(U-WIRE) NORMAN, Okla. -Over the past several months, terrorists and corporate accounting scandals have caused the stock market to plummet to some of its lowest points in years, but that hasn’t stopped Chris Speller from investing.
In fact, it was the stock market’s fall that prompted Speller, communications senior, to start investing about six months ago, he said.
"I figured that the market was coming down and it was a good time to get some bargain buys on some good, solid blue chips," Speller said.
Financial Specialists Say College Students Should Start Investing Now
Speller, along with many financial specialists, says it’s a good idea for college students to start investing now, not only because stocks are cheaper, but also because people need to start investing at an early age.
Speller began investing by researching companies on the Internet, talking to more experienced investors and day trading, he said. He has since enlisted the help of a financial adviser and is now investing in long-term stocks.
Although day trading was not profitable, Speller has profited from his long-term stocks, he said. These profits will help him to stay ahead of the game, whereas most college students are in debt when they graduate.
Rick Orthwein, Speller’s financial adviser, said it’s an excellent idea to start investing as soon as possible.
"The earlier people start, the more likely they are to reach their financial goals," Orthwein said.
Orthwein, an investment executive with Capital West Securities in Oklahoma City, said with a stock market investment of $50 a month, an investor could have $45,000 in 25 years based on the average stock market interest rate of 8 percent.
However, college students should not jump into investing, Orthwein said. Investors should first figure out how much they can put into a savings or investment account on a monthly or quarterly basis. Then they should establish a working relationship with a financial adviser.
Financial Adviser Urges Investors to Diversify
Orthwein said he also advises investors to diversify. It is important to have not only stocks, but also cash and bonds.
Evgenia Portniaguina, assistant professor of finance at OU, also said it is important for investors to diversify.
"Invest, but don’t put all of your money in the stock market right now," Portniaguina said.
The way students invest now will help determine their ability to reach long-term goals, such as paying for their children’s college education and a comfortable retirement, Portniaguina said.
"All of these things depend on how we invest our money early in life," Portniaguina said. "The earlier we start, the better."
Portniaguina said students should not be discouraged if they lose money.
"Have patience," Portniaguina said. "You’re there for the long run."
Orthwein said students should not be discouraged about investing due to America’s corporate accounting scandals.
"A lot of people are nervous," Orthwein said. "Just because the market’s down doesn’t mean people should stay away from it."
Now is actually a good time to invest in the stock market because investors can buy more stocks for less money, Orthwein said.
Chris Speller said he will continue to invest despite corporate scandals.
"It’s exciting," Speller said. "I love it. It makes me feel good that I’m building my future."
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