In today’s globalized and highly connected world, it is easier than ever to start investing in different types of assets. With so many online instruments and trading platforms, you can do this from the comfort of your home. Stocks are some of the most common investment options for beginners and experienced investors alike. Like any other type of investment, stocks entail some risks. Therefore, it’s important to learn how stocks work before you buy them. Explore some of the basic aspects related to stock investments. 

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What Are Stocks? 

Investopedia defines stocks as equities or securities that entitle the owner to a fraction of the issuing corporation. Stocks and shares are terms that often accompany each other and to many have the same meaning. Nonetheless, these related terms are not interchangeable; shares represent units of stocks and they give the owner the right to a determined fraction of a corporation’s assets and profits which are correlated to the amount of stock they own. Investors trade these assets on stock exchanges which are subject to the specific laws of each country in order to protect investors against fraud. 

When Is the Right Time to Start Investing in Stocks? 

There is no secret recipe for successful investments, what works for some investors might not be suitable for others in terms of risks or strategy. The same goes for the moment when you start investing. If you judge things logically, the earlier you start investing, the better because your money has time to gradually multiply itself as you buy and sell stocks or wait for their value to increase. 

However, if you’re willing to take more risks and use more aggressive investment strategies, such as options trading, you might generate high profits in little time if the market moves in your favor. In this case, the right moment to start investing can be at any time. If you want to buy a specific stock, you can analyze its price fluctuation and purchase it when the price is lower and there are good prospects for growth.  

Determine the Risks You Are Willing to Take 

Stocks can be profitable investment instruments but at the same time, they entail risks as their value is intrinsic to that of the issuing corporation. Thus, if the company that issued the stocks is successful and more investors are willing to pay more money to own shares in that company, its value increases on the stock market and you get a return on your investment. 

However, things can evolve in the opposite direction too. If the company faces challenges or if there is general turmoil in the stock market, then the value of your stocks can plummet and you can lose money. Therefore, a golden rule for all investments is to avoid investing money you can’t afford to lose. After you accept this possibility, it’s time to decide exactly how much you are determined to lose and choose an investment strategy accordingly. Different stocks entail different risk levels. This is why you need to determine your tolerance for risk and then start looking for strategies and stock types that resonate with it. 

Choose the Investing Strategy That Suits You 

Your investing style is one of the main aspects you should thoroughly consider before you start buying stocks. First, you should decide whether you want to manage your investment yourself or with the help of an authorized broker. 

If you want to go it alone and start trading on the stock market, there is plenty to learn. You must start by creating a brokerage account on a trading platform. There are multiple online stock trading platforms such as Fidelity, ETrade, Webull, or Charles Schwab. Spend some time reading reviews about them and checking out their websites to understand how each one works and which is more intuitive. You might also want to look for specific features, for instance, mobile-friendly trading. You should also take into account the platform’s annual management fees and other commissions. 

By the time you already bought your first stocks, you should have an initial investment strategy in mind. This can change over time, as you learn more about trading. Essentially, there are two things you could do on the stock market as a beginner investor — buy and hold stocks or trade them. If you opt for the first, you will adopt a set-it-and-forget-it approach. In other words, you buy stocks, then wait for some time until their price increases and you’re ready to sell your assets to make profits. 

If you’re ready to dedicate more time to your investment endeavor and you want to generate smaller but constant profits, you can start trading. This can involve buying stocks at a lower price and selling them immediately after the price slightly increases to gain returns. 

If you don’t want to manage the investment yourself, but you don’t want to pay a broker fee either, you can also get a robo-advisor. This is an investment tool that automatically handles investments based on the parameters you choose such as your investment goal and risk tolerance.  

Article written by Peak Global Management Japan.