Your financial journey is ever evolving. No matter where your money story began or what your relationship with saving, spending and investing looks like now, you can always learn, grow and expand your mindset for the better. At Ally Invest, we’re here to provide guidance and insight to help you become more confident in all aspects of your financial life.
Cue: The Becoming a Better Investor Ally Invest Digital Conference. On June 23, we brought together our in-house pros and expert industry partners to talk all things money — from making tricky debt decisions to boosting your wealth-building mojo to understanding the technical side of stocks.
Our financial experts had honest conversations about the personal trade-offs (and even some mistakes) they’ve made and discussed in detail the digital and social trends that influence market behavior. Altogether, the Becoming a Better Investor Digital Conference was full of impactful lessons (as well as some hot takes) for both new and experienced investors.
If you missed the live event — or want to relive any of the sessions — you can stream it all now on demand on our YouTube channel. Curious what you’re in for? Read on for three takeaways you don’t want to miss.
1. Debt is a tool.
To kick off the conference, Callie Cox (during her tenure as Ally Invest’s senior investment strategist), Senior Director of Wealth Advisor Operations Jacqueline Howard and Senior Director of Ally Invest Advisors Nicole Cope played our version of financial “Would You Rather.” All three channeled their distinct points of view and experiences to share how they would react in various scenarios and why. A common thread emerged throughout the discussion: When done so wisely and responsibly, taking on debt can be a powerful and beneficial financial tool.
It’s true that certain forms of it can be detrimental, but debt is more than a four-letter word. If you feel confident and committed to paying it back, taking out debt in the form of a mortgage or student loans can open the door to future wealth-building opportunities. And sometimes, choosing debt instead of paying for something in cash outright can potentially help you grow your wealth in the long run. How? If you compare the interest rate of a loan vs. the returns you could potentially earn by investing that cash in the market, you might find your gains outweigh interest costs.
Of course, any time you face a debt decision, it’s crucial to thoughtfully consider all the pros and cons. As Nicole said, “Debt is like a hammer: Used wisely, it can help you build something beautiful. But in the wrong hands, it can cause significant damage.”
2. Fundamental and technical stock analysis both play a role.
On the surface, it’s not always so simple to know whether a certain stock is a good fit for your portfolio. But digging into a security’s data can give you a clearer idea, and there’s a few ways to go about it. We welcomed Shana Sissel, chief investment officer at Spotlight Asset Group, to chat with Ally Invest Senior Options Analyst Brian Overby about their takes on fundamental vs. technical analysis.
Brian is our resident “chart guru,” meaning he often takes a technical approach to analyzing stocks, and Shana leans toward using calculators for fundamental analysis. But they agree on this: Fundamental and technical analysis aren’t in competition with each other. Technical analysis typically looks at shorter-term trends (think three, six or nine months) to find patterns that can help you predict a stock’s future price movements. And through fundamental analysis, you can gain a better understanding of what a stock is worth by evaluating various aspects of the company behind it. In conjunction, these methods work together to paint a full picture of a stock’s potential performance. Sometimes, technicals can even reinforce the right time to execute a trade driven by fundamentals.
3. Knowledge is secondary to temperament.
If you’ve ever worried you don’t know enough about trading or the market to be a successful investor, Dr. Daniel Crosby, chief behavioral officer of Orion, is here to set the record straight. In conversation with Callie Cox, he dove deep into the psychology behind investor behavior and the reasons our brains make the decisions they do.
If one point sticks with you, let it be this: Research shows that what separates investors with successful outcomes from those who are unsuccessful isn’t necessarily financial acumen or market experience — it’s their temperament and ability to stay even-keeled, calm and focused. That’s because no matter your knowledge level, everyone has cognitive biases that can cause you to make decisions that go against what you know is right. The key is being able to recognize those biases and stick to your guns when tempted to make impulsive market moves.
Sharpen your investing skills.
Whether you’re just beginning to make financial decisions or you’ve been managing money and participating in the market for years, it’s never a bad time to sharpen your investing skills. Through the Becoming a Better Investor Digital Conference, you have access to unique perspectives from a variety of pros committed to helping you live your best financial life. From stories about social trends and science to candid conversations about confidence and decision making, there’s something for everyone, and it’s all available to stream on demand today.
During her tenure as president of Ally Invest, Lule led Ally Invest Securities, Ally Invest Advisors and API business lines. She also authored several articles about the investing industry and investor behaviors. Lule has a passion for agile product development and an appreciation of design thinking in shaping user-centric experiences. An advocate for financial and retirement solutions that rely on a mix of digital and human guidance, Lule believes in empowering individuals, especially women and minorities, to independently drive their own financial futures.