The beginner portfolio: 13 stocks for the new investor

The beginner portfolio: 13 stocks for the new investor

Illustration by Jamie Cullen For the millions of investors who got into the market last year , the past 19 months have been a wild ride.

The stock market rebounded over 94% from its March 2020 pandemic lows through mid-October, while novice investors rallied around so-called meme stocks like GameStop and AMC in 2021 in a frenzy that sent ripples through the rest of the market .

“The foundation [on] which this new era of investors is founded is built on uncertain times and probably one of the craziest moments in market history,” Douglas Boneparth, president of Bone Fide Wealth in New York City, coauthor of The Millennial Money Fix , and a fixture of so-called Financial Twitter (or FinTwit) , tells Fortune . “So I’m kind of cautious in that their first foray into investing is synonymous with ‘stocks only go up.'”

On the bright side, Boneparth notes, “it’s making investing cool and relevant and piquing interest in an area that’s normally boring.”

But for those who cut their teeth on fast-growing stocks, Matt Benkendorf, chief investment officer of asset manager Vontobel’s Quality Growth Boutique, suggests a bit of prudence: “Investors shouldn’t get into this with the mindset that it’s a FanDuel account and they’re betting on the game,” he says of investing. Benkendorf argues that “there is a general reason to be cautious” right now given the myriad headwinds facing investors as we head into next year—including lower GDP and earnings growth, potential tax increases, and supply-chain issues.

In fact, “investing is not even the place we typically start” when talking to newcomers, says Boneparth. “Robinhood and YOLO trading is much more exciting than, ‘Hey, can you tell me how much you’re spending each month?’ Or, ‘What can you consistently save each month? Do you have a cash reserve? Are you taking advantage of tax savings?'” But that’s precisely what he suggests young investors ask themselves before they begin stock picking.

But for those new investors who are ready to move beyond their initial stock bets and graduate into their first investing portfolio, experts have a few ideas of where you should start.

Once you understand your financial picture, figuring out how much risk you want to shoulder with your investments is an important next step. “If we’re talking younger investors, this is traditionally where you can afford the most risk,” notes Boneparth. That doesn’t necessarily mean going all in on AMC call options, however. Financial planners suggest such bets should be reserved only for the money you can afford to play with once you’ve built yourself a “strong asset base.”

Another thing new investors should keep in mind, especially in the coming year, suggests Saira Malik, head of global equities at Nuveen: The ever-accommodating Federal Reserve likely won’t be so giving moving forward. The Fed is shifting into a more contractionary stance with signals it may begin tapering its asset purchases before year’s end , while the rock-bottom interest rates that have been a boon for growth and tech stocks, in particular, may start rising as soon as next year . “We are past the peak in earnings growth, and…that support we’ve had for earnings, which is expansionary policy, is not there anymore,” says Malik.

For beginner investors aiming to buy individual stocks, Benkendorf suggests, “Buy things you know, buy things you identify with, buy great growth businesses.” For the most part, money managers emphasize having a balanced portfolio, mixing growth stocks with more dependable dividend payers and even some international exposure.

But what could a beginner portfolio actually look like? Fortune asked finance experts and portfolio managers which stocks they like that could work together nicely for a new investor. Steady growers

Especially when you’re starting out on your investing journey, growth stocks are your friend.

“We’re finding more interesting, exceptional growth companies today across a broader range of industries than at any point in the recent past,” Gary Robinson, a portfolio manager at asset manager Baillie Gifford’s U.S. Equity Growth Fund, tells Fortune . But while the term “growth stocks” may conjure up ideas of high-flying (and perhaps more risky) names, money managers highlight plenty of stocks that can continue posting strong—and steady—growth.

If there was a “no-brainer” stock pick for any beginner portfolio, it would be Amazon (AMZN, $3,247) , suggests Benkendorf. The company’s virtues for investors are many, from its quintessential e-commerce business to its powerhouse web services unit. It’s “a business that continues to get better as it gets bigger,” he believes. But while new investors may “sit there and think, ‘Well, I […]

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