I sat with co-workers as recent trips to Europe became the topic of conversation. I remember the feeling of somehow not yet feeling that I had arrived, because I hadn't yet made that trip. Yearning the financial freedom that trips to Europe seem to offer, I could only gaze past the cityscape. I could not join in the discussion. After all, I had kids and a mortgage in Johns Creek. A trip like this was not in my immediate future.

Later that same week, water cooler talks about stocks, and family discussions about trust funds turned my mind into mush. I was embarrassed, as I think many of us are, to admit that I was lost amid stock market conversations. I'd stay away from commentary because being in finance, it's assumed that stocks and anything related to money would not only come natural to me, but I'd have mastered them by now.  Instead of lean in, I'd back away. Until I didn't.

Average interest in the Stock Market has increased

Truth is, with the advancement of technology in trading, the market has been more open to "normal" individuals than ever before. And post election, stock market headlines jump out of market and financial specific publications into mainstream media. Once a game for the rich, the average person's interest in the stock market has exploded.

This interest married with technology makes it possible for nearly anybody to own stock. It's because of this, the perfect time to boost your interest and education has approached us.

The stock market is making no sense to investors

If you are still sitting on the fence because you are confused by Trump and the stock market, you are not alone. Non investors  and investors alike are spinning their wheels. Confidence levels swayed by headlines and talk of big risks to come. Delays in financial promises amoung the rumors.

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In fact, Google Trump (especially after hitting the 100 days in office the week of April 28th), and you will find numerous articles both in support of and in contrast to a positive Trump effect on the stock market. In fact, I know many voters who voted solely with their portfolios and the Trump effect in mind. With cnbc.com stating that Trump's 100 day report card is "among the best for Republican presidents in the post-WWII era," and marketwatch.com explaining that the "Trump Bump" has less to do with Trump than it may seem -  attributing gains to a pre-election strong market, solid global growth, solid wage growth and inflation pick up - it can become a stinky onion to unravel.

Education is key

Unfortunately, for even those that want to invest in stocks, the stock market is not the most easily understood of systems. And as such, we either make poor decisions or shy away from the very vehicle that can help us find that financial freedom.  Therefore, education is key.

It's important in life and in the stock market to not act too quickly on our emotions. Still some of our most trusted advisors and analyst, do just that. But life and stocks; both are long term games that ignore. the sweeping day to day emotions. In order to think this way,  we have to be educated. We have to know what we are looking at and how we will play the game. Whether you begin your stock market journey with the traditional brokers, or through online robo advisors like Betterment, again, we have to be educated. But where does one start?

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 The Intelligent Investor

After searching through several reviews from top financial publications, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham continued to top the charts.

 The greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham, taught and inspired people worldwide. Graham's philosophy of "value investing" -- which shields investors from substantial error and teaches them to develop long-term strategies -- has made The Intelligent Investor the stock market bible ever since its original publication in 1949.

Over the years, market developments have proven the wisdom of Graham's strategies. While preserving the integrity of Graham's original text, this revised edition includes updated commentary by noted financial journalist Jason Zweig, whose perspective incorporates the realities of today's market, draws parallels between Graham's examples and today's financial headlines, and gives readers a more thorough understanding of how to apply Graham's principles.

Vital and indispensable, this Harper Business Essentials edition of The Intelligent Investor is the most important book you will ever read on how to reach your financial goals.

I'll be going through this book online, if you'd like to join me, please pick up a copy here and I look forward to discussing the book with you in the coming weeks.