Investing in stocks

Stock investing
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               Have you wondered what investing in the stock market involves?  Do you know what a stock is?  Would you like to buy stocks even if you are apprehensive about it? How to invest in stocks? If you are curious about what goes into the process of investing your money in stocks, but find yourself needing more information before you can start, you have come to the right place. In this article we’ll take a look at what stocks are, how the stock market works, and what some of your available options are for investing in stocks through the stock market.  This is the place to be if you want to learn about investing in stocks!    

 

 

Many business owners sell a portion of their company, called a stock, to interested members of the public, giving them some ownership stake in the company.  They in return receive the money needed to fund some of the business’s operations.  The companies that sell shares of their stocks are called publicly traded companies.  Investing in stocks carries greater risk than other forms of investment, for example, bonds.  Investing in stocks, however, carries longer-term investment rewards as they offer equity stake in the business.  If you have done your homework, you will be prepared to buy stocks in no time!   

Before you buy stocks, there are two types to be aware of: common stocks and preferred stocks.  Common stocks allow stockholders to join a group of other stockholders who help elect the company’s Board of Directors members.  The Board of Directors decides how the company’s profits are distributed back to stockholders.  Preferred stockholders are guaranteed a fixed portion of the business’ profits and get preferential treatment over common stockholders in receiving a return on their investments.

 

Stocks are good for businesses because they allow management to gain some extra income that it might not otherwise have to ensure the business is running smoothly.  Investing in stocks allows individuals interested in starting a new business to gain the necessary funds needed to cover the start-up costs.  This gives new owners the chance to get the business running smoothly.  They also allow established business owners to generate the necessary funds to grow the business.  There is a lot of incentive for business owners to sell shares in their company’s equity through the stock market. Everybody can win when you buy stocks! 

 

Investing in stocks is good for investors in the public because of the potential for gaining income without being directly involved in a business’ day-to-day operations.  Buying stocks provide investors with a potential opportunity to meet their financial goals sooner than might seem possible.  Investors gain income by a return on investment, which is paid in dividends from the company’s profits, from increases in values of the stocks, and growth in the company’s overall financial worth.  Who wouldn’t want an opportunity to earn some extra money without putting much work into a business? 

 

Stocks are also good for the health of the economy because they give businesses owners the chance to continue their operations, which helps them delay or get out of having to file for bankruptcy.  This also gives business owners the chance to continue to grow the company’s wealth, which means they can continue their market operations and provide more jobs for people who need them. 

 

The only way for a business to be in a position to increase their number of available jobs is to continue generating profits.  Business owners need sources of income to do so.  The stock market can supply business owners with the income they need to make jobs available.  Because unemployment rate is an important marker of the economy’s health, we can say that keeping a business running for as long as possible means that the economy will be healthier in the long run. Perhaps your decision to invest in stocks can help open a job opportunity for somebody in need.

 

What You Should Know Before You Invest in Stocks

There are some important considerations to be mindful of before deciding to invest your hard earned money in the stock market.  First, you need an interest in studying the economy and learning the ways in which the market fluctuates.  If you are not passionate about learning what contributes to the economy’s growth and decline, you will not be successful in growing your wealth in this way. 

       

        

The stocks that you’d buy, sell, and trade are made available to you on what are called exchanges.  You may have heard of the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq.  Exchanges are what makes stocks available to buyers and sellers and are bought, sold, or traded through a certified stock broker. The health of stocks is reported through indexes, which are a cluster of stocks held in index funds such as the S & P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.  Later in this article you’ll read a little about index funds. 

 

You may have heard terms relating to the stock market, such as the bear market or the bull market.  A bull market indicates a growing stock market and increased values of stocks, while a bear market is a trend in the opposite direction.   Knowing this information about the state of the stock market can help you decide whether you should buy, sell or trade any stocks.  Your stock broker will help you make the best decision for your portfolio, with respect to your financial goals. 

 

If investing in the stock market piques your interest, then you could find this to a rewarding and successful means of increasing your wealth, if you are careful.  The next important consideration here is to understand what your financial goals are and the best process you can take to get you there.  Do you want to travel to Tahiti within the next few years? Do you want to buy a house in the near future?  Do you want to live comfortably after you retire retirement? 

 

These are all common goals that require you to save or invest your money so that you have the means to meet them in your desired timeframe.  Investing in the stock market can help you reach your goals faster.  

 

You also need to understand the various ways you can invest in the stock market (which you will find later in this article).  Before you invest, however, the important consideration here is that you have a stock broker that you feel you can trust to handle your money in the stock market and to make the best decisions about how to handle the stocks you own.  You should feel confident that your stock broker knows what he or she is doing, and that he or she will make your financial concerns their number one priority when deciding how to handle your stocks. 

 

Stock brokers should have the appropriate background and training to prepare them for this work and should hold an accredited, current license.  Stock brokers handle of the selling, buying, and trading of stocks after consulting with you throughout the process.  Make sure you have a good stock broker that can hold your complete confidence.  It is also important that you have a good personal and professional relationship with your stock broker, as this will help you decide whether the relationship will be grounded in trust. 

