I am a young graduate who is 3-4 years into his job, and has just started to make enough savings from my job that I am debt free now, and hence having to look into stock market trading/investing so that my wealth doesn't lose its value over time. So I have been doing some reading and watching personal finance videos over the last 3-4 months. But then, I have this question lingering at the back of my mind - why is society made in such a way that in order to "succeed", you need to invest your money?
The thing is, I am not at all interested intrinsically in finance. But now, not only do you have to read up on finance strategies apart from your normal day job and hobbies and what not, you also need to learn the nitty gritties of the mechanism of HOW exactly to invest money. Like:
- you need to make a demat account
- you need to make a brokerage account
- you need to research about brokerage firms, like Robinhood vs Interactive Brokers - each have their long list of pros and cons
- you need to research on different laws of different countries - whether your country has any capital gains tax, and if yes, how much
- market orders vs limit orders, long vs short, options vs stocks
- etc etc
Some brokerages even charge you fees if you don't make enough trades every month or don't keep enough money in your account (for example, Interactive Brokers charges a "commission" of US$ 10 every month if you haven't done enough trades - I am yet to figure out how many trades is enough for them - or don't have a minimum of US$ 100,000 in your account).
The point is, you need to spend time and energy to study about all this when you aren't even interested in this stuff. I just don't like this system where you need to spend so much effort, and possibly engage in gambling (because most people do not know about value investing, they will pick stocks based on tips from friends or online influencers), to maintain the value of your money. For those who want to take risk and make more money, sure, go ahead. But the system itself, in my opinion, is awful for people who don't want to have anything to do with finance and just want to not lose the value of their money.
It's like somebody tells you, you have to dance - the better you dance, the more your money will grow; and if you don't dance, your money will keep losing its value. What does your job have anything to do with dancing? Nothing. Same with finance for me. My job or life or things I am interested in don't have anything to do with finance. You can say, don't do it if you don't want to. But that's the thing - if I don't do investing, the value of my money decreases over time due to inflation. So, I have no choice but to engage in this stuff, willingly or unwillingly, which is why our governments have mandated our employers to take 5-10% of our salary every month and put them in mutual funds, in case we don't invest more from our side, so that we don't risk becoming burdens on society later in life when we're older and not contributing to society with our services anymore.
Is this fair? Why is the system designed in such a way where everybody HAS to engage in finance and investing? I don't think there's any other thing that everyone HAS to do. The closest I can think of is having computer programming skills - engineers, biologists, physicists, etc need some programming skills, but its still not everybody (writers, builders, lawyers, etc don't need any programming knowledge to succeed in life).
Cherry on top, no school even teaches this stuff! If personal finance was going to be so important and ubiquitous in all of our lives, why did we not have classes in high school about this stuff? We had plenty of classes on things most of us never use in our day-to-day lives.