Safal Niveshak (SN): Could you tell us a little about your background, and also about your wonderful blog Old School Value?
Jae Jun (JJ): I believe my path to investing is very similar to most people. I met a life insurance salesman who convinced me that I needed life insurance that also acted as an “investment” account. A 2-in-1 deal which I blindly agreed to without doing any homework.
The reason for my poor decision was because I saw friends and colleagues making money in stocks and I wanted to do the same. I also believed that anyone in the financial industry knew a lot more than I ever would. After I started Old School Value, I realized it was the opposite. Most people in the finance industry don’t know a thing about finance.
After several months, I would check my shiny new “investment” account, but things didn’t look right. The market was up 10%, but my account was doing nothing and a lot of the insurance premium were deducted as fees. After some digging around, the veil fell from my eyes and I saw the sucker I was. I immediately cancelled the life insurance, forfeited all the money and locked in my first 100% investment loss.
I figured that, if I wanted to lose money, I could do it myself and at least have some fun doing it. That’s when I started digging into articles, magazines and books and documented my learning through Old School Value.
I thoroughly enjoy sharing and educating people and the blog is an outlet for me so that I don’t have to bore my wife or friends to death about balance sheet analysis and how to value stocks.
Coming from a telecommunications engineering background, I grew up with tunnel vision. I never considered the possibility that I would enjoy business or finance. So my entire schooling years was dedicated to math, physics and other engineering courses. I never took a course in accounting, business or economics. Investing and starting Old School Value really opened my eyes to a new world.
SN: What got you interested in investing, and how you’ve evolved over time as an investor?
JJ: My dad is a trader and I witnessed the emotional highs and lows he experienced from making and losing a huge amount of money. At an early age, I concluded that investing in the stock market was equivalent to gambling.
After having lost everything that I put into the life insurance investment account, the initial anger was a huge motivator for me to put aside my biases about the stock market and to really learn how it worked.
My wife (girlfriend at the time) had a book called “The Intelligent Investor” which was recommended to her because she too wanted to become a life insurance saleswoman.
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