I began investing in 1999 when I was 26 years old and worked for a temporary agency.
During that time I often listened to a financial radio program hosted by Bruce Williams who consistently recommended opening a new form of IRA called a Roth IRA because of its tax free benefits. I decided to open an account.
The maximum annual contribution in 1999 was $2000.00. I saved and readied the maximum amount for investing with a nearby broker. The process was very exciting: planning, selecting a broker, calling, making an appointment, and leaving work to go to the appointment. A moment in time on a cool autumn afternoon remembered to this day.
I was looking forward to opening my Roth IRA. I believed it was a wise decision because I was starting at an early age which would give the investment many years to grow. Surprisingly, after being seated and speaking with the broker, I quickly grew uncomfortable towards the idea of having someone else involved with my investments plus paying them a fee. The question bore down on me, “Why is a middleman necessary?” I was under the impression that in order to invest one must go through a broker.
Ironically, I was working temporarily at Fidelity Investments. Because of my apprehension during the appointment I began to consider other ways to open an IRA. Knowing little about investing basics, I relied upon my gut instinct, suspecting that Fidelity might possibly provide a more suitable service. This hope alleviated the acute unease that I felt and I told the broker I would forgo opening an account. Later, after a short amount of research, I confirmed that the correct decision had been made. I discovered that investing with Fidelity would enable me to deposit my money directly into my account and manage solely the decisions and transactions of the account.
Having direct control over my future investments, with no middleman, was the best decision for me. I believe my intuition served me well. Looking back, I recall the broker suggested that I start my new account with an investment in a small airline company. The recommended company shut down in 2012. It is understandable that this is the risk one takes when investing but I preferred facing the risk solely on my own.