Investing in the stock market is an excellent way to build wealth by taking advantage of the power of growing companies. Although the idea of starting to invest in the stock market might be overwhelming to some inexperienced individuals, there is a possibility of achieving long-term profits and it can be as simple as purchasing stocks within a matter of minutes.
What are the steps to get started with investing in stocks? It’s actually quite simple and there are several ways to do it. One of the easiest ways is to open an online brokerage account and buy stocks or equity funds.
If you are not at ease with this approach, you have the option of enlisting a specialist to oversee your portfolio, usually at affordable rates. Nevertheless, you have the option of investing in the stock market via the internet and commencing with a small sum of money.
Here’s how to invest in the stock market and the basic principles to get started on the stock market, even if you don’t know much about it.
Investing in the stock market: 4 easy steps to get started
Do you want to start investing in the stock market? Here’s a four-step checklist that will help you get started:
- Choose how you want to invest.
- Open an investment account.
- Decide what you want to invest in.
- Determine how much you can invest, and then make your purchases.
1.Choose how you want to invest
These days, there are several investment options available to you, so you can really tailor your investment style to your knowledge and the time and energy you want to devote to investing. You can devote as much or as little time as you want to investing.
Your initial major decision is to determine how your money will be handled.
✅A human professional: This “do-it-for-me” option is a great choice for those who only want to spend a few minutes a year worrying about their investments. It’s also a good choice for those who have limited investment knowledge.
✅A robo-advisor: A robo-advisor is another solid “do-it-for-me” solution. An automated program manages your money using the same decision-making process as a human advisor, but at a much lower cost. You can set up an investment plan quickly, and then all you’ll have to do is deposit money, and the robo-advisor will take care of the rest.
✅Self-management: This “do-it-yourself” option is a great choice for those who have more knowledge or those who can devote time to making investment decisions. If you decide to choose your own stocks or funds, you’ll require a brokerage account.
Your choice here will determine the type of account you’ll open in the next step.
2.Open an Investment Account
What kind of account do you wish to initiate? These are the possible choices that you can consider:
If you prefer to have a financial expert handle your funds, here are the available choices:
- A human financial advisor can help you design a stock portfolio and take other estate planning measures, such as college expense planning. A human advisor typically charges about 1% of your assets per year, with a high minimum investment.
- A robo-advisor is an option for designing a stock portfolio that fits your investment timeline and level of risk comfort. Typically, they are less expensive than human advisors, costing about 25% or less. Moreover, they offer wealth planning services to help you maximize your assets. One of the most popular robo-advisors is Mon Petit Placement, and you can find a full review of it on our site.
⚫️ If you would rather manage your finances on your own:
- An online broker allows you to buy stocks and many other types of investments, including bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, options, and more. The best brokers offer commission-free trading on exchanges, with Bux Zero being one of them (read our review here). They also provide a ton of information and research at no additional cost, so you can quickly improve your game.
If you choose a robo-advisor or online broker, you can open your account in minutes and start investing. If you opt for a human advisor, you will need to interview a few candidates to find the one who best meets your needs and keeps you on track.
3.Decide what to invest in
The next step is to determine what you want to invest in. For many beginners, this step can seem intimidating, but if you have chosen to work with a robo-advisor or human advisor, it will be a straightforward process.
Using an advisor
If you use an advisor – human or robotic – you will not have to decide what to invest in. This is part of the value offered by these services.
For example, when you open a robo-advisor account, you typically answer questions about your risk tolerance and when you need your money.
Then, the robo-advisor creates your portfolio and selects the funds to invest in. You just need to add money to the account for the robo-advisor to create your portfolio.
Using a broker
If you opt for a brokerage company, you will have to choose and make trading decisions for each investment you make. There are several assets you can invest in, including individual stocks and stock funds.
The best brokers offer free research to assist you in this process and provide a ton of resources to help beginners.
If you manage your own portfolio, you can also decide whether to invest actively or passively. The main difference between the two is that you determine the duration of your investment.
Passive investors usually adopt a strategy for the long-term, while active investors tend to make more trades with higher frequency. Studies indicate that passive investors generally achieve better results compared to active investors.
4.Determine the amount you can invest, then buy.
