Tips from a millennial trader – Will Hassell speaks to invstr

by | Mar 20, 2017

Will Hassell, now 20, started trading when he was just 12 years old. invstr’s Lea Jakobiak caught up with him to see how it all began and to find out some tips for young investors who are getting started.

LJ: At what age did you start trading?

WH: I was 12 years old at the time, it was during spring break. My Dad worked for a Fortune 500 company and I asked him what stocks were all about. He said he would sponsor me if I found enough research about one company that I liked. At the time I didn’t know about modern portfolios so we kept it simple, put a small amount of money in to this one company I enjoyed it and it grew from there.

LJ: How did you learn about investing at such a young age, how did you get your head around all the jargon for example?

WH: That’s a great question. I watched a lot of business news on TV. As soon as I came home from school, I read the Wall Street Journal. I’d hear all the big words and try to understand what they meant.

I then discovered the world of Twitter when I was 14 and was able to follow investors and people that work for research firms; this was huge because it meant that if I had a question, I could reach out to them directly and they would explain what it meant. I also used investopedia to understand the ratios.

But to be honest, in finance I still have lots to learn. I would say I fully understood the basics, like currencies, commodities and fixed income about two years ago.

LJ: What has been your biggest challenge when it comes to learning about trading?

WH: It took a while for me too learn when to sell; I watched a few investments go up 50% and then go down again by 50% – because I didn’t sell at the right time.

LJ: What tips do you have for anyone who is interested in trading?

WH: I have classmates asking me all the time about how they can get in to the markets. I always say to them that there are two paths really; it comes down to if you really want to learn or if you just want to invest and hope it grows.

So either learn to become an active trader, learn how to pick stocks, all the basics and so on but beware it is time-consuming and a serious business. If you don’t then just go for a safe investment, like putting it in an index.

LJ: You are currently studying a double degree in finance and economics at Lehigh University, what do you wish to do once you finish?

WH: I want a job where I’m actively managing money, so in Asset Management preferably.

LJ: Do you still trade whilst studying?

WH: Of course! But my strategy is different, it’s no longer short term focused. I now spend two weeks digging in to five or six investment ideas, all which I think will do well for six months to a year, meaning I don’t have to check the trades all day long.

LJ: What do you think about trading in the current climate in the US?

WH: I think the market is very hopeful, there’s a hopeful fiscal package. I believe most companies that have been overvalued or undervalued because of the Donald Trump effect with revert back to how they were pre-inauguration.

We will also see sectors like healthcare revert back a bit. It’s all very linked to Washington at the moment. I’m just trying to find great companies and make the most out of it.


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