The number one question I get is “how do I invest?”
It is not our fault we were not taught how to invest.
Read that again – it is not your fault.
And thus, you should not feel shame or embarrassment that you were never taught how.
As children, our parents likely bought us a bike with training wheels and walked with us in the driveway where we learned how to ride. Eventually, the training wheels came off and we rode confidently down the sidewalk without their support.
Would we shame someone who at 23 doesn’t know how to ride a bike because their parents couldn’t afford one, or where they lived was not conducive to having a bike?
No! (at least I hope you wouldn’t)
At 22 in my first job, I was sent to New York City to serve on a client. If you have read my bio, you know I grew up on a farm in rural America – my town didn’t even have a stoplight (and still doesn’t!) let alone a subway system. Did I feel shame I had no idea how to ride the subway? No! I never had the opportunity nor was I ever taught.
What did I do to learn? I found a coworker who was already onsite at the client. I made sure to book the same hotel they were at, and flew in early on a Sunday so I could go with them to get a subway pass, and know where the stop was closest to the hotel. On Monday morning, I asked for them to meet me in the lobby so I could go with them.
Did I have mess-ups? Absolutely. I got on the wrong train multiple times (who knew multiple trains ran on the same track?!), and when I realized I was on the wrong track, I course-corrected. I downloaded a tracker app and map to help navigate where I was going.
I took accountability that I didn’t know, and took steps to learn and master the NYC subway system.
Why did I share that story? Because investing is similar.
I had no idea what a 401k or IRA was at 22. I could have felt shame for not knowing and sat on the sidelines, or I could have jumped in and learned.
We should not feel shame that we were not taught how to do something, but that doesn’t dismiss the accountability we must take to learn things that we need to know to succeed in life.
Another example: I have no idea how to buy a home, and you will not see real estate posts on my page because I literally have no idea how to do it (do people go to Yelp to find a realtor? I have no idea). I feel no shame around not owning a home because it does not make sense for my life at this time. That doesn’t dismiss the fact I will need to learn one day when I do decide to buy a home, and when that time comes, I will read books, blogs, talk with friends, and learn how.
Abundance in our life happens when we acknowledge we don’t know what we don’t know and we take accountability to learn and start where we are at.
You may not know how to invest today, but that should not stop you from not knowing how to invest tomorrow.
Shake off the shame.
How can we do that?
Bring the shame to life. Tell a friend you don’t know how to invest (I’m guessing some of them won’t either!). When we vocalize what we are shameful of, it takes away some of the power.
Dr. Brene Brown says, “The less we talk about shame, the more power it has over our lives. If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees.” Shame is, at its essence, fear of disconnection. By talking with others, we chip away at that shame.
Give yourself grace. I believe that humans do the best they can with what they are given, and when they know better, they will do better. Have compassion for the inner you who does not know, and wants to learn more.
Shame can be triggered. Find out what triggers your shame and shut it down. Is it a friend you need to remove from your life? Is there content you consume on social media that you need to unfollow?
The first step to investing is working through any shame we feel that is holding us back from getting started, and I hope this helped inspire you to take that first step.
👉🏼 If you're ready to start investing, I have created a one-page Investing 101 guide! Get yours here