The Paradox of Investing

By 
Shreya Kriti Kamra
Inherent to life are a variety of paradoxes.

One of which include: the fact that investing is the most powerful for the people who stay in the market the longest. However, youth and GenZ’ers are not often taught the power of investing in classrooms, at least in my experience and in conversations I've held with female friends. I’ve noticed that middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students are interested in this nebulous, fancy-schmancy thing called investing and “making money without really doing anything.”

But the problem is that on the outside, the words we use and how we use them obscure the simplicity of investing. Investing and its power are really contingent on this idea of compound interest and how profits build over time, depending on how well a company performs.

In environments where families do not have investing backgrounds or where education is diluted with a prioritization of theory and technical jargon over practical applications to know and leverage this simple concept is highly improbable. When I first encountered the Alinea app, I noticed that it addressed this very problem. Alinea’s mission is a very simple concept accessible to people who would otherwise never understand the secret. Yet, a key is only as powerful as its owners ability to understand where and when to use it. So the work that I will create for you will be a complement to the Alinea app. I'll try to address all of the questions that you have about investing in the most simple terms possible.

As I met with Alinea users, some of the common questions that I received were: How do I know which companies are performing well? How often should I add money to my portfolio? How long should the money sit in the market? When will I be able to reap the rewards of my investments? How can I determine the best diversification of my portfolio? What is an index fund? What is a mutual fund? What is it in a Roth IRA? Many may not even know what the stock market is in the first place.

My theory is that it is the elite-sounding, technical terms that almost always block young people, women, and minority groups from even trying to comprehend the mechanisms that run the flickering numbers on the news and volatile, consistently spiky graphs on websites and apps. What this seems to me to be is a blockade of education because of unnecessary over complication of simple phenomena. Imagine if we re-named financial jargon altogether. Say we call: recurring deposits as X and mutual funds as Y. The simple re-labeling into terms that people use regularly would surely improve involvement in the market.

We can expose the value of investing, of financial responsibility, and financial intelligence by using metaphors and storytelling that imbue these technical concepts with a little bit of humanity. I will address all of these curiosities in a form that is accessible and transparent to readers coming from a variety of backgrounds, regardless of if they have a financial or educational background.

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