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Ralph Nelson

Investing Can Be Confusing. Here Are 3 Ways To Clear Things Up

The more you learn about investing, the more you realize there’s so much more to learn about investing. At times, it can feel like a never-ending wormhole. Part of it is the lingo—other than law and medicine, I can think of few fields that demand such a thorough understanding of different terms, acronyms and theory.

Of course, little of this is true for your average trader. Either they hire a “money guy” or they follow the standard advice of conservative savings, usually passing the buck, if you will, off to an advisor or a robo-advisor.

I used to be one of those people. I truly had no idea what was going on with my money—I tried to max out my IRA every year and take advantage of my employer’s 401k match. But, while ignorance might feel like bliss, with investing it can certainly cost you a pretty penny. In short, I realized that a bunch of my savings were sitting there, not being properly invested.

That’s right, I was losing the war against inflation. My cheeks still become inflamed when I think about it!

Mistakes are meant to be learned from. I became determined to learn about my own financial destiny. Beyond the obvious information which you can find on sites like, things can get tricky. Learning where exactly to put your money, how to balance risk with reward, and on. Here are three ways to help make things easier on yourself.

1) Clean Things Up

Initially, I split my attention across a range of publications—from The Economist to CNBC— with the hopes that I could find a kind of “average of information.” This wasn’t nearly as effective as I’d have liked, and it took up a ton of time.

Fortunately, I soon found the perfect information aggregator. Chaikin Analytics helped save me countless hours by simply putting the information I need right in front of me. Between quick catch ups or detailed webinars, I feel as if I’m covered on everything I need.

2) Work With Data When Words Aren’t Cutting It

Do you remember the movie Moneyball? In essence, it was a look at how Major League Baseball was revolutionized by analytics over intuition.

The same type of thinking can and should be applied to investing. The crunching of huge amounts of data can accomplish things that the average person would spend a lifetime working out. That’s not to say that intuition is worthless, but a balance of the two is vital. There are a long list of good analytic programs out there, but I appreciate that Chaikin Analytics does the analyzing and the editorializing for me.

3) Try, Try Again

One of the problems with investing is that we feel there’s no room for error, let alone failure. But failure is integral to learning—hence the mistakes I mentioned above.

The question then becomes: how do I fail without losing money? I turned to prop trading, which lets me either practice with either simulated stock markets or use other company’s money and split the profits. This way I have room to work through my confusions without hurting my future.

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