Investing Basics Everyone Should Understand

When I graduated from college, I felt like I was on my way to knowing everything about investing. I had taken several courses teaching deep investment analysis; crunching data in large, complex spreadsheets.

As I’ve continued to learn, I have realized (and extensive, academic research has confirmed) smart investing isn’t nearly as complex as it’s made out to be. Anyone can do it themselves, if they learn a few guiding principles.

When a Ponzi Scheme Hits Home

Shortly after returning from my missionary service in 2001, I was approached by a man who said he was experiencing some car troubles and needed a ride. I truly learned to love people on my mission, so I happily offered to help.

While I was driving, the man revealed his true “story.” What he really wanted was money. He needed a certain part to fix his car and he knew how much it was, he just didn’t have the money to get it done. I was reluctant but he was insistent, showing me his ID and giving me his address; begging and pleading. So I stopped at an ATM, took out some cash, and gave it to him along with my number to call once he could pay me back. I think it was around $180. No small sum for a broke, college-bound returned missionary.

The Easiest, Smartest Way to Save Up for The Awesome Things

In the spring of 2015, Kellie and I took a dream trip to Europe. The bulk of our time was spent in Budapest, Hungary, where she had served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. After Budapest, we spent a few days in Vienna, Prague, and Dresden, Germany. It was truly an experience of a lifetime, and we’ve looked back on it fondly many times since.