If you’re interested in investing money, you probably wish you had the success of Gordon Gekko, the fictional, super-savvy financial guru who appeared in the 1987 Oscar-winning movie “Wall Street.” Well, Gordon is making his return to pop culture this week in the new release, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Although the closest you might come to living the life of a Wall Street high roller is super-sizing your popcorn and soda while you watch Michael Douglas (Gekko) and Shia LeBeouf (Jake Moore) on the big screen, you can still take some tips away from the movie’s leading man.
Following Gordon Gekko’s “greed is good” mantra closely won’t get you riches, it’ll get you jail time. But taking a few lessons from this fictional character could help develop some successful (and legal) financial habits. Here are some Gordon Gekko-approved ways to maximize your revenue:
Research, Research, Research
Earning money isn’t purely based on luck. It takes some hard work to make some serious bank.
Gordon Gekko didn’t become a major player on Wall Street by absentmindedly throwing his money around the market. He finds information on potential purchases and sales by any means necessary, even engaging in insider trading, an offense that sent him to prison for eight years. No, you shouldn’t do anything illegal in your search for the best investments and bank accounts. But you should do everything in your (legal) power to make sure your financial decisions are the best possible and will provide optimal return.
MyBankTracker.com’s Advice: The Internet makes doing this kind of research a lot easier than it would have been back in the 1980s, the original heyday of Gordon Gekko. If you’re planning on opening an account to hold your money for day-to-day expenses and bill payments, you can scan the best standard checking accounts. If you want a little something more with your account (as Gordon Gekko definitely would), take a look at interest checking rates or CD rates. If you’re looking to put your money to use long-term, be sure to do your homework on any stocks you might purchase. You can make this easier by enrolling in an online brokerage service such as E*TRADE, which offers breakdowns and descriptions of each company’s performance. An investment calculator, such as Plantly, could help you lay out a wise bonds-based investment plan.
When it Comes to Money, Trust Few
You don’t need to be as cutthroat as a top Wall Street trader, but you do need to protect your assets.
Gordon Gekko might have been a bit extreme when he said, “If you need a friend, get a dog.” But he was on the right track, generally speaking. When dealing with your finances, it’s important to keep your personal information to yourself and only yourself. Fraud of all different kinds exists, and it’s easy to have your information compromised if you aren’t careful.
MyBankTracker.com’s Advice: It’s easy to take fraud-prevention steps such as watching which websites you use to avoiding swiping your card at hotels to always choosing “credit” at the gas pump to avoiding questionable car donation services. Even if you constantly monitor your accounts for fraudulent charges, make sure your passwords are secure and don’t swipe your card in strange places, you still might not be safe. Co-signing a loan makes you responsible for its repayment, so make sure you have absolute trust in whomever you co-sign with. You might be co-signing a loan for your brother, child, best friend or even parent, but that doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. You might hurt their feelings a bit, but since when did Gordon Gekko care about that?
‘Bet on Sure Things’
Aim unrealistically high, you might miss big. But study hard and set reasonable goals, you’ll probably earn a decent return.
One of Gordon Gekko’s most famous quotes sums up his attitude toward investing: “I don’t throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things…Every battle is won before it is ever fought.”
MyBankTracker.com’s Advice: His quote is as true on Wall Street as it is in your portfolio, no matter how small or large your pool of assets. You can make sure your bets are placed correctly by doing as much homework as possible and by sticking to safe investments and accounts that won’t bring “made-for-Hollywood” excitement but will bring solid and safe returns.
- U.S. Savings Bonds are low-risk, government-backed savings products that appreciate slowly and steadily but come with a few restrictions on how much you can purchase in a given period of time.
- CDs are accounts issued through standard banks that appreciate more quickly than savings products and checking accounts but include specific limits on when you can withdraw money penalty-free.
- Index Funds offer an important luxury: diversification. Putting money into index funds is a safe investment because your money is spread to different sectors of the market.