Investing can be an extremely daunting task especially if you are just starting out, and do not know where to start. As a first-time investor, you might not even know how you should start investing, what you need to do, and what to invest in. Thankfully, we have the perfect guide for you filled with the best tips for novice investors about buying their first stock.
Here are our top tips for first-time investors:
1. Build an emergency fund
Even before you start investing, the first thing you should do is to save enough money to create an emergency fund. An emergency fund is essential, to make sure that even if your investments do not go as planned you still have money for a rainy day.
Having an emergency fund will also allow you to invest with more confidence, knowing that even if you lose some money you got a backup.
2. Define your investor profile
Investing is about choosing the right assets that match your profile, it is not about buying lottery stocks and becoming rich overnight. For that reason, one of the first things you should do is to assess your investor profile. This will allow you to understand your financial profile better, and define your goals, and priorities even before you start investing.
It will also be a crucial step in order to define what kind of investments you should make. We have the perfect investor profile questionnaires you can complete that will help you. Investor profiling can be done by yourself or with the help of a financial advisor. It will essentially evaluate your investment goals and your risk profile, as well as your current financial situation and your investment horizon.
3. Define your risk profile
Risk is an important component of every investment, and returns and risk go hand in hand. For beginner investors, it is extremely important to determine exactly how much risk you are willing to take in order to achieve your goals.
Determining both your risk tolerance, or your ability to deal with risk personally, but also your risk capacity which determines the amount of risk you should take in order to achieve your financial goals.
This will help you to determine what type of investments you should make to achieve your goals while keeping the risk at a level that you can tolerate.
4. Define your investment goals
Defining your investment goals is an important step to assess your investor profile, and defining exactly what type of investments you should make to achieve your goals. The more ambitious your investment goals are, the more risk you will have to take.
Defining your goals early on allows you to know exactly what type of assets you should be investing in, and it will help you to define your strategy.
5. Determine your investment horizon
Investments take time to produce results, and every investment decision should take your investment horizon into consideration. If you're investing for the short-term you should always consider safer investment options.
If you are investing for the medium term then you can take a lot more risk, and even consider stocks that are more volatile. Lastly, if you are investing for the long term you will be able to choose a wider range of investment options because your long investment horizon allows you to deal better with risk and volatility.
6. Consider different brokers
To invest you will need to have a broker, and there are plenty of choices. So which one is the best? If you are starting out and you do not have a lot of money to invest, it is a good idea to consider a zero commission broker.
Moreover, you should also look for a broker that offers fractional shares. This will make sure that you will be able to invest in any stock you want without worrying about having enough money to buy a whole share.
7. Consider having different brokerage accounts
Having multiple brokerage accounts can give you a lot of advantages. For example, some brokers will offer you shares when you sign up, so that is a way to receive multiple free shares just by signing up and depositing money in your account.
You can also consider separating your investment portfolio. If you are investing together with your partner it might be beneficial to separate your account, from your individual account where you might want to experiment with trading some stocks.
8. Define a strategy
Even before you start buying stocks or ETFs, you need to have a well-defined investment strategy. There are several investment styles that you should consider and study, in order to determine what works best for you.
Besides choosing the type of investing approach you want to take, you will also need to determine how you will manage your portfolio. Are you planning on checking your stocks every day? Do you want to buy and sell stocks and adjust your portfolio weekly?
Active portfolio management
If you want to actively research, and trade stocks you need to take an active investing approach, and it does have many advantages. However, it requires time, effort, and dedication that is not for everyone.
Passive portfolio management
If you want to take a more laid-back approach, then a passive approach is a better solution. Its greatest advantage is that it will allow you to build wealth and compound your money without having to spend countless hours researching stocks and checking stock quotes.
9. Consider index funds
Index funds remain one of the best inventions in the finance industry, and they have allowed millions of retail investors to build wealth over time. They are also one of the safest ways to invest while staying diversified, and paying low fees.
For most investors that do not want to dedicate time to learning how to research stocks and investments, an index fund is almost always the best option. Despite its disadvantages, index funds remain one of the best investment vehicles available to investors.
10. Stick to your strategy
Once you have defined your strategy you need to stick with it. Investing takes time, and results do not come overnight. One of the most common investing mistakes beginners make is that they don’t see immediate results and assume what they are doing is wrong.
Most of the time this is the wrong approach, and it will force you to try several strategies in a short period of time. Instead, you are better off just defining your strategy and sticking with it.
11. Don’t mix investing with speculation and trading
Understanding the differences between investing, speculating, and trading early on in your investment journey will be crucial. Most inexperienced investors find themselves day trading or buying stocks because everyone on social media is talking about them and that is not investing.
