what is a stock market
In any business or moneymaking venture, preparation and foreknowledge are the keys to success. Without this sort of insight, the attempt to make a profitable financial decision can only end in disaster and failure, regardless of your level of motivation and determination or the amount of money you plan to invest.
In the stock market, this rule applies to the nth degree, as you are investing your own money in what could be considered a high risk wager, and you are playing with fire if you do not have at least a general background knowledge of how it functions. Since having a background in any area is helpful in guiding you down a path in that particular region, the more solid your basis of investment knowledge is, the more likely you are to profit from any attempt to trade on the open market.
In many ways, trading on the stock market can be compared to driving – you do not have to be an expert to get behind the wheel of a car, though you are expected to have some previous knowledge about basic traffic laws, including moving violations, safety regulations, and other legal vehicular infractions, which are learned through either specific study and coursework or even through some form of simple exposure (such as the years you have spent riding with your parents and others who have driven for years). You should be able to comprehend the basic tools used to navigate a car (where the break pedal is located versus the gas, and how to use the rearview mirror, for example), even if you have never touched a steering wheel.
The same is true in entering the world of the stock market. While you do not have to know all the terminology (you will not be short selling or determining your own long and short positions at first, so you do not have to understand these references completely, though you should be aware of them), you should certainly be versed in the basic functionality of trading stocks, bonds, securities, and other commodities. And just like someone who is behind the wheel of a car and getting ready to touch the gas pedal for the first time, you should start out with caution and work your way in slowly. A first time driver will first set the mirrors to his or her own liking, then put the car in gear, look for any interfering traffic, and ease onto the gas pedal, never flooring it and testing the engine coming out of the gate on the first attempt. Likewise, when you select your first investment, you should choose something stable with little fluctuation and not invest a large sum of money on this first venture.
When a person is learning to drive, he or she will be accompanied by another individual who is more experienced and can assist them in making better driving decisions and offering corrections that will aid in learning to handle the car more efficiently. In the stock market, there are stockbrokers and other experts who can give you input and advice to help you in building your knowledge of the commodities in which you are interested, essentially “steering” you toward better stock market buying and selling decisions.
You could spend hours and hours researching the stock market and its functionality, learning how to become involved in the trade and who to contact to get in the game, especially if your interest lies in the Foreign Exchange Market, which goes far beyond the level of complication of the domestic stock market. However, in this book, you will find all the basic information you need to get started down the path to trading success. All of the leg work and tough research has been done for you, collecting the data and knowledge into one source from which you can gain enough insight to make you a successful trader on the open market. All you have to do is read in order to gain knowledge and wisdom, step by step that will bring you to a heady level of success. In this ebook, you will find all such helpful information, all brought together in one single source for ease of reference.
How Investment Works
Any time you are going to be putting your money into a fund; it is a good idea to start by understanding what you are buying into. The stock market is a complicated entity, and doing minimal business in trading requires a fair amount of basic knowledge, as well as the understanding and acceptance of the high risk factor. The more you know in advance regarding the functionality of the system, the less likely it is that you will take a heavy hit, ending in devastating loss.
First of all and probably most important in the trading business, you should understand what stocks actually are. When you buy or sell a stock on the open market, you should keep in mind that you are dealing with real objects, not pieces of paper; you are buying and selling real parts of a particular company, its product, or some other various commodity. Owning a “share” means that you have actually bought into the company or product involved and become a partial owner of that commodity. Of course, you could be one of millions of shareholders, as most companies and products are broken into minute pieces of the whole, but you are still considered an investor in that company or product until you sell your shares.
Think of it as paying for a tank of gas in the car that your parents bought for you to drive. You may have even bought the oil filter that has been put on the car, and you may feel that this investment makes you part owner. However, when you look at the overall cost of the car, you have really contributed very little to that amount. However, as long as you continue to invest in the gas for the car and take care of the maintenance needs, you can claim part ownership of the car.
Because the value of a company and its products or services can fluctuate continuously, the value of the stocks you hold will not be the same from day to day and can sometimes even change hourly. When the price per share drops and is considered low, it is an ideal time to purchase. This is the least expensive way to begin your trading venture, and working with a stock broker will allow you to gain more information as to what stocks are ripe for the purchase at any given time.
In doing so, you become a stockholder, and the value of your holdings will fluctuate from day to day. Your gamble (and hope!) is that the value of the company or product in which you have invested will increase or rebound from the low price at which you made your purchase. This is the goal of all traders and means that your stock will become more valuable. As the value of your securities increases, so does your net worth. When the price of the stock in your possession reaches a high point, it is time to sell, making a profit on your original investment. Ideally, you will always sell your holdings for a reasonably higher price than the purchase amount and should never sell when the current value of the stock is below your initial purchase price. It is important to make sure that you do not purposely take a net loss because there are plenty of occasions when you could be forced to take a loss.
For example, if you purchase shares of a company at twenty dollars each, you should never sell them for eighteen dollars apiece. If possible, you want to hold off until they are each worth perhaps forty dollars, in essence doubling your money. Of course, this is just an example, and not all stocks will ever double in value, but the illustration is meaningful. There are other, more complex ways to invest in the stock market. However, much like learning to ride a bicycle, you do not want to make your first attempt without training wheels.
Making Decisions In The Beginning
Let us return to driving as a reference. When you first start driving, you will not enter the highway and take the car at speeds of sixty and seventy miles per hour. Instead, you will stay in residential areas or at least on the access road, where there is less pressure to maintain such a high speed. In the stock market, you will also want to stay away from any expensive stocks or extremely volatile investments until you have become extremely comfortable with the process of trading.
There are small investment opportunities referred to as “penny stocks”, which will help you try out your sea legs and get a feel for how the stock market works prior to investing large sums of money and risking a big financial loss. These particular stocks cost literally pennies or small dollar amounts and typically only fluctuate fractions of a cent on any given day, making them extremely safe for those just starting out. Once you get the hang of it and can better judge the market trends, you can comfortably move on to more complicated and adventurous areas of the market. It is like removing the training wheels from your bicycle or entering the freeway the first time at an hour of the day when there is no traffic to contend with.
Be aware that, just like you may fall off your bike once or twice and end up with some scrapes and bruises, you may lose money in an investment here and there. This is very typical, and investing in the stock market is a lot like gambling. In poker, you cannot expect to win every hand, and the same is true in the world of investments. Learning to watch the market trends, though, is similar to watching other cars as you join traffic and determining the correct speed and proximity to other cars for optimal safety. Such diligent study can help you improve your statistics drastically in a short time.