Tips for students interested in investing
Making something of yourself financially isn’t easy when you’re a student. You’re likely to be on a very limited income with substantial costs to meet. If you’ve just graduated, you’ll almost certainly have debts to pay off, and may hesitate to take on postgraduate study as a result. Despite this, there are opportunities to get involved in investment as a student, and opportunities to develop the skills that could see you become a successful investor in the future.
Get smart about student loans
You may not get a lot of money to live on as a student, but you can get it in large portions, and interest rates on student loans are tied to the rate of inflation, so if you can find a secure investment with returns above the rate of inflation, you can make money off your loan before the time comes to pay it back. The trick is to budget carefully for what you actually need to live on and stick to it; then you’ll be free to take advantage of those lump sum instalments – but do be aware of the risks before putting that money to work.
Seek out learning opportunities
If you want to pursue a career with an investment bank or similar company, you should consider a degree in business, finance or economics. Maths and chemistry (which requires the same kind of organised thinking) can also provide routes in, but you’ll usually need to take supporting modules alongside them or a master’s afterwards. Bear in mind that as a student you’re usually allowed to sit in on any lecture you like at your institution, even if you’re in a different faculty.
Try fantasy trading
Even at times when you have little money for trading, fantasy trading is an option, and it’s a really important part of the learning process. Investors who start out this way usually do much better than those who jump in at the deep end. The Hammerstone is a great place to keep track of trades and explore the other resources that you may want to use when you go pro.
Aim for an internship
If you want to get a job with a top investment company straight out of university or college, the best way in is an internship. These are usually available in the summer before your final year. There’s a lot of competition for them, so you’ll need good exam results and academic references. It helps to apply early and to be able to convincingly articulate the reasons why investing is your passion.
Build your network
The most successful investors are those who really know the markets in depth, and the best way to do that is to have a broad network of connections you can draw on whenever you want to know more about a particular sector or area. That makes networking vital, and one of the easiest times to do this is when you’re a student. It doesn’t mean you have to be boring – social contacts can prove just as useful as those made in more formal organisations.
It’s never too early to start planning for an investment career. Being a student gives you lots of advantages – so use them!
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