 

Basics of Investing in Stocks

Without further ado, let’s look at the step-by-step process for investing your money in the stock process.  First, you need to decide how much involvement you want to have in the process.  If you are new to the process you may want to hire a financial advisor to help you handle your investment in the stock market.  You still need to do some research to identify which investment firms you feel most comfortable working with.  If you have enough of an interest in the workings of the economy and want to handle all of your investments with a broker directly, you can make that decision as well.  

Next, you need to have an idea of the options in the stock market.  First, let’s look at some of the different types of stocks available on the market. Then we’ll discuss the different investment options for engaging with the stock market.    

 

We discussed briefly above common stocks and preferred stocks.  When spoken of generally, the term stock typically refers to common stock.  The income earned from common stocks is one of the highest in all categories of stocks, but it also carries higher risk because common stock shareholders are one of the last groups to receive a return on an investment if a company files a claim for bankruptcy. 

 

Common stocks would be of interest to you if you are okay with a good deal of risk, but want to see your return on investment potentially grow as the value of the stock grows alongside the business’ profits. 

 

Preferred stocks carry less risk for your return on investment because they offer a guaranteed fixed amount of the return on your investment.  They do not, however, carry the long-term benefits of common stocks because the amount of money earned in your return on investment will not change, even if the company experiences higher than expected growth. 

 

The upside of this type of stock is that preferred stock holders are one of the first to receive their fixed-amount income ahead of common stock shareholders.  This option is good for you if you value an investment that guarantees a fixed amount of money in your pocket.  A preferred stock may also be converted into a specified number of common stocks at a fixed time, making it what is known as a hybrid stock. 

 

In order to have the most success with your stock market investments, it is good to have a diversified portfolio of various investment types.  Because there are varying amounts of risk associated with the different investment types, you’ll probably need some level of comfort taking on risks.  You’ll never have 100% certainty in how fluctuations in the economy will impact your stock market investments, so you can expect to take on some risk if you decide to invest in the stock market. In fact, having a diversified portfolio will give you some protection against the risks you would take by investing in the stock market.

 

It is helpful when deciding on which companies to invest in to consider companies that offer products that will be in-demand for the long-term.  For example, companies in health care and education will always be in demand because the need for their services and products will always be there.  Technology companies also sell products that meet the growing demand for the latest state-of-the art gadgets.

 

Online retail stores are also on the fast track to beating out physical retail stores, so companies in these categories might be good options for investing in the stock market.  Think of the everyday products you need and have to buy repeatedly throughout the year and where you buy them, and that will help you decide on other companies that might make a good investment. 

 

One commonly suggested type of stock investment is through an index fund.  An index fund is a listing of large companies that hold publicly traded stocks.  Examples of index funds include the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which hold the stocks of some of the largest companies in the market.  You could risk losing some money through some of the stocks you invest in but also gain some money through others in an index fund.    

 

When you invest in an index fund you invest your money in an index such as one of the above.  The index fund tracks the values of all the stocks each company in the index.  This is a pretty inexpensive option, so if you don’t have a lot of money to invest in the stock market, this is probably a good option for you.  Index funds also afford you a diverse portfolio because there is the potential for earning a return on investment from multiple companies.  You should also expect high commission fees if you buy index funds through a broker.  This can also be expensive if you end up trading a lot of your stocks frequently. 

 

Index funds are part of a class of funds known as mutual funds.  Mutual funds work by collectively investing money from multiple investors into a diverse set of stocks on the market.  Because of this, mutual funds allow you to have a diversified portfolio, which should be a major goal of your investment plan.  You need to consider whether you want an actively managed fund or a passively managed fund.  Passively managed funds include index funds and don’t require much work to manage them because the index monitors the stocks of all the company it holds. Financial advisors, on the other hand, typically control actively managed funds, as the funds are pooled from multiple investors and invested collectively.  If you need advice in your investment strategy this may be the way to go. 

 

Another important type of investment option is called an exchange trade fund (ETF).  This is similar to a mutual fund but an ETF can be traded like a stock.  Be aware, however, that trading fees, as we discussed with index funds, can be expensive if you end up trading frequently.  Because they are similar to mutual funds, ETFs can contribute greatly to the diversity of your portfolio.  They are also less expensive than mutual funds.  However, they put your investment at a great risk if the economy’s health declines.  There are, therefore, great risks to your return on investment with ETFs. 

 

Preparation is the Key to Investing in Stocks

Investing in the stock market can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be an intimidating because you are placing your hard earned money, potentially a lot of it, in the face of potential risk.  Depending on the type of stock you choose to buy, or the way you choose to invest in the stock market, you could either end up with a greater amount of money than you put into the market, or you could end up with a lesser amount.  You should always do your homework before deciding whether to invest in the stock market and the process you will take to go about doing so. 

 

It is a good idea to spend a significant amount of time finding the right stock broker that understands your needs, preferences, and goals and also has proven experience in handling stocks effectively.  Stock brokers should have an appropriate credential that certifies them to do this important work.  It is a good idea to approach choosing your stock broker in the same way you would choose a bank in which to keep your money.  You wouldn’t choose a bank in whose ability to meet your needs you weren’t confident.  The same thinking should go with selecting your stock broker because you are also investing in his or her services. 

 

To locate further information on the basics of the stock market and how to invest in stocks.  Thank you for taking the time to read this guide on Investing in stocks.  Happy investing!

Also read>> How to start investing in stocks?


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