SoFi Member Investor Profiles: ‘It’s OK to Start Small’

A few years ago, SoFi Member Anja Carillo was feeling the strain of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. A digital consultant in L.A., Anja wanted more for her money — and for her life. When a friend gave her the nudge she needed to start investing, Anja started trading with a few starter stocks — just to see how it all worked.

Anja’s Investing Story

Anja got advice from other people, but the most important investing lesson she learned was to trust herself. As the investing process became more familiar, things got easier — and Anja discovered strengths she didn’t know she had. Read on to learn how you can start investing and find your strengths.

I started investing almost by accident.

Initially, I opened an investment account because a friend just wanted the referral bonus! So he signed me up and walked me through the process. But actually, I was interested — because I wanted to find a way to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck. I was tired of putting my money in my current bank account, which did not earn me any interest or help me make a profit.

I started slow.

I began trading in late 2018 with just a few dollars here and there. I tried to watch how my investments performed. And I got advice from my friends who were also into investing. After a while it got easier — especially once I realized that trading isn’t something that’s only for people who have a Master’s degree in finance.

Then I learned to play to my strengths.

I discovered that I love doing research. I don’t like buying purely on instinct or from potentially biased information. Eventually, you develop skills that help you decide whether a stock has potential. You definitely don’t need a lot of money or technical knowledge to invest.

Now I have an approach I like.

I have a healthy mix in my portfolio, I like being diversified in case something happens in the general market. I also have another portfolio in case I need money fast for an emergency.

You have to take the bad with the good.

I think we all agree that the ups and downs of the market can be nerve wracking. You’ll definitely need a strong stomach sometimes. But I always remind myself that seeing green days, and mentally preparing for bullish days, helps a lot.

My go-to strategy?

Dollar-cost averaging! That means: No matter how moody the markets might be, if you invest small amounts every week or month you’re more likely to keep your average costs down — and your gains up — for the long run. It’s a pretty common strategy for people who are in it for the long term.

One more thing…

I’d definitely like to encourage more people to use these online tools to learn about investing. It can help them live their dreams.

The Takeaway

Inspired? You should be — Anja’s story has all the right elements for a new investor. You can start slow, even with just a few investments, and develop a whole roster of skills, from doing research to selecting securities. As they say, there’s no better teacher than experience.

And as Anja discovered, when you start investing you learn not only to trust when your own opinion is the right one to follow, but to feel more confident whenever life, or the market, throws you a curveball (which can happen). Opening an account with SoFi Invest® opens the door to new possibilities. Whether you’re excited about ETFs or curious about crypto, SoFi allows you to learn as you explore.

Learn More

SoFi Member responses are from the SoFi Ambassador survey conducted in July 2021. All responses are published with the permission of the SoFi Member, and have been edited for grammar and clarity by SoFi editors. SoFi Ambassadors earn rewards for participating in the Ambassador Program.

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