I have a running list of things I need to learn so that I am equipped to handle any emergency situation that may arise.
And I don’t just mean floods, fires, earthquakes, Bon Jovi concerts or other acts of God. I have had this same list for four years. Yet, somehow it seems that I am always adding to it and never crossing anything off. To make matters worse, I realized this morning that I need to start including acts of man such as navigating the recent nose dive of the stock market and learning how to change a bike tire. Damn! Two more for the list and it’s not even 9 am!
Anyhow, a dear friend gave me an unsolicited investment tip this morning. It sounded like good advice and a logical investment. Much better than playing the California lottery. Then it hit me: I have no idea how to buy stock.
It’s sad I know. Tragic actually. How could I have graduated from college and not know how to buy stock? It seems like it should have been a requirement. Instead of teaching students how to read Nietzsche or dissect Shakespeare, it appears a more practical course would be titled Life Skills. The course description: students will develop an understanding of the basic fundamentals of life. Topics covered include buying stock, updating their resumes, reviewing and negotiating a lease, mastering metric conversions, and parallel parking.
But here I am 27, a college graduate, and clueless about purchasing stock. I was envisioning how I would go about doing so and I am pretty certain you don’t pick up the phone and say, “Hello Fannie Mae? I would like to invest in your partially goverment-owned company. Where do I sign up?” I don’t think it works like that. Do you call the bank? Your dad? Who?
I was beginning to realize I was on the verge of flunking life, when my friend told me about online investment companies like Scottrade.com. Now, I am not certain if it’s smart, or just great business strategy, that people like me can begin investing in four minutes over the Internet. I will let you know after I either
- A. make my first million
- B. get arrested and thrown in jail for insider trading (where I will write my first cookbook Martha Stewart-style about dressing up prison food/cooking on a dime)
- C. lose it all
- D. break even and realize I could have just bought a latte.
We’ll see. But the way I look at it: I’ve already made progress. I can cross one new item off the emergency preparedness list today. I feel so productive.