Back then we had to use libraries or text books, and talk to people who knew more than we did – all of which took time, a completely different world. It can be a conversation killer now, but if I can’t remember who directed a certain film, or wrote a well-known book; within seconds I can have my answer. We can find out almost anything about anything, and while this is of course a complete boon, we need to be wary about the source of the wisdom we uncover and use the same kind of discernment we would with any self-proclaimed expert.
This is very much the case for financial advice of course. During the recent periods of lock-down when people found themselves with a lot more time on their hands than they were used to, and limited means for spending or indeed making money, investing has become something of a major pastime. And again, thanks to the internet, the means by which anyone can take the initiative and plunge headlong into the world of finance are right there at our fingertips – and the younger generations it seems have been doing just that. Millennials and Generation Z have taken to online investing with zeal and they see it as a means by which they might be able to supplement their salaries and, in some cases, turn a quick profit.
A lot of this new-found enthusiasm for matters financial can be attributed to the precariousness of the jobs market during the pandemic, and the fact that it seems more unlikely now than at any time since the post-war boom, that young people will be able to get their feet on the property ladder. This allied with the ease of access to investment platforms online leaves me with a great sense of unease for these well-meaning but perhaps unwary investors. The rise of the major social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and TikTok have given a voice to all manner of influencers, would be experts as well as dedicated finance channels like #moneytok and #stocktok, and this seems to be where new investors turn first for their financial advice. There is no shortage of opinion, or people willing to show you exactly how they made their money, and to tell you that you can surely do the same (which often involves you sending them your money incidentally) it all appears to be very straight forward. But of course, these resources are a minefield for the incautious. Undoubtedly there are genuine voices out there giving sound basic advice and encouragement to new investors, but all too often these voices are drowned out by the brash, ‘get rich quick’ contingent who perhaps only really have their own best interests at heart. Sometimes what these channels are advising comes down to little more than gambling in the hands of inexperienced investors, what might work for seasoned day traders is certainly not a suitable training ground for newcomers.
One of the big areas of interest for those looking to turn a quick profit is inevitably cryptocurrencies. With these kinds of tremendously volatile markets big fortunes have indeed been made and also of course lost. With the prices of some of the more popular cryptos such as Bitcoin rocketing, it’s hard to see where all of this will eventually end up, but general consensus seems to be it can’t last and that any would be crypto millionaires have now probably missed to boat.
Like the old proverb says, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’. My advice to those new to investing is that if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. The same rules apply today as they ever did – invest for the long-term, diversify your investments to lessen the effects of market volatility, and use the services of a good, trustworthy, financial advisor. It only takes minutes to make a bad decision that you might go on to regret for many years to come, and that is so much easier to do now with everything being online 24hrs a day. Take independent financial advice and build a relationship of trust that will serve you now and for the future.
Blacktower has been providing expert, localised, wealth management advice in Portugal for the last 20 years. We can help with specialist, independent advice on securing your financial future. Get in touch with us on (+351) 289 355 685 or email us at email@example.com.
This communication is not intended to constitute, and should not be construed as, investment advice, investment recommendations or investment research. You should seek advice form a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity.