You have found the right guide to show you How to Buy Stock. If you have ever wondered how to put your money to work and potentially grow it over time. Buying stocks is a common and accessible way to do just that.
Think of stocks as pieces of ownership in a company. When you own a stock, you have a share of that company, and as the company succeeds, the value of your share can increase. It’s like having a slice of a delicious pie, and as the pie grows, so does your slice.
In this guide, we’ll break down the process of how to buy stocks into simple, easy-to-understand steps. Whether you’re completely new to investing or just looking to refresh your knowledge, we’ll take you through the basics so that by the end, you’ll feel confident about buying your first stock.
How to Buy Stocks
Buying stocks is simpler than you might think. Here’s a breakdown in five easy steps to help you understand how it works:
Choose an Online Stockbroker:
The most convenient way to buy stocks is through an online stockbroker. Think of them as your go-to platform for purchasing stocks. You’ll need to open an account with them and deposit some money to get started.
The process is like setting up a bank account; you fill out an application, verify your identity, and decide whether to fund your account by sending a check or transferring money electronically.
Research the Stocks You Want:
Once your brokerage account is up and running, it’s time to get into the exciting part: picking stocks! Start by looking into companies you already know or have a connection with as a consumer. Remember that you’re not just buying a piece of paper; you’re becoming a part-owner of a company. So, choose companies that you believe in.
Don’t let the overwhelming amount of data and real-time market movements stress you out during your research. Keep it simple: aim to become an owner of companies you genuinely like.
As Warren Buffett wisely advises, “Buy into a company because you want to own it, not because you want the stock to go up.”
Begin your research with the company’s annual report, especially the letter from management to shareholders. This letter provides a narrative about the company’s progress and offers context for the financial data.
Most of the information and tools you need to evaluate a business are available on your broker’s website. Look for SEC filings, transcripts of conference calls, quarterly earnings updates, and recent news. Many online brokers also offer tutorials and basic seminars on stock picking to help you get started.
Decide How Many Shares to Buy
When it comes to buying stocks, you don’t need to rush into purchasing a specific number of shares or invest all your money in a single stock at once. Instead, consider these options:
- Start with Paper Trading: To gain experience without risking real money, you can try paper trading. This means using a stock market simulator to practice buying and selling stocks with virtual money.
- Start Small: If you’re ready to invest real money, begin with a small amount. You could even buy just one share of a stock to get a feel for stock ownership and see if you can handle the ups and downs of the market. You can gradually add more shares as you become more confident.
- Consider Fractional Shares: Some online brokers offer fractional shares, allowing you to invest in a portion of a stock rather than the whole share. This helps invest in expensive stocks with a limited budget.
- Use Tools: Many brokerage platforms have tools that help you convert a dollar amount into the corresponding number of shares. This can be useful if you have a specific budget in mind.
Buy Stocks Using The Right Order Type For You
Don’t be intimidated by the technical terms on your broker’s trading platform. Here are two common order types:
- Market Orders: When you place a market order, you’re telling your broker to buy or sell a stock at the current market price. Market orders are executed immediately, but the price you pay may not be exactly what you saw seconds ago because market prices fluctuate.
- Limit Orders: With a limit order, you have more control over the price at which your trade is executed. You specify a target price, and your order is only executed when the stock’s price reaches that level. This is useful when you want to buy or sell a stock at a specific price.
Some Additional Details to Keep in Mind:
- Market orders are suitable for long-term investors who prioritize execution speed over precise pricing.
- Limit orders are great for trading smaller company stocks or during volatile periods when the stock price matters.
- There are variations of limit orders, such as “all or none” and “good for day,” which control how the order remains open.
- Dollar-cost averaging is a strategy where you invest a fixed amount of money at regular intervals, reducing the average price you pay for your investments over time. It’s ideal for long-term investors.
- Dollar-cost averaging doesn’t provide as much control over pricing as limit orders, so it’s better for investors looking to hold their investments for an extended period.
- Setting up dollar-cost averaging may involve paperwork and configuring your accounts for automatic contributions.
In essence, when buying stocks, start with a comfortable amount, choose between market and limit orders based on your goals, and consider strategies like dollar-cost averaging for long-term investment. Don’t worry about the complex order types unless you’re a more advanced trader.
Optimize Your Stock Portfolio
Your first stock purchase is just the beginning of your investing journey. Keep in mind that even legendary investors like Warren Buffett face challenging times in the stock market.
To succeed in the long run, focus on what you can control and maintain perspective. Market fluctuations are beyond your control, but there are steps you can take:
- Once you’re comfortable with the process of buying stocks, explore other investment options. Will you include mutual funds in your investment strategy? Do you want to open a retirement account like an IRA, in addition to your regular brokerage account?
Know When to Well Stocks — and when not to
You can sell your stocks when you’re satisfied with the profits they’ve generated or when you need cash. Ideally, you should set clear, long-term goals for your investments to align with both of these objectives.
When buying stocks, it’s generally a good practice to avoid investing money you’ll need within the next five years. This is because the stock market can be volatile, and the value of your shares may temporarily decrease before rebounding.
If you must sell your stocks for cash and they’ve increased in value, be aware that you might incur capital gains taxes, and you could miss out on future gains.
What’s even more crucial is knowing when not to sell stocks. During a market decline, you might be tempted to sell to prevent further losses.
However, this is generally considered a poor strategy because selling locks in your losses. Many financial advisors recommend staying the course during market volatility and aiming for long-term gains, understanding that the market tends to recover over time.
In summary, your investment journey extends beyond your initial stock purchase. Explore different investment options, set clear goals, and be cautious about selling stocks hastily, especially during market downturns.
The key is to focus on your long-term objectives and remain patient through market fluctuations.
How do I know which stocks to buy?
Since there isn’t a one-size-fits-all ‘best stock’ option, many financial advisors recommend putting your money into low-cost index funds.
Nonetheless, if you choose to invest in specific individual stocks, it’s crucial to do comprehensive research on those stocks before making any purchases.
Can I buy stocks by myself, without using a broker?
In recent years, online brokers have made it incredibly easy for beginners to sign up for and use their services. For most new investors, opening an online brokerage account is the simplest way to enter the stock market.
But if you’re still interested in investing without a broker, you can look for companies that offer a direct stock plan.
These plans allow you to buy company shares directly from the company itself, often with a low fee or no fee at all. Additionally, they may let you invest a specific dollar amount, rather than purchasing a set number of shares, and often offer the option to make recurring investments.
Another approach to buying stocks without a broker is through a dividend reinvestment plan. This allows investors to automatically reinvest the dividends they receive back into the same stock, rather than taking the dividends as income.
Like direct stock plans, you’ll need to research and find companies that offer these programs.
How much money do I need to buy stocks?
If you open a brokerage account with no minimum deposit requirements and zero transaction fees, you can begin investing with just enough money to purchase a single share of a stock.
Depending on the company you’re interested in, this could be as low as $10 (although it’s important to note that low-priced stocks may not always be the best investment choices).
Furthermore, some brokerages offer the option to buy fractional shares. This means that if you only have, say, $100 to invest, you can still invest in a portion of a high-priced stock like Google, which typically trades for over $1,000 per share.
Naturally, the more you invest, the greater your potential long-term returns can be. You can use an investment calculator to better understand how compounding returns work.
CHECK THESE OUT: