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Aya Jaff On Money And Her Stock Market Fascination

Aya Jaff, the coding superstar wrote the book 'MONEYMAKERS' . Here she talks about her passion for investing and how she gained independence through the stock market

The very first thing that stands out about the book is the witty, casual cover.

Yes, I deliberately wanted to address young people and provide them with all the basic information. What concerns this target group is less the question of how they close their pension gap. It’s more about curiosity, a certain fascination for the stock market or a daunting aversion triggered by pop culture. I had the same experience. I watched ‘The Wolf of Wallstreet’ and wondered: Is this how it is? Is it really so bad, is Jordan Belfort actually a realistic representative of this industry? I started to study the subject, borrowed books, including biographies of famous people. And each time I noticed: They are all invested in companies, buying and selling shares and have built up a considerable fortune. And there are also many people who I was not aware of. Take Kylie Jenner, for example. Who would have thought that she trades actively and can even influence stock prices?

Between these two extremes – fascination and aversion, good and evil – there’s probably the truth. Or what is your conclusion?

In my book you can find both. In the beginning, I was highly critical of capitalism. And even today I completely agree with Bernie Sanders, who says that billionaires should not exist. Nobody needs so much money. If we now look at the whole thing from a macroeconomic perspective, large sums of money make sense again. The companies we all know have just grown to a relevant size through Wall Street. This was only possible because many people had financed it with shares. I think that’s great. For me, Wall Street is not black or white, not good or bad, just as money per se is not. As an individual investor you don’t have the power to turn the whole capitalist system upside down, but as an investor you do have the choice of which company you invest in.

“Women don’t want to make a ‘quick buck’, but rather invest in morally acceptable values”

It is said that women in particular are more likely to engage in motif investing and, for example, are increasingly turning to sustainable stocks. Is that your experience as well?

Yes, I see that in women in my immediate environment. They do not want to make a ‘quick buck’, but rather invest in morally acceptable values. The younger generation is increasingly investing in green stocks – and they are certainly profit-driven. They assume that these values will inevitably grow.

When did you start to deal with the topic of finances?

When I was 15 and started coding a stock market game. That way I slipped into both worlds at the same time.

Which is certainly not a disadvantage. I imagine that you understand how crypto-currencies work, for example.

Yes, I know my way around, I can participate in discussions about block chain technology and understand many business models based on it. It is fun to deal with these topics. Nevertheless, I did not get into Bitcoin, because I still don’t know what exactly influences the price. It’s very difficult to assess, so I don’t go into it. With other technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, it is different. These are the values in which I invest, as well as in renewable energies and products that I use every day. This is a good tip for investors in general: Only invest in securities that you understand.

“This is a good tip for investors in general: Only invest in securities that you understand”

There was more trade during Corona than ever. What was it like for you?

I find it a little distasteful to make money off the crisis. You must never forget, there are a lot of people who cannot make ends meet. And the crisis has worsen this. So I didn’t go on a big stock shopping spree, but rather bought a few shares that I had in my portfolio anyway. Business as usual. I am more interested in a long-term investment. Don’t jump on every train hysterically, but trust that the next one will come. Act with more knowledge and safety.

What attracts you to this subject?

In the beginning, I was fascinated by the concentration of power that comes with big money. This idea of being able to buy baseball teams or yachts, bribe politicians, become a lobbyist. But of course this happens very rarely. What I find lastingly exciting about securities is their independence. For example, it helped me to start my own business or to pay for my driver’s license. And I think it’s absolutely crazy that you let the money work for you, earn it in your sleep so to speak, not having to do anything for it. You also automatically get a different relationship with money. One that is not so earmarked or problematic. It wasn’t always like this for me. Money has always been an issue in my family. We weren’t poor, but things were bought on sales, we carefully thought-through about spending. So this fun component is completely new for me.

“Fear is a very bad advisor on the stock market”

There are some rules about stocks. We’ve already talked about one: Only buy what you understand. Another is not to fall in love with a stock. Has that ever happened to you?

Well, I haven’t had a love-hate relationship with a stock yet (laughs). But there are stocks I’ve held for a long time. A streaming service, for example. I like this stock, but I have no emotional ties and would have no problem selling it in time.

What has changed for you since you wrote that book?

Many people come up to me and ask about investment strategies. Or they bought a stock and at the first dent they panic and send me messages asking if they shouldn’t sell immediately. I then always say: Don’t sell, hold and invest for the long term. Fear is a very bad advisor on the stock market. Apart from that, I’m glad that I’m finally no longer only standing for the topic of coding in public, but that with the finances a new facet has been added. What makes me really happy, is that young girls write to me on Instagram and say that they liked the book and have read it in two days and have gained interest in the topic.

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