Something about watching colorful numbers flickering about on an otherwise dark screen is oddly therapeutic. Is it the stark contrast between the void and the vibrant hues of blood red and midnight blue that makes the sight so addicting? Or is it the fact that those numbers indicate my net worth at any single moment that makes every second such a thrill?
During the end of last semester, midway through exam week, I took my first steps into the world of investing with a cautious buy of cryptocurrency. One day, while studying for an exam with a friend, we discussed the steadily increasing prices of the market and whether we should join in on the fun. With both of us being inexperienced investors and inherent cowards, we eventually arrived at a compromise between our greed and our risk-averse subconscious: we put in a laughably small amount in the same coins and promised each other to not put in anymore, even if prices skyrocketed.
After our initial buy, we did what any “newbie” does when they put their valuable money into an extremely volatile asset: we checked our portfolios at least thrice a minute. The day after our purchase, our portfolio had risen by three percent. Both pleased and scared, we hastily sold, profiting by a few thousand KRW. But I realized soon after selling that everything was still red; everything was continuously going up. I subsequently broke my promise with my friend.
Alas, all good things must come to an end. In February, the cryptocurrency market plummeted, with the total market cap falling by more than 70%. For a few months, my portfolio was an indomitable fortress of blue, and I had lost a significant portion of my initial investment. But I refused to sell what I believed to be solid investments into new technology with great potential not only for a high rate of return, but also in changing the current infrastructure of the processes of modern society.
However, I can’t deny that the experience left me a little distressed. I spent hours on hours trying to find out why the market was behaving the way it did. It didn’t help that I was going through some other hardships at the time; I became more parsimonious, bitter, and withdrawn, and a large portion of my winter vacation was spent alone in my dormitory room.
Eventually, after weeks of constantly looking at blue, I came to the realization that maybe I should just stop caring for a while. My longing stares at my monitor weren’t going to change the bearish market. And it was only then that I realized I had changed so much over the last few months and that I had lost who I once was. I missed being carefree and hanging out with friends. I slowly but surely crawled out of the hole I dug myself.
Looking back at those times now, I’ve learned a lot about both investing and myself. I’ve diversified and stopped worrying about the market. And I now have a constant reminder of my values and what I find important in life through my investment journey. Who would’ve thought?
Just like how it is hard to time the market, it is almost impossible to know what will happen in life. But unlike money, there is no way to gain back time. So let’s not forget to spend some time for the more important matters in life: friends, family, and health. If anything, your time spent on those will be the greatest investments of them all.