Learning How to Invest- The ICOFP FINtastic Program
Updated: Apr 6
Hey Everyone, I would like to share my key learnings of an amazing summer program that I had attended. This was a great eye-opener for me and I wanted to share my experience with you all. I certainly hope that this article is a learning step for you all and I hope you like my article.
'Price is what you pay. Value is what you get'
Many might wonder why a man capable of exponentially deeper knowledge(and words) would choose such a bare bone phrase in his annual letter to shareholders. The plain answer is that those words while being simple hold more importance than one can fathom, as those words represent one of the fundamental foundations of finance and more importantly money. Money is a ubiquitous want of every man and everyone works relentlessly towards accumulating a great sum of money throughout their lifetime for all needs ranging from basic to luxuries. While everyone works towards accumulating money only some people are successful in doing so. The fine differentiator between the successful and unsuccessful is that the successful are financially literate; a term that while being a necessity in this universal pursuit is barely used.
While a few people are able to identify the importance of financial literacy, there is a majority out there who are incapable of doing so and because of this lack of knowledge the wealth management and planning industry have grown into a lucrative business in the past decade. I, for one, despite having identified the need to be financially literate wasn’t fully equipped to tackle the murky waters of finance. I was in a situation where I was in the need for a small booster shot that could push me closer to the finishing line. I found this booster in the form of the FINtastic Summer Program that was initiated by the International College of Financial Planning(ICOFP).
I believe that knowledge should be accessible to all and so in this article, I will be sharing a few of my learnings so that our viewers too can benefit from them. For extensive training, you can check out the program’s website www.icofp.org and enrol for one of the finance programs at ICOFP.
In an age where more and more people are getting sucked into the rat race, one of the paramount fundamentals of money that I learnt was that “we should not work for money but rather the money should be working for us”. This principle although strange is the basis for all financial decisions, which if implemented early on in our lives in the form of financial strategies we can safely see that principle become a reality in the later years of our life. We all want to enjoy the pleasures of money but if we become the slaves of money then we can never find the time to enjoy the money we have gained and get stuck in a never-ending cycle of earning and spending.
In times where sporadic spending is on a rise, people have become enamoured with excessive spending on the backs of zero or negligible spending. The dangers of this are quite evident as once one enters a vicious debt cycle it is very difficult exiting it. To discipline this recklessness we are often told to “save first and spend second”. This is the second most important learning in my belief as it induces discipline in our spending habits and controls our spending. For the youth and teenagers, this is even more important as these are the years when we indulge in reckless expenditure that lacks justification.
In our busy lives, we tend to skip doing a lot of important activities and sadly one of them is budgeting one's expenses. We often overlook this important task and this can cost us dearly in the long term as we will most likely end up spending more money than we earn or save. In this pursuit, the course imbibed a discipline in me to constantly “monitor and budget my expenses on a periodical basis”. This is a habit that each of us needs in the long term to keep our expenditure in check and to protect us from a vicious debt cycle.
The times when we get our paychecks we feel like rewarding ourselves with the small pleasures of life like a meal at an expensive restaurant or a new pair of sneakers or even a new laptop. Yes, all those things are nice to have but one should always look towards investing in assets that help appreciate and grow one’s money before spending one’s money on materialistic goods. This is one of the most important lessons that we learnt in the course about financial literacy. That being said, the investments can appreciate and grow your money only if you make an educated, decisive and wise investment. For this, the course is a great launchpad which can help you learn more about investments and financial literacy so that you are able to make those wise and educated decisions needed to grow your money later on.
On a more general note, being financially literate is a life skill and a necessity in today’s time. In times when credit cards have created dangerous spending habits, we need to be more aware, disciplined and vigilant with our expenses so that we are not trapped in a vicious debt cycle. I would urge all of you to enrol in this course in order to safeguard yourself and become financially literate, a skill that can go a long way in making you successful later in life.
The summer program at ICOFP has helped cement my confidence, increase my appetite for risk and furthered my knowledge base. Backed by a supportive and complete faculty the course has helped contour my thought process and provide me with more financial flair. Through the course, I was introduced to the basics of accounting, budgeting, money, investment tools and many more concepts. Apart from that, my previous knowledge was also strengthened and I have really grown as a person.