We live in such an amazing time right now because we are able to make money just by using our phones. Seriously, my phone is a big reason why I became financially free, specifically with the use of investing apps. I’m going to show you 4 ways on how I used the stock market to reach financial freedom in my 30’s.
1. I invested in good companies by simply buying and holding stocks for the long term
I remember one of the first stocks I bought was Microsoft, which was around $50 at the time. And like all newbie stock market investors, I would check on my stock every day to see what the price of it was. Somedays, the stock would go up $2. Somedays, it dropped $2. But then, I started noticing something interesting. As time passed every month, the stock price would increase little by little. Which then got me thinking, “What if I bought more?”
Being absolutely new to the stock market and trying to understand why some people love investing, I did some research and found out that pretty much all millionaires and billionaires invest in the stock market regularly. For them, it was a regular weekly or monthly routine, like doing their laundry or paying for their electric bill. And now I’m thinking, if this is what millionaires and billionaires do, why don’t I just do the same thing too?
You see, these millionaires and billionaires didn’t just work a 9-5 job and save their money until they had a million dollars. If you do the math, that’s pretty much impossible, considering that the average American person’s income is around $60,000, and around 74% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, based on a report by the American Payroll Association.
Ah, but then I thought, what about the people who made more money? They can save up to becoming a millionaire and billionaire too, right? Based on a Nielson study, around 1 in 4 families making $150,000 also live paycheck to paycheck. The thought process behind this is that the more you make, the more you will want to spend keeping up with Joneses, especially now that we live in an Instagram culture where we are tempted to show our wealth, love, and happiness to others.
In the end, I found out that it doesn’t matter too much on how much money I made, but how much money I was able to invest in good companies to build my wealth and be patient in the long run.
I started investing little by little every month. If I saw one of my stocks grow around $5-10, I would buy 1-2 shares more. I gradually went from having 1 share, to 5 shares, to 20 shares, to a couple of hundred shares of different companies. The more and more I invested, the more confidence I built in myself because I knew that I was building my wealth much faster than leaving my money in a typical savings account.
2. I collect dividends every quarter
If you don’t know what a dividend is, it’s basically you getting paid a little bit of money every quarter for each share you buy. For example, some companies can pay you around $1 per share per quarter, meaning that you can get $4 per year just by having one share of that company.
So for example of what I’m investing in, I currently have around 600 shares of Microsoft. And if you look up Microsoft’s dividends on NASDAQ.com, they pay their investors $0.51 per quarter. So every year, just by holding on to these shares, I get around $300 just by being a shareholder on top of having the value of my shares increase over time.
But wait, there’s more! Dividends are not always stagnant. If companies continue to do well, they may want to reward their investors by increasing the dividends! So if you take a look at the history of Microsoft’s dividends, the company went from giving $0.08 per share per quarter back in 2005, to the current $0.51 per share per quarter. I wouldn’t be surprised if the dividends went up to $2.00 per quarter in the next ten years.
When I learned about investing in dividend paying stocks, I thought that $0.50 per share wasn’t a lot of money. But then, I thought about the big picture. What if I had 1000 shares? Or maybe 5000 shares? Or 10,000 shares? I would be getting $20,000 per year just by being an investor? Wow! And what do you do with the dividends? You can buy even more shares and get more dividends, therefore just exponentially growing your wealth! A lot of investors, like Warren Buffet, use this strategy to get to the millions or billions of dollars they have right now. They simply buy and hold shares of strong companies and collect dividends every quarter. I think this is an amazing and powerful way to make passive income.
3. I got into the habit of buying and selling stock
I see the stock market like a business. Like retail stores being able to buy products at a cheaper price and sell it to their consumers at a higher price, the stock market is like the same thing. When I first started buying and selling stock, I chose a stock that had around a $2 move intraday, meaning that if there was a stock trading at around $100, the stock could go down to $99 and go up to $101 within one day. When I saw this happen, I thought, “What if I could buy a stock and just sell it for a dollar more?” I started with one stock, bought it at around $100, and then told the software to automatically sell it when the stock hit $101. And within five days, I was able to sell the stock and make a dollar.
I know, one dollar didn’t seem like a lot of money, but I thought about the bigger picture. What if I had 100 shares? I would have made $100 in five days. Or what if I had 1000 shares, I would have made $1000 in five days.
As I got more accustomed to buying and selling stock, I was making an easy $50-100 a week, just by buying a couple of shares and telling my software when to automatically sell the shares. Now I know some of you guys might ask, “Were you sitting in front of a computer all day trading?” Absolutely not! I was able to do everything on my phone, usually before I go to work or during my lunch break, and it took around 5-10 minute to do..
Oh I know. Some of you might think, “But what if the stock drops like crazy like with the recent market crash?” Because I’ve been in the stock market for a while, I know that all these pullbacks and corrections don’t last and stocks with great fundamentals will ultimately conquer the test of time. If you take a look at the S&P500, you’ll notice that even with all the pullbacks, corrections, and bear markets, the S&P500 still trends higher over time.
4. I sold covered calls
So when I learned about this strategy, I kept selling covered calls each month and got around $300 consistently. As I got my account size bigger, I was able to have more stocks, which meant that I was able to sell even more covered calls. So, I basically started from making around $300 per month, to $600, then to $900, to a couple thousand dollars per month. And how long does this take? Usually, it takes around 5-10 minutes every Monday morning.
So you see, because I was able to learn about, invest, and trade in the stock market, money is not something I have to worry about anymore, which means that I was able to retire earlier and pursue my other passions in life. I made it my mission to educate people on how to also achieve financial freedom by developing positive and healthy money habits, which in turn can have people use their money and knowledge to help others around them too.
There you have it folks! To sum it up, I retired in my 30’s by investing in good companies, collecting dividends for passive income, buying and automatically selling stock, and selling covered calls. Feel free to try some of these strategies out yourself and hopefully you can get a little closer to financial freedom. Until next time!
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