Intro: On the Origin of Investing, Or What I Learned about Money, Investing and Saving for Retirement

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It’s been nearly two years since I wrote something for my blog. This makes me a bad blogger, but I suppose it has come at the expense of being a better person. Over the past two years, I’ve done a lot.

For those of you who have enjoyed my writing, my time spent NOT blogging has been spent writing. I wrote (and cameo’d in) a musical to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society, I wrote for The Droopy Lid, UofT’s Medical Humour Newspaper, I wrote a short story about medicine in a dystopian future, and of course I worked on the sequel to Waking Woods. Quick update: I’m well over half way done Rising Ruins, the second book in The Courser & Wallace Chronicles. I know it has been a long wait, but I promise that it will be worth it!

For those of you who know I am studying medicine, my time spent NOT blogging has been spent studying and practicing medicine. It’s more than a full time job. Over the past two years, I’ve transformed from the bright-eyed first year medical student into a fourth year (almost) medical student. I have a better grasp on what it means to be a doctor, I have a collection of powerful memories formed with my colleagues and my patients, and I have a better idea of where I might end up in my professional career.

Finally, for those of you who have been a part of my life in a real way, my time spent NOT blogging has been time spent with you. Strengthening my relationship with the most important woman in my life, nurturing old friendships, and building new ones. The past two years have been a wonderful, productive, mind-expanding ones.

One of my endeavours over the past two years, when I haven’t been studying or writing, or spending time with friends and family, is learning about investing in a serious way. Over my three years in medical school, I’ve heard a lot about financial planning, about taxes, incorporation, and entrepreneurship. I’ve heard a lot of worries from my classmates and friends about what all of it means and how it applies to them.

And I don’t blame anybody for worrying. The countless headaches I’ve brought on myself trying to understand the basics are a testament to that. I’ve come a long way, but in finance, just as in medicine, there is always more to discover and more to learn. As a side project, I have begun to collate some of the things I’ve learned about finances and investing from the perspective of a young person facing an increasingly complex economic environment.

First will be a 5-part series on saving for retirement (because, as I hope to prove to you, saving for retirement is one of our first jobs). To bastardize a hero of mine, Charles Darwin, I call it On the Origin of Investing. This is an apt name, as the stock and financials market may be one of the best real-time representations of survival of the fittest by natural selection.

So, without further ado…

On the Origin of Investing

Welcome to On the Origin of Investing, a no-nonsense, back to basics compilation of what you need to know to get started in investing (and as always, the option to learn a little bit more).

This series is a collection of the things I’ve learned about finance and investing, with a particular bent towards its purposes for retirement savings.

No, I’m not trying to sell you on anything. I’m not going to promise that you will find great success because you’ve read this. I’m not going to make you into the next Wolf of Wall Street, nor are you likely to become Warren Buffett Jr. (though we’ll try to get close). Finally, I’m not going to tell you how to invest, I’m going to tell you what you need to know to get started on your own.

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Figure 1. Throw away your dreams of being the next Wolf of Wall Street, but don’t throw away your dollars.

 

This series is not about learning how to be a stock market maven, or how to become a millionaire in three easy steps (because if we can only get you to a million, we’re in trouble… see rule 2 in the coming post). What I will promise you, however, is that I’m going to try to make learning finance fun for the average person (like you! don’t worry, you’re still very special and unique), by distilling out the most important things, and injecting a bit of humour into a field that engenders anxiety in approximately 102% of people.

A new part will be published every Friday (for light weekend reading, of course) for the next 5 weeks. More series on other financial topics pertinent to medical (or non-medical) professionals and young people in general will follow.

As you read, please feel free to ask questions, or make requests to talk more about certain topics.

Happy living,

JRM

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