Financial Literacy Insights: Invest In Your Future

Financial Literacy Month is only the beginning in learning to develop, and utilize tools that can help you and your family become more financially successful. Our colleagues shared their years of financial knowledge and insight in hopes of providing key takeaways for approaching the world of finance.

To conclude this series, we spoke to Joel Kulina (SVP, Equity Trading) about the importance of investing and how to “keep it simple”. He also shared how he and his wife started investment accounts for their kids and plan to teach them how to invest. Visit our Financial Literacy page for resources parents and teachers can use when talking to children and young adults about finance.

As someone who has been working in financial services for a while, why do you think it’s important to be financially literate? How have you benefitted from being in this industry?

I’ve found that one of the biggest benefits I’ve had by being in this industry, in terms of investing, is that it’s critical to always remain invested. Contributing as much as possible to 401(k) is critical – the earlier the better (it’ll pay off). Market will always have roller coaster moves, but history is on your side in terms of investing. Being financially literate is critical for all aspects of life – whether it’s saving for travel or buying a home; staying within your means is important if you don’t want to be on the wrong side of financial planning.

When did you start to learn about the importance of finance?

I started to learn about the importance of finance in college. I was fortunate enough not to be saddled with student debt, but for everything else I was on my own. I always saved a healthy percentage of my summer earnings so that I had spending funds during the school year. I invested a bit, but not enough. I’d highly recommend anyone under the age of 20 to open a trading account and invest. Stick with what you know – AAPL MSFT GOOGL, etc. versus chasing WallStreetBets (where a lot of retail $$ get burned chasing the dream way too late).

What should the next generation be learning in regard to finance and value of money? Are you planning on teaching this to your own children?

I am 100% planning on teaching investing to my children. All three have investment accounts where we funnel any/all gifts toward. When they are older, hopefully I can pass some things on to them. Investing isn’t rocket science. Keep it simple. If you bought AAPL because you thought iPod was a great product, then you did extremely well. Same goes for liking online services such as Etsy, Wayfair or Home Depot and Costco, etc.

What is your best piece of advice in regard to saving/investing/knowledge that you’ve either given or received?

As mentioned above, big believer in keeping it simple. Don’t chase the hype or just keep 10-20% of portfolio in higher risk investments. Big tech are household names and cash cows. We’ve all read about increasing cyber-attacks and the likelihood this will only worsen means you probably should have some exposure to Cyber Security stocks. Covid has changed the world we live in, always try to identify secular shifts and get on board. Don’t buy stocks or theme solely based on valuations. In a world of easy money, cheap stocks have been cheap for a reason.

What is something you found challenging when learning the benefits of financial literacy and how did you overcome it?

Biggest challenge is to stay disciplined. Don’t double down on losers if your original thesis has changed. Have stop losses in place for higher beta investments if possible.


Joel  helped us conclude Financial Literacy Month with an encouraging message to invest in your future as well as that of your children. Contributing to your 401(k) and opening a trading or investing account are places to begin making investments that can benefit you in the long run. Opening investing accounts for your children from a young age may be another beneficial way to save for expenses like college. Joel’s advice when starting to invest is to “keep it simple” and “stay disciplined”. As April comes to an end, we hope you have found practical tips and insights you can use for the years to come and we encourage you to continue educating yourself on the importance of finance.


Joel Kulina
SVP, Equity Trading