8 Steps To Follow To Get Started With Stock Investing

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What does it take to get a stock investment program off the ground? For individuals, the prospect of putting at least some of their spare capital into an investment account can be both exciting and challenging. For most, the benefits far outweigh the downsides, and in a turbulent economy, it’s wise to build a secondary income stream to supplement regular wages from a nine-to-five job. Plus, corporate equity stocks, also called shares, carry a distinct advantage over many other asset classes.

Not only do shares represent actual ownership of companies for an individual’s portfolio, but their values can increase significantly as the economy improves and corporations grow over the long term. That’s particularly interesting for investors who aim to build up retirement and savings accounts by contributing modest amounts to trading accounts each month. What are the steps for initiating a stock acquisition program, even if you’re on a limited budget?

Besides selecting a specific kind of company you wish to invest in, it’s essential to arrange personal finances first. That’s the smartest approach for freeing up as much trading capital as possible. Other components of a savvy start-up plan include selecting a reputable online brokerage firm, learning about fundamental analysis, creating a demo account to practice risk-free trading, deciding on a money management strategy, acquiring knowledge about using technical indicators, and catching up on market news. Here’s more about each step for developing a well-balanced stock portfolio.

1. Choose a Stock Category

While it’s not necessary to specialize from day one, most traders prefer to operate within one of several categories. Before you decide on a stock trading forum, you need to decide on a category. Popular choices include blue chips, small caps, penny shares, dividend aristocrats, and others. There’s no shortage of variety, and beginners can spend time checking out the many types of assets available to them even when limiting themselves to equity offerings.

2. Get Personal Finances in Shape

Of course, it makes good sense to maximize one’s ability to take part in buying and selling. It’s not necessary to have a huge bankroll to do so, but taking care of personal finances as a first step is a beneficial way to begin. The goal is to free up as much disposable income as possible and place the excess into a brokerage account. Never invest with money you can’t afford to lose. What’s the most prudent way to minimize monthly expenses? 

For many working adults, the most advantageous move is to take out a personal loan and use the proceeds to pay off outstanding liabilities like credit card debt, auto loans, and assorted high-interest obligations. The beauty of using this type of loan to strengthen your finances is that it’s entirely possible to combine multiple debts into a single monthly payment that comes with better terms and a commonsense payoff arrangement.

3. Select a Broker

For anyone interested in playing the markets, finding a reliable broker is a critical part of the process. While most online brokerage firms are registered and properly licensed, there are a few shady operators, so it pays to be cautious. Read reviews on verified websites and stick with the larger, reputable firms. Try to narrow your list down to two or three candidates before taking short trial offers to test out platforms and features. Don’t forget to learn the specifics of opening balances, ongoing fees, commissions, and other costs of business with a particular brokerage company. Most top firms offer commission-free trading for new accounts and other financial incentives.

4. Look at Fundamentals

Learn about fundamental analysis. It’s not rocket science, but most new to trading discover they need a few hours of research and reading to understand how the process works. Fundamental studies, as opposed to technical analysis, look at the fundamental strength of a company to assess its overall fit for a given portfolio. Investors examine areas like the management team’s background, pending lawsuits, new products, recent news stories, and earnings-per-share (EPS).

5. Use a Demo Account to Practice

Spend at least two weeks working with a platform’s demo account before putting your hard-earned money at risk. While there’s no chance of losing or gaining funds by trading on a demo, users know how to place orders, cancel transactions, size their positions correctly, and generally gain insight into how the day-to-day operations of trading work. Practice is helpful, especially for those who have never been exposed to financial markets and are new to all the jargon involved in the marketplace of securities dealing.

6. Research Current Market News

Becoming an active, informed investor means keeping up with current events and not just the financial news. Of course, it’s a great idea to focus on your niche, but don’t overlook the overall financial headlines and straight news about world events. That’s essential because all sorts of non-financial happenings impact the markets. Wars, international trade disputes, major weather-related disasters, elections, immigration patterns, and dozens of other subjects affect the price of individual securities.

7. Learn About Technical Indicators

Fundamental studies are relevant for anyone who has capital at risk in stocks. However, don’t neglect to learn how technical indicators work. This type of analysis focuses on data and statistics, including the history of price action, highs, lows, and averages of specific stocks daily. Try to research at least a half-dozen different technical indicators and include moving averages in your list. Whenever current prices exceed or move below a 200-day average, that can be a warning that the company’s share prices are entering a new phase. While no indicator offers 100% assurance of future moves, it’s crucial to combine multiple pieces of information for a big-picture view of the situation.

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8. Use Prudent Money Management

There are dozens of excellent money management techniques. Beginners often employ the one-percent method. It’s a simple way of protecting your capital. The rule for the strategy is to never place more than one percent of total available capital at risk on a single position. An account of $5,000 would mean limiting trades to no more than $50 each.

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