"Make sure you have savings before you invest."

POSTED ON September 06, 2019

Marco, the fitness nut

How did you get started in investing? 

One of my earliest investing experiences happened while I working as a management trainee at one of the leading financial institutions of the Philippines.

During one of the financial classes I had to attend at work, we were advised to consider investing in Ayala Land (ALI) shares because the company was on the rise. I didn't have a solid savings fund yet, but I thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up. So, I invested in some shares.

I used my first paycheck to buy ALI shares in July of that year. I bought the shares at P16.80 per share, thinking I could sell them in December for a profit because I hoped to use the money for a family trip. Come December, I needed the money for my trip already, but the share price had actually gone down. I ended up selling at P15.50 per share -- or a 9% loss! Two months later, ALI's stock price rose to P22.00 per share. That would have given me a gain of 29% or P5,000, if I didn't sell early. 

What's the most important lesson you've learned from investing?

There are 3 things I've learned from investing over the years. 

  1. Save before investing. If I had built a savings fund before investing, I would not have needed to use the money I invested in ALI shares right away, and I would not have had to sell at a loss. 
  2. Time is your friend. Investments need time to bear fruit. Today, ALI shares are worth around P49.00 per share!
  3. Invest regularly, even just in small amounts. I made one investment in ALI shares. I missed the opportunity to buy more shares at a cheaper price, even when the price dipped to P15.50. I've learned that it's good to use a cost average strategy. (Earnest note: A cost average strategy is when you invest in increments over time. The idea is that the average cost per share will be comparable or better than if you try to time your investment).