Demystifying Budgeting And Investing In The Stock Market

Grégory Guilmin, Ph.D, author of Bien débuter en bourse (Photo © Silversquare Luxembourg)

On March 26, Grégory Guilmin, author of Bien débuter en bourse, is hosting a free conference at Silversquare to educate people on financial literacy. He tells us more about his event, people’s misconceptions about investing and the reception of his book. 

Who is this conference for and what are some topics you will discuss?

The conference is open to everybody. My main motivation is to help people to demystify all the concepts around money, budgeting, investing and the stock market. During this evening, we will cover 2 main topics: (i) how to properly manage a budget and (ii) how to invest in the stock market. 

During the first part of the conference, we will explain the importance of following the expenses on a regular basis, how to determine a security cushion as well as the amount of money to invest each month. During the second part of the evening, we will explain the role of the stock markets, how to avoid the typical mistakes in investing and how to construct a diversified portfolio thanks to justETF. In the end, we will invest using the broker Trade Republic.

In 2022 you published your book “Bien débuter en Bourse” which has already sold more than 5000 copies. What is the main feedback you got on it? 

The first one is the fact that the book is very practical. People really like the different examples I gave, and the different print screens I put in the books such that they are able to understand and practice. The second major feedback I received was my complete transparency. I share my mistakes, what I’ve done with my money but also my entire portfolio and how it evolved from the beginning. Being transparent is the most important for me and my weekly newsletter also reflects that.

What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when they start their investing journey?

First of all, they select individual companies and decide to invest in them but they don’t take the time to read the financial statements of the company, to analyze the competitive landscape and how the company has evolved over the past years. Being an analyst requires skills, determination and time. Even if you do that, 90% of the analysts worldwide are not able to make correct predictions and are not able to beat the market.

The second major mistake is that people try to anticipate and predict the behaviour of the stock markets. It’s impossible to know the future in life, why would it be different in the stock market? We can’t predict the stock market. We have to be humble with that reality.

According to you, financial education is lacking in Luxembourg. Given Luxembourg’s position as a financial hub, this is rather ironic. How do you explain this discrepancy?

Money is taboo for two main reasons, the first one being that the State is too generous. If we are no longer able to work, we have unemployment benefits. If we are sick, we have benefits that help us. If you are a pensioner, you have contributed all your life to have a pension.

Given that the State gives a lot, this encourages us less to invest for retirement, earn more money every month and improve our knowledge of personal finances.

The second reason is related to how money ties into our socio-economic status. The more money we earn, the more value we have in the eyes of society. And we spend our time making classifications related to money. And here in Luxembourg, we rank people according to their car. We may then feel ashamed to discuss our financial situation and our parents don’t teach us to speak about money.

What are your next steps to bring financial education closer to the Luxembourg public?

My next project is the creation of a nonprofit organization. I would like to coordinate some “bénévoles” who have time to go to public and private schools, to share their knowledge with the kids. It would also be great to have a financial literacy area in the main media here in Luxembourg.

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