There are several reasons people give for not investing their money in things like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. One reason is that they feel that they don’t have enough money to make a serious investment, but a more common reason that many people have absolutely no idea how to go about getting started investing. In fact, if more people understood the basics of investing and had a cohesive plan for getting started investing, more people would do it.
Let’s assume that the first reason does not apply to you and you do, in fact, have some amount of money that you’d like to invest. How do you get started investing? You could contact a stock or investment broker and discuss the options that would be best for you. Whether you’ll want to do this will depend quite a bit on the amount of money that you have to invest. If it’s a small amount, you may be better off seeking some smaller, safer investment than you would be by jumping directly into the stock market. Some people get started investing by choosing simple accounts with their bank. CD’s and IRAs make good investments, for example, for medium and long term goals. IRA accounts are intended for retirement, while CDs are time deposits that must remain in place for a set amount of time (often anywhere from as little as a week to as long as ten years) while they earn interest.
If you do go to the stock market, or “graduate to it" after getting started investing in safer accounts, you should resist the urge to buy and sell stocks wildly. One mistake that many first time investors make is they become nervous about the stability of their investment and they watch their stock rise and fall every day. If it drops too much they become afraid that the bottom will fall out and they sell at a lower price than they originally paid. This is a bad idea and works against the reasons they got started investing in the first place. Instead the new investor should “let it ride’ and sell only if there is a sudden spike in the price that won’t likely repeat. Otherwise, stocks should be a long term investment, especially when someone first gets started investing.
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