Apple, Microsoft, Google… Stock?

When you hear about how well these companies (and their many investors) have done in the stock market, you may ask: ‘How can I buy stock in them or invest?’

While buying stock may seem like a daunting task for those unfamiliar, you might be surprised. In fact, buying stock is considered a pretty easy thing to do, however, choosing the right one (s) to make you money could be a different ballgame.

To help you get started here are five easy tips to follow that will show you how to buy a stock (or two) for the first time.

Easy Steps

Tip 1: Got Cash? Do you have the money to buy stock? Before even opening and funding a brokerage account, any potential investor must be able to actually afford to invest. Have you paid off all credit card balances? If not, then pay the balances off  first. Do you have an emergency account with three to six months of basic living expenses should something happen? If not, invest in your financial security first and then build an emergency fund. Bottom-line: It’s important to have a strong financial foundation when you first set out to buy or invest in stocks.

Tip 2: Open and fund a brokerage account. If your finances are in good order, start hunting for an online broker you like that fits your needs. Ask friends, family, and colleagues for suggestions about who they use, or search online.

Tip 3: Search businesses vs. their ticker symbols . Avoid stock tips from anyone and everyone.  Instead, do your own investigating and find a business that’s selling for a fair price, rather than investing/buying  a “hot stock” someone told you about.

Keep in mind, a stock represents a direct investment into a business and to have the best chance at success in investing, do seek out a legitimate one. Also, be sure it has a sustainable competitive edge, a strong balance sheet, and exemplary leadership.

Tip 4: Now, You’re Ready. With your finances in good shape and with the extra money you’ve saved, you’re ready to invest. All you need now is to go to the broker’s website you have chosen to place the order. For the most part, brokers offer instructions and details on how to buy or sell a stock using their particular website. In general, it’s pretty self explanatory: Open the order page, search for the ticker symbol, and enter the details of the trade. Be aware you will need to know how many shares you want to buy and whether to enter a market or a limit order.

Tip 5: Keep Watch, but Don’t Overdo It. After the order goes through, you will become a part-owner so to speak in a piece of that business (big or small) that you’ve chosen to invest in. Hopefully, it will continue to reward you over the years or however long you own it. Try to keep from checking in on that stock too much to see how it’s doing.  It’s better to keep a long-term mindset – remember this is money you don’t need right now, but perhaps in the future it could come handy. Do keep abreast of what’s going on in the business: Read company reports, and other pertinent info throughout the year.

In the End

Buying a stock for the first time is often considered easy, and enjoyable by those who chose to partake. What is key however, is learning how to invest the right way. Hopefully, before you know it, you will be an accomplished investor – and fingers crossed – a whole lot richer.