The stock market sounds glamorous and profitable to those who aren't yet initiated into its workings, and it also sounds confusing and risky. All the above are true. Learning about how the stock market works can diffuse any misconceptions and help you see how the stock market is very accessible. Anyone can gain some level of mastery on the subject, at least enough to invest smartly. Understanding how it works can steer you on a course toward financial Independence.
Identify what your goals are. Focus on what is most relevant to you, so you know why you are learning about all of this. If you want to brush up and learn a lot before you invest, you'll spend much more time in the education stage. If you're ready to start and want to invest for the long-term, you'll focus your reading in that department.
Find a few like-minded souls. Investment books, philosophies, magazines, newspapers and websites abound, and it's important to know where to locate the information you are seeking from the morass of information available. Determine what philosophy to which you subscribe and get your hands on materials that fit your views.
Read financial publications consistency. Anyone can tell you to "find out online," and yes, one of the best ways to find out how to buy stocks is to find a few online sources. But the web is loaded with questionable advice, so stick to the big names like Bloomberg and Reuters and follow them consistently to see how stocks work on a day-to-day basis.
Learn from the masters. There is a reason why people listen when Warren Buffett talks. Learning how experienced and successful investors make their trades and see how you can apply the same concepts to your transactions.
Attend a seminar. There are lots of free seminars offered by stockbrokers and financial planners trying to hook new customers. You can attend an event with no obligation, you can walk away with some knowledge about how these brokers view buying and selling stock. If you are impressed by the speaker you could always hire him.
Play a game. An investing game, that is. Websites such as Market Watch offer simulated version of the stock market so that you can try your skills risk free. The best way to learn about something is to experience it firsthand. Once you've honed your skills, you will be ready for the real thing.
- Choose a brokerage account with good customer service that offers help for inexperienced investors.
- Beware of the unprofessional advice that abounds all over the web. Unfortunately, there are plenty of scam artists out there.
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images