How to Invest in Stocks: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

How to Invest in Stocks: A Complete Beginner's Guide
How to Invest in Stocks: A Complete Beginner's Guide

When done correctly, investing in stocks is one of the most successful strategies to develop long-term wealth.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to stock market investing to ensure you’re doing it correctly.

5 Easy Steps to Get Started Investing

1. Determine your investment strategy

The first consideration is how to begin investing in stocks. Some investors prefer to buy individual equities, while others want to be more passive.

Try it out. Which of the following sentences most accurately describes you?

I’m an analytical thinker who enjoys crunching figures and conducting research.

I despise math and dislike doing a lot of “homework.”

Every week, I devote several hours to stock market investment.

I enjoy reading about the many firms in which I can invest, but I have no desire to get involved with anything mathematical.

I’m a busy professional with little time to learn how to analyze stocks.

The good news is that you can become a stock market investor regardless of which of these assertions you agree with. The only difference will be the “how.”

The various methods of investing in the stock market:

Individual securities

Individual stocks can be purchased if and only if you have the time and desire to thoroughly investigate and assess stocks on an ongoing basis. If this is the case, we strongly advise you to do so. A wise and patient investor can easily outperform the market over time. If things like quarterly profits reports and simple mathematical computations don’t appeal to you, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a more passive approach.

Index mutual funds

In addition to purchasing individual stocks, you can invest in index funds, which track a stock index such as the S&P 500. When it comes to actively vs. passively managed funds, we prefer the latter (but there are exceptions). Index funds often have lower costs and are practically guaranteed to outperform their underlying indices over time. The S&P 500 has achieved yearly total returns of around 10% throughout time, and such performance can accumulate enormous wealth over time.


Finally, another popular choice in recent years is the robo-advisor. A robo-advisor is a brokerage that invests your money on your behalf in a portfolio of index funds according to your age, risk tolerance, and investing objectives. A robo-advisor can not only choose your investments, but many will also maximize your tax efficiency and make changes automatically over time.

2. Determine how much money you will put into stocks

Let’s start with the money you shouldn’t put in equities. The stock market is not a good location to invest money that you will need within the next five years.

While the stock market will almost certainly grow in the long run, there is just too much uncertainty in stock prices in the short term; in reality, a 20% decrease in any given year is not uncommon, and occasional drops of 40% or more occur. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the market dropped by more than 40%, but quickly recovered to an all-time high.

So here are some things you should avoid investing in:

Your emergency savings account

You’ll need money to make your child’s next tuition payment.

The vacation fund for next year

Money set aside for a down payment, even if you won’t be able to buy a home for several years.

Asset distribution

Let’s speak about what to do with your investable money, which is money you won’t need in the next five years. This is a concept known as asset allocation, and several elements are involved. Your age is an important consideration, as are your risk tolerance and investing goals.

Let us begin with your age. The main assumption is that as you get older, equities become a less appealing location to invest your money. If you’re young, you have decades to ride out market ups and downs, but this isn’t the case if you’re retired and rely on investment income.

Here’s a short rule of thumb to assist you figure out your asset allocation. Take 110 and subtract your age. This is the approximate percentage of your investable funds that should be in equities (including stock-based mutual funds and ETFs). The remaining should be invested in fixed-income assets such as bonds or high-yield CDs. You can then change this ratio up or down based on your risk tolerance.

For example, suppose you are 40 years old. According to this approach, you should invest 70% of your investable funds in stocks and 30% in fixed income. If you like to take risks or expect to work past the traditional retirement age, you may wish to change this ratio in favor of stocks. If you don’t like huge changes in your portfolio, you might try to change it in the opposite direction.

3. Establish an investing account

All the stock investing advice for beginners in the world won’t help you if you don’t have a way to buy stocks. To do so, you’ll need a brokerage account, which is a form of specialist account.

Companies like as E*Trade, Charles Schwab, and others provide these accounts. And, in most cases, opening a brokerage account is a simple and painless process that takes only a few minutes. You can quickly fund your brokerage account via EFT transfer, cheque, or wire transfer.

Opening a brokerage account is normally simple, but there are a few things to consider before settling on a broker:

Account Description

Determine the sort of brokerage account you require first. For most people just starting out in the stock market, this means deciding between a normal brokerage account and an individual retirement account (IRA).

You can buy stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs with either account type. The major factors to consider here are why you’re investing in stocks and how easily you want to access your money.

If you want easy access to your money, are only investing for a rainy day, or want to invest more than the annual IRA contribution maximum, a basic brokerage account is probably for you.

On the other hand, if you want to save for retirement, an IRA is a terrific option. Traditional and Roth IRAs are the two most common types of IRAs, although there are several specialty types of IRAs for self-employed people and small business owners, such as the SEP-IRA and SIMPLE IRA. IRAs are incredibly tax-advantaged venues to buy equities, but withdrawing your money can be tough until you are older.

Costs and features should be compared

Because the majority of internet stockbrokers have abolished trading commissions, most (but not all) are on a level playing field in terms of expenses.

However, there are numerous significant variances. Some brokers, for example, provide consumers with a variety of teaching tools, access to investing research, and other services that are especially beneficial to younger investors. Others allow you to invest on overseas stock exchanges. Furthermore, some have actual branch networks, which might be useful if you want face-to-face investment advice.

4. Select your stocks

Now that we’ve answered the question of how to buy stocks, here are five fantastic beginner-friendly investment ideas to get you started.

Of course, we can’t cover all you should think about while selecting and analyzing stocks in a few pages, but here are the key elements to understand before you begin:

Diversify your holdings.

Invest solely in companies that you understand.

Avoid high-volatility stocks until you’ve mastered investing.

Avoid penny stocks at all costs.

5. Learn the fundamental measures and techniques for stock analysis

It’s a good idea to understand the concept of diversification, which means that your portfolio should include a number of different types of companies. However, I would caution against over-diversification. Stick to industries you understand, and if it turns out that you’re strong at (or comfortable with) appraising a specific sort of company, there’s nothing wrong with one area accounting for a sizable portion of your portfolio.

Buying flashy high-growth stocks may appear to be a terrific method to gain wealth (and it certainly can be), but I’d advise you to wait until you’re a little more experienced before doing so. It’s better to build your portfolio’s “base” with strong, established companies, or even mutual funds or ETFs.