchase positions in a single fund or company. Put some of your money in the market and also in other savings vehicles. These practices allow you to spread your money out and mitigate risk. The returns won’t be as great, but the risk is less with some of these items. Only you know your risk appetite.
- Buy what you know.
Before COVID, we went on vacation to a theme park. It started as a bit of a joke to say we owned that company, but now we’ve seen unrealized gains (meaning we haven’t sold the stock and taken the gains) on our investment. We like to cook and saw that people would be cooking during the pandemic, and invested in a company that sells spices and has seen tremendous growth. We also invest in funds that correspond to the market value.
- Don’t panic.
For many of us, we’ll buy stocks and funds and hold them for dividend reinvestment or long term growth. I’ve seen wild swings lately, and generally speaking I pay little attention. This way I don’t work myself up as I have a long way to go before I would anticipate selling my shares.
- Don’t try to time the system.
It’s not a get rich quick scheme and most trying to time the market will lose.
- Realize the risk.
Nothing is certain. I’m to the point where I figure if I lose everything I’ve put in the market I will have bigger problems and have made my peace with that.
- Don’t go it alone.
Know your limitations and seek qualified advice.
I’m not a financial advisor, this is just how I approach investing. It’s not as scary or inaccessible as it’s made to be.
Most of us, including me, will not hit it big on GameStop, or any other stock. It’s a pursuit of patience and numbers, amassing positions slowly and reinvesting the returns wisely in the hope of building long term wealth.