When talking about the advantages of investing in stocks, most people talk about financial profit and returns, but cool cash is far from the only thing you gain when you invest.
A lot of people have a specific financial goal.
Maybe they invest to be able to retire comfortably. Maybe they invest to be able to afford a certain type of home at some point. Or maybe they invest to become financially independent.
Whatever the specific goal, there is probably another reason why you invest: the emotions you will experience when you reach your goal.
It might be a feeling of security knowing that you can retire comfortably. It might be a feeling of having more choices. Or it might be a feeling of having more control over your life.
The good news is that those feelings will begin to emerge a long time before you reach your financial goal.
The feelings will begin to settle the moment you take charge and begin to invest in a serious way.
Obviously, the feelings you experience will depend on how you invest.
If you invest in a way that resembles gambling in a casino, the feelings of stress might deepen.
Investing based on some random thing you pick up listening to a podcast or reading a post in a Facebook group might turn your emotional life into a roller coaster ride as the stock market moves up and down.
But if you invest in a way that is grounded and reliable, if you follow a strategy, and if you research before picking a stock, you’ll experience feelings of freedom, control, and security a long time before you reach your financial goal.
I have no crystal ball, and I can’t tell you exactly how your life will change. But I can tell you what changed in mine when I began investing in stocks as a value investor.
Here are five emotional changes I have noticed in my life:
1. Less Stress
Previously, I was always in a hurry.
I got irritated over small things, like a traffic light changing to red. I felt life was like an assembly line that I couldn’t keep up with. I was always behind, and any small change or delay messed it all up even more.
Today, I have a feeling of time abundance. My time is mine, and I decide what to do with it.
Whenever I go somewhere, I make sure to plan extra time, so I’m no longer in a hurry going from A to B. I notice small wonders, like sounds of birds chirping or the laughter of a child – and I notice them while waiting for the traffic light to turn green.
2. Less Grumpy
Previously, small matters would make me grumpy.
Standing in line at the store, other people were obstacles. I hope I was polite enough, but my attitude was ‘don’t-even-think-about-asking-me-if-you-can-jump-the-line”.
Today, I know my local cashier by name, and I know she invests in stocks. I chat with the people I recognize. Strangers have become three dimensional, and I have more fun interacting with them. They aren’t just obstacles to avoid on the assembly line of life.
3. Better at Protecting my Boundaries
Previously, I let my boss walk all over me.
When I announced my first pregnancy, he responded with a stone-cold face and told me that I should spend the maternity leave thinking about whether I was working at the right place. He basically told me that I was no longer welcome. Forget about congratulations, flowers or greetings from the workplace after the baby’s birth. I didn’t call attention to it. I let it all slip by.
Before coming back from maternity leave, I was demoted and told that I was starting from scratch because I had been on maternity leave. In the end, I was fired while on my second maternity leave.
The signs were very clear from the beginning. I should have gotten up and left at the first sign of discrimination.
Why didn’t I get up and leave? Because I needed the salary to pay my bills.
Instead, I let myself be humiliated, and letting that happen gave me a feeling that it was the only way to live life. I stopped putting up sound boundaries in other parts of my life.
Today, I have very clear boundaries. I check in with my feelings as guides. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
I leave the situation or the relationship and I don’t look back.
4. Better at Living Like a Minimalist
Previously, I had a hard time letting go of stuff.
I’m talking about all that stuff we collect throughout life. The pants that don’t really fit. The high-heeled shoes we never got around to wearing. The coffee machine we stopped using.
I was afraid of needing it later on.
Today, I let go of everything that I don’t use or that doesn’t bring me joy. I know that I can always buy what I need later on. When I pass the stuff on to friends or charity, I know it’ll bring joy and be used.
I know that having a clean closet and a minimalist lifestyle is a lot more valuable than the stuff itself.
5. Better at Enjoying My Own Company
Previously, I felt jittery in my own company.
It was hard for me to be alone for more than a few hours. I felt like I was missing out on something all the time.
Today, I really enjoy my investing practice.
It feels like playing chess with the world. I’m trying to figure out the next move before it happens. You could also say that researching a specific company feels like solving a riddle.
I can easily spend days on my own with my investing “hobby” because it is satisfying on an intellectual level.
It has given my life a new layer.
If you want to learn about solving intellectual puzzles and investing with a strategy, you can read my e-book Free Yourself here.