The SWOSU Investment Club

Investing comes in a wide variety of forms — some bearing higher risk than others — that one can focus on when creating a portfolio. Investing in oneself, investing in others, investing in the future, bonds, stocks, IRAs, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies: all are viable options, but without a doubt, some are more reliable than others in the long term. For the students of SWOSU that are interested in investing to increase their future funds but are not entirely sure where to start or how it works, the Investment Club could be for you.

The Investment Club’s advisor, Marc Leonard, has a great deal of knowledge regarding investments as a professor in the SWOSU business department and was able to provide some insight on what the Investment Club is all about and how the students of SWOSU could go about beginning their investment journey. Firstly, the club is led by the students and caters to its members — most of the decisions and discussions are made by those who take part — whilst the advisor is there exactly for his namesake: to advise. The meetings are primarily held to discuss investing, how it works, what it means, and how to learn more about it. Groups within the club will be able to work in different areas, and collectively come together to make savvy investment decisions as a result.

Investing is difficult to do correctly, but according to Leonard, investing is better than not investing at all. Regarding investing, discussions about what is good versus what is bad as opposed to providing insight as to what is only good are prominent within the club. Of course, when it comes to making money through investing, there will always be risks, but one of the goals of the Investment Club is to learn how to minimize those risks as much as possible while maximizing positive returns.

Before making a major investment decision, one should note their personal tolerance for risk. Decisions on investing should be made with a financial advisor, so having a good financial advisor that you trust is necessary when it comes to minimizing risk when investing. One way to do this is to diversify your portfolio, which is to say that while you put money in one area, it would be a clever idea to put some money in another area. If one area does bad, and the other does good, then losses are minimized as opposed to if you only put money in one area and lost all the money.

Leonard recommends to those interested that one should invest in inexpensive ETFs with low management fees tracking a popular index, such as a share in the S&P 500, which is buying a share of 500 popular companies with a lower risk than picking individual companies to invest in.

The biggest thing people can do to affect their future financially is to start saving for retirement when they start their first professional career job. Making sure to check in with the HR department before getting the first paycheck and putting some money aside into a retirement fund is vital in this case. This money will build and build over a prolonged period and by retirement, someone could have hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars to draw from in that retirement account. As people get closer to retirement age people get more risk averse, so what a lot of people do during that time is move money from growth stocks to bonds and dividend-paying stocks, which allows people to receive checks in the mail and generate cash.

The last thing Leonard would like to let students know is that if they work for an employer with a 401K plan, some employers match contributions, so if that is the case you need to make that much no matter what, or else you are leaving free money on the table.

For interested students, you do not need to have any prior experience in finance or investing. Investment Club meetings are held in Stafford 117 every Thursday night at 7 p.m.