I found a guest post from YouTube royalty MamaFurFur after buying a new website aimed at students, so should I have had her investing know-how when I was 18, and can I invest like everyone else if I’m autistic? Let’s see what she said.Listen to “054: How I Invest As An Autistic Person vs Mamafurfur” on Spreaker.
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Transcript: How I’d Invest From An Autistic POV vs MamaFurFur
Bear: [00:00:00] I bought a second finance website And who had written for this website, but YouTube royalty, MamaFurFur. So let’s see what she had to say about investing, shall we? I was watching the movie Troy recently. And it got me thinking about investing, obviously. In Troy, they have phalanxes. You’ll recognize them from most films about ancient warfare. A phalanx was a military formation where the dudes were packed really tight together, quite often with their shields all around the edges so that the enemy couldn’t break through.
The structure of the phalanx gave support to each soldier so that they were stronger together.
And that got me thinking because I’m autistic and have a spiderweb of a brain, that when I was diagnosed, my assessor said the main thing I was missing was support and structure in order to profit from having a brain that processes things differently from the majority of the population.
Without support and structure, any of us can find things difficult and stressful that other people find easy and take for granted.
Because I was an adult, it was my own responsibility to find support and structure, and turn being autistic into an advantage. And one of the places I looked for support was other creators who’ve done the research [00:01:00] to getting me started on the way to doing my own research, or just let me know that I’m not alone in finding certain new things like investing scary, whether that’s because I’m autistic or just because a lot of us find change scary. It was spring 2021. ~I think ~my memory is a little fuzzy, unless you need me to remember useless facts like movie trivia or quotes from TV shows.
I bought a second finance website from a blogger who had lost interest because they did not have support and structure and couldn’t find the motivation in themselves to keep going.
And perhaps they were making more passive income from the stock market than blogging, which wouldn’t surprise me.
And who had written for this website, but YouTube royalty MamaFurFur. Now, when you buy a website, money doesn’t just rain from the sky necessarily. You have to audit to see what needs updating and deleting and all that fun jazz. So let’s see what she had to say about investing, shall we? If you don’t know, MamaFurfur or Jennifer Kempson is an award-winning YouTuber and blogger. She’s the author of the Master Money Blueprint and hosts the Prosperity Project podcast with husband Matt.
The blog in question is called [00:02:00] studentskint.com. I haven’t been a mature student for a while, but I also didn’t have resources like this when I was 18.
So I’m curious to read this with you and see whether I wish I’d known this then, and also how I would have received that not knowing at the time that I was autistic, but there were a lot of red flags. This is how Jennifer explains investing: “In a nutshell, when you set up a savings or trading account with an investment company, such as Vanguard or a pension through an investment company, you deposit your money
so that is then used to purchase individual stocks, funds, bonds, or hold the cash for you. The type of investment you purchased with your deposited money will ultimately then return back further profit interest or make a decrease based on the asset you choose to buy with your money. You can purchase stocks within a range of companies, individual companies, or bonds, and for that trust with our money, they return us back a portion of their profits.
With any investment, this is not a short term, quick money scheme, and we are not guaranteed to see a return right away from investing our money.
It is not similar to a normal bank account as the money is effectively used to buy a part of company or loan for the length of time you choose.[00:03:00]
You need to invest your money for the longterm and whatever method you choose and ideally allow five plus years for the natural dips and increases to smooth out your growth over time. We need to detach ourselves as much as possible from any current trend reports and trust that the markets will continue to increase overall as they have for a hundred plus years as an average.”
I think two common misconceptions about autism are that you’re either have learning difficulties or you’re obsessed with math.
Neither of those are true for me because every autistic person is unique. I think that’s the kind of layman’s explanation I needed about investing when I was 18. Keeping in mind that neither of us are financial advisors.
Was it fear of change that stopped me investing at that age because I was autistic or just fear of change?
I think my big problem was that I wanted to be really liquid, perhaps it’s the same for you, so I could take money out at any moment to go backpacking by myself. And then I also thought I was going to buy a house in the short term. So I wanted to hold onto my cash as cash. It took a lot longer than I thought to buy a house.
So let’s see what Jennifer says about cash savings.
“On average, you might receive 0.02 to 0.05% return each year on your [00:04:00] money, which will not keep up with the cost of living increase of around 2% inflation each year. That effectively means your money is losing buying power each year that you leave it there untouched.”
Now that’s terrifying. Until COVID hit, I always had my savings in higher interest accounts than those figures. But I wasn’t doing any calculations to work out how much inflation was eating into those interest rates. I agree with Jennifer mostly that besides having an emergency fund money of roughly three to six months of living expenses in an easy access account, we need to look at using our money to make more money, to really define our financial security independent of anyone else.
