Q&A With Voleo Ambassador, Ariana Fariab


October 23, 2017

For us, the greatest thing about the Voleo Nasdaq Simulated Equity Trading Competition has been the students we’ve been able to meet. Their inspiring passion for investing runs deep, and it’s a pleasure to share their stories. Sadly, pups can’t yet join investment clubs. We’re working on it though.

Understanding money from an early age, this savvy student and Voleo Nasdaq ambassador is a big proponent of starting early when it comes to investing, even if you can only start with a small amount of money invested in the market. The most important thing is to just get started, because even that small initial amount could represent a significant return that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

Ariana Fariab is a student at the University of Redlands in southern California whose interest in investing was originally piqued in high school when a friend told her about Bitcoin and she purchased a couple for just $57 USD each. (Wow.) While still interested in cryptocurrency, today Ariana focuses her strategy on long term gains and sees investing as a natural part of planning for the future.

Keen to practice investing with a simulated $1 million portfolio, Ariana joined our competition to become more familiar with the stock market and experiment without taking on real risk.

Voleo: What is your experience with finance; is personal finance something you learned at an early age, or is it something you’re better understanding now in school?

Ariana Fariab: My parents taught me about savings from a young age by giving me a small weekly allowance and having me save a portion of it, as well as any money I received for birthdays and holidays. I eventually learned more about personal finance when I began selling things on eBay and Amazon and managing my own accounts. However, it wasn’t until college, when I started living on my own and really paying for things myself, that I came to understand the complete picture. I have found real-world experience to be the best teacher.

How did you become interested in investing?

Back in 2013 when I was in high school, a friend told me about Bitcoin. I was intrigued by the idea so I bought some out of sheer curiosity. At the time, the price of one Bitcoin was only $57, so I bought a couple and left them in an online wallet. Unfortunately, a year later the company that hosted the wallet went defunct and I lost the coins. I didn’t pay much attention to Bitcoin after that, but then 2017 comes around and I see in the news that this coin I had bought (and unfortunately lost) for only $57 four years ago was now worth in excess of $4,000. Seeing that really woke me up to the power of investing and I became hooked on learning about it. I started by investing in cryptocurrency, which served as a gateway for me to begin investing in the stock market as well.

Why did you decide to get involved in the Voleo Nasdaq trading competition?

I decided to get involved because I saw it as an excellent opportunity to better familiarize myself with the stock market, try different techniques, and practice investing larger amounts of capital than I would normally have available to me (since it’s simulated).

With investing, what do you typically focus on; is there a strategy that you follow?

So far, I have invested in cryptocurrency and a few biopharmaceutical companies. When investing in crypto, I focus on trends in the coins’ price history, recent news around cryptocurrency and government regulations, mentions in the media, and changes in technology. For now, I am employing a passive buy and hold strategy with the aim of gaining large returns in the long run.

What do you think the general sentiment is around the stock market amongst college-age students and amongst your friends?

People tend to think they need a large amount of capital in order to begin investing. While of course larger investments will yield greater returns, one can really begin investing with as little as a few hundred dollars.

For example, let’s say you’re currently a senior in college and during your freshman year you bought one share of Amazon stock on October 16, 2014, when the price was $293.83 per share. As of today, October 16, 2017, that small investment would have yielded you a gain of $714.61. While seven hundred or so dollars is no fortune, it’s almost two and a half times more money than you would have if you had left that $293.83 sitting in the bank for the past three years. It’s really just about getting your foot in the door and getting started.

Do you think investing is better when it’s social?

It definitely can be with the right people. As with any endeavor, collaborating with others allows a myriad of skills, ideas, and experiences to be utilized, which often leads to a better outcome. The critical component is finding a group of people who work well together and each bring something to the table.

Ariana at a conference in New Orleans and in Untersberg, Austria.

And some personal questions! What is your morning routine?

I wake up and check the stocks app on my iPhone to see how my investments are doing, then I check my email, look over my day in Google Calendar and add any last minute events or meetings, look over my task list for the day, and finally catch up on social media. I then get up and brush my teeth and get ready, then I’ll sit down and have a tall glass of water and a protein-rich breakfast (usually eggs, spinach, and whole grain toast) while I read my daily news email, then head to class or meetings.

What’s been the most surprising thing about college so far?

The amount of personal growth and development one undergoes over the course of these four years. I have gained so many invaluable experiences and developed so much since my first year; I have gone from being, more or less, a child to being absolutely ready to take on the world.

What have you loved most about college so far?

All the people I have met and the many opportunities and experiences being in college has afforded me.

How do you like to spend your free time?

I’m very social and always on the lookout for new experiences and adventures, so when I’m not working on one of my side projects, I’m going out with friends and finding exciting things and cool places for us to try. I am also just getting into autocross and racing (a sport I get from my dad).

What’s your favorite book and why?

I’m a big fan of the Transcendentalists (Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, etc.). One of my favorite pieces of literature is Emerson’s essay Self-Reliance, its message of striving for independence and individualism really resonates with me. Thoreau’s Walden; or, Life in the Woods is also a favorite of mine.

What is the best place that you’ve travelled to?

I fell in love with Berlin. It has a great start-up scene, I love the culture and feel of the city (a bit like a combination of New York and San Francisco), and the nightlife and music scenes there are among the best in the world. I could see myself living there for a little while at some point.

Where is the next place that you’d like to visit, and why?

Bangkok, Thailand. It seems very exotic, has a rich culture, great food, and beautiful sights, plus I’ve been told it gets pretty wild.

Thank you to Ariana for taking part in this feature, and good luck to her investment club!

Our Voleo Nasdaq competition ends December 8th! Interested in joining? It’s not too late! Simply download the Voleo SimuTrader app and form your investment club. Find more information here.