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Investment Portfolio Creation as a Young Adult

Why my dad and I teamed up to open a brokerage account


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Joshua Siktar

3 years ago | 2 min read

The cover photo is courtesy of StockCharts at https://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui. The photo was taken on March 15, 2021.
The cover photo is courtesy of StockCharts at https://stockcharts.com/h-sc/ui. The photo was taken on March 15, 2021.

Like many other people, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged me to rethink my finances considerably. It’s served as a reminder that on a given day, we might not be able to spend a dollar the way we intended. Among other things that fell apart, a scheduled Spring Break trip to Austin had to be canceled in March 2020. You’ve all heard (or even experienced) stories like this, not to mention the loss of jobs, and the loss of loved ones. With that in mind, I feel incredibly fortunate to still have a paying job (as a graduate teaching associate) and to be relatively financially stable.

Back in December, I initiated a simple but worthwhile project with my dad: we each pulled $1,000 from savings and opened an account on TDAmeritrade. I wanted to briefly explain the reasons why more families should pursue similar endeavors.

First and foremost, there is the possibility to make quite a bit of money, even when only starting with $2000. The amount is such that if we somehow lost all of it, it would not be financially troublesome for either of us (albeit still disappointing). On the flip side, any profits could either be re-invested in an attempt to make even bigger profits, or saved to help with other expenses (for me these include paying off student loans and saving to purchase a car). The modest amount invested is no excuse for recklessness, however. While it can be exciting to hold shares of a penny stock and pray that the stock price shoots up to $100, a certain amount of restraint needs to be exercised. Also, my dad and I have different investment philosophies; he prefers companies with a lot of press coverage (and hence a lot of sources to research fundamental analysis), while I prefer companies that show promising chart trends and technical statistics. There’s something to be learned from working with someone who has a different investment philosophy from your own, and communicating your own beliefs and reasoning while keeping an open mind.

Speaking of fundamentals, oftentimes the fundamental analysis is drawn from current events. Current events have the potential to make stocks go up or down in either the short or the long term. Thus these events, and the anticipated behaviors of related stocks, can dictate investment decisions. In turn, it gives us an additional incentive to keep an eye on the news and current events. The pandemic and extensive press coverage of it have already heightened my awareness of other current events, along with the University of Tennessee’s recent accomplishment of giving all students and faculty full access to the Wall Street Journal. I don’t want that awareness to fade once this pandemic is finally over.

Finally, a reminder to my readers who have families, or are students away from home: watching your kids grow up and move along with their lives can be very difficult for parents. I feel how hard it’s been for my parents to see me move eight hours away from Pittsburgh to pursue my doctoral degree. This project of co-managing an investment portfolio, no matter how little money may be in it, gives my dad and I something to talk about on the phone that excites him and makes him happy. That bond (no pun intended) is priceless.

Note: I do not own shares of Tesla stock. The choice of their chart for the article’s display picture was arbitrary.

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Joshua Siktar

Ph.D. Candidate, Applied Mathematics, University of Tennessee-Knoxville | B.S. Mathematics, Carnegie Mellon | Facilitator of Modernization of Education


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