You have to decide for yourself how much runway you want in life. Because I did use to do things like leave the country for many months
I liked to have a bigger emergency fund therefore. If you’re wondering, how did I do all these stressful things like travel around the world alone, keeping in mind I wasn’t diagnosed as a child, so there was no one to try and talk me out the risk on the grounds that I was autistic, I look at it the same way I look at investing now, which is that you’re allowed to be a complex human being, which means you’re going to have parts of you that are in conflict sometimes, and it’s finding ways to dial down [00:05:00] the intensity on the parts that are keeping you from your goals.
I don’t use the fact that I’m incapable of looking straight at the camera for an entire as stopping me from uploading. So, you know, anything is possible.
The ultimate question is what do you want more? And which part of your brain are you going to let control your life?
And that’s not to say that part of my brain is autistic, and part of my brain is not autistic, but if you’re not neurodivergent you potentially have a lot more power in this regard. And also if your baseline like me, is that walking to the shops is stressful, and you don’t know any better, and you think that’s how everyone lives, then it all becomes much of a muchness. You might as well just bungee jump.
It can’t be any worse than going to buy a pint of milk. It’s a common autistic trait to have an almost insatiable appetite for learning. And I basically let that trait dominate any fears I had about doing something new outside of my routine.
And then as soon as I was abroad, I would try to find some recognizable rhythm to my daily approach to life on the ground. If you’re afraid of investing, I think you have to ask what would you rather have? More knowledge about that and more options in future, or would you rather have the big ball of fear that you’re going to be sitting [00:06:00] on anyway?
Cause you can’t control everything. Once you start investing, you just need to put in some support and structure for yourself. So that might be choosing who you want to learn from about money online, and then setting a routine. So that might be topping up an investment account from your wages automatically or going in and choosing what you want to buy every month or leaving it all to a fund manager.
Just going back to MamaFurFur’s explanation of what investing is; when she says you can purchase stocks within a range of companies, individual companies, or bonds. Another thing that was a barrier for me and could be a barrier for anyone is having to choose in life. And now there’s even more investment platforms.
However, as someone who’s been prone to decision paralysis, this is one area where I think more choice is actually good. You can open investment accounts these days for as little as one pound. And as part of that broader choice of providers, there’s more competition over who charges the lowest fee.
And there’s also a lot more choice if you want to be very hands-off and not have to make lots of little decisions about every single company you’re invested in, you could go for something like a robo-advisor, where you tweak the settings for what your goals are and your [00:07:00] attitude to risk and they invest the money for you. MamaFurFur says, “modern portfolio theory is the practice of spreading the risk and reward of any investment and spreading investment over a range of companies to limit any potential losses and called diversification.
Ideally, we want to buy our stocks low and sell when they’re high and the whole stock market globally will go up when we balance this efficiency balance of our choices.
That means making sure we don’t have all our eggs in one basket and analyze our choices regularly, or allow someone else to do it for you using a mutual fund. Ideally we would want only 5% of our total investments in individual companies, if you wish to choose that route and 1% in cash. This would allow our portfolios to remain balanced using the overall market for our growth rather than one company and the risk nature of that.” This is really what I needed to know when I was 18. And again, I’m not Rain Man.
So this is the kind of explanation I needed that investing is not a big, scary thing to do if you diversify.
So what could you gain financially if you started investing at 18 and should you ignore all of this if you’re say, already in your thirties? Jennifer suggests if you would just start [00:08:00] from the age of 18 and save just a hundred pound a month consistently until your 55th birthday into an investment ISA, so 1200 pounds total a year out of your 20,000 pounds maximum, you would have almost 445,000 pounds in savings to retire at age 55 if we used a modest rate of return of 10%.
So an investment ISA in the UK is an individual savings account, and that allows you 20,000 pounds per person for you to save tax-free.
It’s just a special type of savings account that you can get through a bank or an investment company. And you use that money to purchase stocks and shares, and then compound interest grows that money.
As another example, “if you were to invest in an investment ISA from age 18 to 30 years consistently 200 pounds a month, seeing a 4% average year on your growth, you could see roughly 38,000 pounds in your savings at the end of those 12 years.” Of course, if you’re older, the same applies. So just count ahead 12 years from now, and you could still have lots of eggs in different baskets, giving birth to other eggs.
The phalanx analogy was better. I think.
And let me know if you’ve got any better suggestions for adding support and structure.
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