Elon Musk has democratized the stock market, but to seriously grow your wealth you need both Elon’s cool and Warren Buffett’s old-school savvy.
My warning comes as the surge in day-trading frenzies, triggered by so-called “activist investors” on social media platforms and online forums like Reddit urging others to invest their cash into unloved stocks, appears to be fizzling out.
Many of these so-called “meme stocks” jumped exorbitantly on the back of these small-scale investments. However, platforms that facilitated this are reporting a flatlining of the ‘movement.’
Indeed, the first quarter of 2021 was a crazy ride in stock markets, and this was driven by online investment communities who adore the likes of the billionaire electric vehicle and space travel entrepreneur Elon Musk, amongst others.
He’s successfully pitched himself as being both a future first, counterculture activist and part of the establishment. Small-scale day-traders can’t get enough of it and hang off his every word.
In many respects, this is a good thing. His immense global influence has brought into focus the huge benefits of investing to millions, many of whom would have ordinarily baulked at the idea of putting their money into the hands of Wall Street traders.
In this way, Musk has helped democratize the stock market.
I believe whilst the mass hype and hysteria might be fading, this phenomenon of retail investors acting as a collective and led by social media and celebrity investors, is here to stay.
Moving forward, they are likely to be as influential as major hedge funds in moving markets.
However, as we’re now seeing, many of these small-scale investors — typically inexperienced, younger people who might not necessarily have the financial resources to be resilient against usually highly speculative and volatile investments — are playing a potentially hugely costly game.
I would urge them to adopt the cool of Elon Musk and the savvy of Warren Buffett.
Musk can spot future trends like very few others, focuses on sustainability, has utter conviction, takes risks, and is a master at harnessing the power of social media for business.
Meanwhile, Buffett’s focus is on time-honored fundamentals including diversification, cash flow, and profitability.
The instincts and skillsets of both these mega-investors combined will be a powerful strategy for any investor.
If you do want the thrill or novelty of chasing big gains, you really should ensure that you have a sound, diversified, long-term plan beforehand.
There’s a major difference between investing and gambling.
The stock market is becoming ever-more democratized. This is a good thing.
But the leaders of this new era must exercise responsibility and investors must exercise caution.
“The future of investment is this fine line between forward-thinking drive and old-fashioned principles — and it underscores that nothing can help you create, grow and safeguard your wealth, like quality advice.”
Nigel Green is founder and CEO of deVere Group. One of the world's largest independent financial advisory organizations, de Vere does business in 100 countries and has more than $12 billion under advisement.
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