There comes a point when you realize that in order to build wealth it will require you to build multiple streams of income. The average millionaire has seven. The stock market is one way you can invest your earned income in order to start earning passive income and multiply your money. Here’s how to invest in the stock market step by step for beginners.
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I’ve been investing in the stock market since 2019. When I learned how to open a brokerage account and buy company stock, I knew I had to show people how to do it too.
Everything I found online was outdated so I wanted to make it easy for people to start. This is how you do it.
#1. Set a budget when planning to invest
Before you begin to invest you will need to set a budget on your first investment(s). The great thing about the stock market is that you can invest with as little as $50 or so depending on the cost of a share.
A share is a fraction of a company you can own and earn money from as the company grows and profits over a period of time.
If you set a budget of $200 and the share of a company you want to invest in costs $50 then you can purchase (4) four shares of said company. If a month later the shares your purchased are worth $60 each then your shares would now be worth $240, resulting in a $40 gain. This is how investing in the stock market works.
Note: I highly recommend having your emergency fund built prior to proceeding with investing in the stock market.
It is important to highlight that the money you invest in the stock market will need to be money you can tolerate losing. The stock market is volatile meaning the value of your assets is constantly going up and down.
Something to keep in mind is that the value of your investments can go down just as fast if not faster than they went up. Now, this is not addressed to scare you. The stock on average has an annual return of 6-8% per year.
Why should you invest in stocks?
Investing in stocks is a great way to diversify your portfolio. You don’t want to keep all your eggs in one basket. For this reason, the wealthy invest in companies they believe have long-term potential to thrive and to multiply their investment.
#2. Know what to invest in
Now that you’ve set a budget you’ll need to know what you want to invest in. Once you do, find the stock market symbol of the company on Google search engine.
If you wanted to invest in Coca-Cola for example, you’d search ‘stock market symbol for Coca-Cola’ on Google.
You’ll see that the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) symbol for Coca-Cola is KO. This is how you will identify and search for companies to invest in when you’re in the market to buy stocks.
Here are some different type of investments you can invest in within the NYSE.
A stock is a share of a company just like Coca-Cola. Buying a share from one specific company is a stock. Stocks are good to purchase if you strongly believe in the continued success of your choice of company. Invest in companies that have room to grow and are constantly innovating.
Stocks I personally favor are Tesla, Apple, and Amazon. These tech companies are always innovating therefore I have strong conviction towards their continued growth and success.
An index fund is a fund that tracks and follows the index (growth) of a group of companies.
When you own a share of an index fund, you own a percentage of a pool of companies oppose to just one company. What makes an index fund great is that if a company within an index fund isn’t performing very well there are other companies that may balance the overall performance of the fund resulting in a fair return.
A popular choice is the S&P500. This index fund tracks the performance of the top 500 companies in the United States. This type of investment tends be a less risky and yield great profits over the long run. It’s an investors favorite and I personally hold share in the S&P500.
A REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust Fund) is very similar to an index fund. The only exception is that it invests exclusively in real estate companies oppose to other businesses.
If you want to invest in real estate without the hassle of learning the game, using cash up front, or getting into debt, REITs are a great way to diversify your portfolio into the real estate sector.
A great REIT I’m invested in is VNQ with Vanguard.
Which investment is right for you?
Each of these investments has their own benefits. My suggestion is to research them individually as all of our needs are very unique. As your skills develop as a retail investor, you’ll find yourself having a diversified portfolio consisting of all three.
Invest in the stock market and learn to identify which investment is best for you.
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.Warren buffett
#3. Choose a Brokerage Firm to Begin Investing in The Stock Market
This is the fun part. Choose a reputable online brokerage firm. A brokerage firm is a platform where you will be doing all of your investing through the NYSE.
Here you’ll be able to purchase stocks and sell them. Each brokerage firm has their own customer advantages but are very similar to use. Here is a list of brokerage firms you can open an account with and sign up for free.
Check out each brokerage firm’s website and see which feels more comfortable for you to navigate. Do some research on each of them to see which has the strongest potential for your needs. I personally use Vanguard.
Note: When you purchase investments, there are small commission fees your investments will pay out to the firm. They are very small in most cases and don’t hinder your earnings like you’d think. Vanguard has the lowest fees.
Each brokerage firm will have different commission fees and the percentage will vary in each firm. For example: Coke (KO) will have a slightly different commission fee in every firm despite having the same share cost.
#4. Open your account
For this step-by-step on how to invest in the stock market I’m going to use Vanguard. Vanguard is one of the most reliable brokerage accounts you can use.
Head over to Vanguard and select ‘Open an account’.
Select ‘Start your new account’ to get started.
Choose the method you will be funding your new account. You can choose between:
- Electronic bank transfer or another Vanguard account
- Rollover from an employer plan (e.g., 401(k) plan)
- Transfer investments from another financial firm
Most new retail investors will be choosing the first option, using an electronic bank transfer to fund your account.
Before you open your account to begin investing in the stock market you’ll need your bank account and routing number as well as other personal information.
Once you’re in it’s time to transfer funds into your account.
#5. Transfer Funds Into Your Brokerage Account
Congratulations! Now that you’ve chosen a brokerage account to invest with, you’ll have the tools at your disposal to begin investing.
Navigate throughout your brokerage website. Get comfortable with where things are. Things might seem very new at first, intimidating even. Don’t worry, now that you’ve begun something new you’ll begin to take the first steps toward self education.
First, you’ll want to learn how to transfer funds into your brokerage account. I will be demonstrating step by step how to do this using Vanguard.
Toggle the settings to connect your bank account with your brokerage account so you can start to invest in the stock market. This direct line will allow you to transfer funds into your account so you may begin to purchase shares. Once you have this set up you may transfer the money from your budget to invest in.
#6. Make Your Very First Investment in The Stock Market
Now that you’ve transferred your funds over to your brokerage account, navigate through the site to make your very first purchase. Search the symbol of the stock, index, or REIT you will be investing in.
Note: Before purchasing, make sure you thoroughly navigate the website to get comfortable using it. This will make the purchase experience a lot easier.
Once you pull up the investment, go through the details provided on the page. You should be able to see its history, it’s projected return, its risk level, and so much more information about the investment.
Purchase the investment!
Purchase the investment with the option set to ‘Market’. This option will allow you to purchase the investment instantly at the price it’s worth.
We suggest doing a test purchase since this is your first time investing in the stock market. This will help you get a feel for it. Purchase one share so you understand the process. It will serve as good practice and experience.
Congrats on buying your first share!
Follow up on your investment the following day and see whether your investment had gains or losses. You’ll see for the very first time how your investment grew in value or decreased in value. You now have a taste of what it’s like to invest in the stock market.
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