Annual Review 2020

Annual Review 2020: Investing For The Common Folk



Don’t Listen To Me, But Please, Hear Me Out: # 27

Shaheeda Abdul Kader, Jan 6 2021

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” 

Albert Einstein

Looking Back to Look Forward

Like many people, in March 2020, I too started feeling concerned about so many of us losing our jobs and not having enough saved to cover basic needs like rent & food for even a month or two. 

And like many wonderful UAE residents, I too did my best to support with monetary donations to various causes. For example, I supported government and citizen led food drives, depositing money in people’s bank accounts using the local ATM’s, ordering food from restaurants that were struggling to survive and then having this food delivered to those most in need, etc. I love the community spirit of the UAE residents during this time.

However, they say give a gal fish and she will eat for one day; teach a gal to fish and she’ll eat every day. 

So, partly to quell my anxiety but mostly to help the average hardworking person learn how to invest, I started blogging about investing. If you’re new to investing or want a refresher, here is how you can catch up in.

14 Lessons Or 2 Weeks To Learn How To Invest In The Stock Market

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Lesson 1: Why Should You Invest In The Stock Market?  

Well, if we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s the importance of saving for uncertainties. 

The following 2 charts illustrate this better than any number of words I could use. Hat tip to twitter user @SamRo .

Top 1% invests 61% in the Market, Only 11% in Real Estate and has 12% in Cash

The top 1% holds 61% of their wealth in Equities, only 11% in Real Estate, and a healthy 12% in cash.

Bottom 50% Invests Only 4% in Equity, 55% in real Estate and Only 6% in Cash.

Bottom 50% hold a whopping 55% in Real Estate, only 6% cash and a paltry 4% in Equity. 

So, the top 1% have liquid assets that have tremendous compounding effect to multiply their wealth whereas the bottom 50% hold real estate which is terribly illiquid and burdened with huge maintenance costs.  

I explain more in the blog and it works for all times, not just during a pandemic: INVESTING IN THE TIME OF COVID19

Lesson 2: Budgeting & How To Save 

Before you can start investing, you must learn to Budget and Save. Yes, you want that fancy car, fancy address or clothes, bags and shoes for that extra Instagram shoot. Certainly, have fun but remember less is more. 

Here’s how I saved 32% of my income in my mid-twenties AFTER taxes. 

Lesson 3: Time & Compounding

Now that you’re disciplined about budgeting and saving, learn the fundamentals of investing. 

  • Time In The Market 
  • Dollar Cost Averaging (Buy Low, Sell High)

Read this simple blog: “TIME, ALL I HAVE IS TIME”, to understand better.

Lesson 4: Diversification

Thanks to Tesla and Bitcoin, Diversification has become a dirty word and not in the naughty way ? .

If you’re new to investing in the stock market, index funds (naturally diversified) funds are a good way to start until you get the hang of things. In this blog, I show you WHY INDEX FUNDS ARE GOOD FOR NEW INVESTORS.

Lesson 5: Understanding Financial Reports

Once you get the hang of investing, you may want to ride the wave with a few individual stocks. 

But how do you know which to pick?  You must learn to read the financial statements & mgmt reports. Don’t worry, I promise, I made it easy to follow and I’ve also posted some YouTube videos that may help you.

Lesson 6: How to Read a Stock Table?

Now that you know all about financial statements, how do you quickly assess a stock’s performance?  

Can we do that looking at the stock table or chart from yahoo finance, or other stock quote websites?  

Lesson 7: How To Compare Stocks?

Now that you know all about financial statements, how do you compare stocks so you can pick the best as per your analysis? 

I compared sports stocks like Nike, Lululemon, FitBit, Adidas etc., in this blog. Aside, I suggested that Lululemon had the best upside potential. Since I wrote this blog on June 23, 2020, Lululemon shares have gained 22% as of Jan 6 2021. Not bad for 6 months, eh?

Lesson 8: 10 Questions To Ask Your Broker

You feel confident and ready to invest but which broker should you choose? What questions should you ask your broker? 

In this blog I talk about 10 questions that you must ask your broker or platform and why. You must be thorough in asking about all the fees plain as well as hidden.

Lesson 9: How to compare brokerage firms?  

I’ve compared 9 brokerage platforms in this blog so you can choose one that best meets your needs. Unfortunately some of the best brokerage firms do have restrictions for certain nationalities. I have tried to address these concerns as well.

Lesson 10: Why You Shouldn’t Panic During Volatility

As you start investing you will definitely see the impact of market volatility. It maybe tempting for you to cash out or sell everything in a panic when your portfolio is down.  

In this blog, I use Amazon and Zoom stocks to illustrate why holding for the long term is better than frequent trading. 

Lesson 11: Retirement Calculator

As you plan your investments and retirement, I built this nifty calculator so you can figure out how much you need to invest every year to get your goal amount for retirement.

I really like this tool because you can decide how much you want to spend every year in retirement, when you want to retire, how much you expect in returns every year from your investments etc., and see what the calculator tells you. You can change many levers to get your ideal retirement plan.

Check it out. It’s fun. 

Lesson 12: Fixed Income or Bonds

As you plan for retirement and as you get older your financial advisor may suggest you invest in some Bonds.

In this blog, I give you an overview of Bonds ( buying Government or Corporate Debt) so that you get a fixed amount in interest every year. I also cover Bond funds here

Lesson 13: How To Invest In Different Sectors or Industries

If you want to learn how to analyze different sectors or industries, I illustrate the same using Snowflake’s ($SNOW) phenomenal IPO. I looked at cloud computing sector stocks. 

Lesson 14: How To Read Pre-IPO Registration Statements (S1)

if you’ve been excited about recent mind blowing IPO’s, then I’ve read Airbnb’s S1 statements (all 200+ pages) and wrote about it. I expected it to be a $100 B company and it already is. ? 

Although the value investor in me hesitates to buy right now, I am pretty sure I’ll buy it in the future.

Final Thoughts

“… we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

Donald Rumsfeld, Former Secretary of Defense, USA

The only way to mitigate risk is to learn, gather as much information as you can. Then use and interpret the information wisely. Knowledge, indeed is power.

Whether you take two weeks or fourteen weeks, the promise to make yourself is that you will learn about the market. Don’t rely on your banker, broker or financial advisor alone to tell you what to do with your hard earned money.

Learn enough that you can ask intelligent questions.

If you can spend 10-15 minutes on a stock or fund before you invest so that you can rest assured that you did your due diligence, wouldn’t that be great? Better yet, it could be very hard for any one to fool you or lure you into a bad investment.

Thank you so much for supporting me in 2020 dear readers. 

In 2021, I hope to share with you my thoughts on Cybersecurity Stocks, Gaming Stocks, and Crypto. Please do let me know what you would like me to write or investigate.

Happy Happy New Year!

I usually blog about investing in the stock market. If you would like help on how to budget, save or invest more, please feel free to reach me, on Twitter @saq3 or LinkedIn @Shaheeda Abdul Kader, or leave a message at I’d be happy to offer you my services. Please do check my other blogs here.


I am NOT a certified broker or financial advisor. Please DO NOT make investment decisions based solely on my blogs. My intention is to show you how to research stocks or funds for yourself so you can feel empowered and knowledgeable to do your own investigations and invest with confidence. It is best to consult with your broker or advisor if you have questions. You can also reach me and I’ll do my best to help you with your queries.

Shaheeda Abdul Kader

After 25 years of working for corporations, being an entrepreneur and managing investments for my family, I now want to help others find their financial freedom