To accumulate wealth, it is important to contribute funds to your account regularly and let the effect of compounding take place. To achieve this, you must allocate a portion of your monthly or weekly plans to invest. The process of beginning is simple and straightforward.
How much should you invest?
The sum you decide to invest solely relies on your financial plan and investment timeframe.Although you can invest what you can afford, experts recommend leaving your money invested for at least three years, and ideally five years or more, to weather market fluctuations.
If you’re not willing to invest your money and leave it untouched for at least three years, it might be wise to prioritize building an emergency fund. An emergency fund can prevent you from having to withdraw prematurely from an investment, allowing you to withstand fluctuations in the value of your stocks.
How much do you need to start?
These days, most large online brokerage firms have no minimum account balance (or the minimums are extremely low), so you can start with very little money.
Moreover, many brokers allow you to buy fractional shares of stocks and ETFs. If you can’t afford to buy a whole share, you can still buy a portion, so you can really start with almost any amount.
It’s just as easy with robo-advisors. Few of them require a minimum account balance and all you have to do is deposit the money – the robo-advisor takes care of everything else. Set up an automatic deposit to your robo-advisor account and you’ll only have to think about investing once a year.
Once you’ve opened your account, deposit money and start investing.
How to manage your investments?
You’ve opened a brokerage or advisor account, so it’s time to monitor your portfolio. It’s easy if you’re using a human advisor or robo-advisor. Your advisor will handle most of the work by managing your portfolio over the long term and keeping you on track with the plan.
If you’re managing your own portfolio, you’ll need to make trading decisions. Is it time to sell a stock or fund? Was the last quarter of your investment a signal to buy or sell more?
If the market drops, do you buy more or sell? These decisions are difficult for investors, whether they are new or experienced.
If you are actively investing, you will need to stay up to date with news to make the best decisions.
Passive investors, on the other hand, will have fewer decisions to make. As they focus on the long term, they often buy on a regular, fixed schedule and don’t worry much about short-term movements.
Tips for beginner investors
Whether you’ve opened a brokerage account or a managed account with an advisor, your own behavior is one of the key factors to your success, likely as important as the stocks or funds you buy.
Here are three important tips for beginners:
- While movies depict investors as active traders, you can succeed – and even beat most investors – by using a passive buy-and-hold approach. One strategy: regularly buy a CAC-40 index fund containing Europe’s largest companies and hold onto it.
- It can be helpful to track your portfolio, but be careful when the market dips. You’ll be tempted to sell your stocks and deviate from your long-term plan, hurting your long-term gains to feel safe today. Think long-term.
- To avoid getting scared, it can be helpful to only check your portfolio at certain times (e.g. the first of the month).
When you start investing, the financial world can seem intimidating. There’s a lot to learn. The good news is that you can go at your own pace, develop your skills and knowledge, and then take action when you feel comfortable and ready.
Best stocks for beginner investors
As a new investor, it can be wise to keep things simple and then expand as your skills develop.
Fortunately, investors have an excellent option that allows them to buy stocks in dozens of Europe’s largest companies in a single easy-to-purchase fund: a CAC-40 index fund.
This type of fund lets you own a small piece of dozens of the world’s best companies at a low cost.
A CAC-40 fund is an excellent option because it helps diversify your investments and reduce the risk associated with holding different stocks. And it’s a solid choice for investors – beginner or experienced – who don’t want to spend time thinking about investments and would rather do something else with their time.
If you want to go beyond index funds and invest in individual stocks, it can be worthwhile to invest in “large-cap” stocks, meaning the largest and financially stable companies.
Look for companies that have a solid long-term track record of sales and earnings growth, are not heavily indebted, and trade at reasonable prices (measured by the price-to-earnings ratio or another valuation metric) so you don’t buy overvalued stocks.
What is the minimum amount of money required to begin investing?
Not much. Most online brokers do not require a minimum investment and many offer fractional share investing for those starting with small amounts.
You should make sure that the money you invest is not needed for current expenses and can remain invested for at least three years. It is good to build up savings in an emergency fund before starting to invest.
Nowadays, investing offers various flexible options to individuals, even if they have limited knowledge initially. You can either choose to invest on your own or seek professional assistance.
You can invest in stocks or stock funds, actively trade or invest passively. Whatever your choice, choose the investment style that suits you best and build your wealth.