When you are investing in stocks, you are buying a piece of a business, and you shouldn’t be buying stocks in the hopes of selling them for a higher price in the short term. Moreover, you should also avoid speculating on the price of stocks, especially if you do not have a lot of experience in the markets.
12. Study the markets
Becoming an experienced investor takes time, and it requires you to understand how financial markets work, and how stock prices fluctuate. In order to have a deeper understanding of everything that goes into investing in stocks, you need to take to study the markets. To research stocks, and to understand if they are worth investing in.
Everyone can do it, but not everyone is willing to put in the effort and time required to learn about stocks. We have a complete guide on how you can start to learn about stock research here. You can either do some online courses, watch videos, or even read some beginner investment books that can help you understand the markets better.
One of the best first-time investor tips is to diversify your portfolio. You want to make sure that you are investing in different stocks in order to reduce the risk, and volatility of your investment portfolio. This is one of the most significant advantages of diversifying your portfolio, and every novice investor should do it.
Diversification can also help you to boost your returns while making you feel more confident in your investments. It can also also be a way to sleep better at night knowing your money is spread among different investments.
14. Only invest what you can lose
Investing has risks, and the possibility of losing the money you have invested is a serious risk. For that reason, you should only invest what you can lose and avoid taking on too much risk and investing money that you cannot afford to lose.
The stock market can be quite volatile, and inexperienced investors might not be able to deal with it in the best way. For this reason, investing only what you can lose is still one of the most important first-time investor tips you should follow.
15. The sooner you start investing the better
First-time investors should understand the importance of starting investing as early as possible. Even if you can just add $100 a month to your investment portfolio, it is extremely important to start doing it as soon as you can as it can make a large difference when you finally decide to cash out on your investment.
Here is an example of the importance of investing early:
16. Keep your emotions in check
It’s easy to get caught in a mix of emotions when you are investing. If your stocks are going up you may feel euphoric, or your portfolio might go down with the market, and you start feeling anxious and panicky.
One of the most important aspects of investing is to keep your emotions under control at all times. This is the only way that you can prevent mistakes driven by emotions. Avoid panic selling when stocks go down, or euphoric buying when stocks go up.
17. Avoid FOMO
FOMO or fear of missing out is particularly common in the stock market. When a certain stock is going up and making new highs, several investors pile up on the already crowded trade due to their fear of missing out on the next leg up.
It is important not only to keep your emotions in check at all times but also to avoid being affected by the constant idea that you’re missing out on a certain stock or investment. There are plenty of opportunities out there that you do not have to feel like you are missing out on.
18. Avoid following stock tips
Stock tips are fairly common and blindly following them can have a negative impact on your portfolio. The idea of buying a stock just because someone mentioned it, without actually doing any due diligence is a recipe for disaster.
You can obviously research any stock tips that come your way, but to buy or sell a stock based on a tip you got, even from the most trustworthy source is always a bad idea.
19. Don’t overtrade
One of the most common mistakes investors make is that they buy and sell stocks far too often. Opening and closing positions constantly do not add a lot of value to your investments, unless you are trading and you know what you are doing. On the contrary, overtrading ends up costing you a lot of money in commissions. For that reason, you should avoid constantly trading stocks.
20. Learn to be patient
Patience is a virtue, and when it comes to investing it is one of the most important qualities an investor can have. Whether you are buying a stock, selling, or holding for the long term, patience is required, and it will help you to deal with other emotions that are associated with investing.
Euphoria and greed can take over when your stocks go up, and fear and panic can also affect you when you are
21. Don’t check your stocks all the time
Another common mistake first-time investors make is that they check their stocks too often. Some investors can check their stocks 10 or more times a day. You should also avoid checking your stocks constantly since the constant price fluctuations can stress you, and induce you to make investment decisions based on emotions.
Check your stocks once or twice a day, and do not obsess over them. Stock prices fluctuate and that is normal, always remember that.
22. Review your portfolio
Keeping a regular check on your investment portfolio is important, so you can assess how well it is doing, and if you should make any changes. If you are passively managing your portfolio you do not need to review it so often, and it can be done every 6 months or every year.
On the other hand, active investing requires you to keep track of your holdings, and try to consider rebalancing and adjusting the portfolio a few times a year For that reason you will need to review your portfolio at least every 2 months, or each quarter. This allows you to analyze how well the stocks are doing, and whether or not you need to adjust.
While starting your investment journey can be tricky, there are plenty of good tips and advice available for first-time investors. The most important thing is that you start by evaluating your investor profile, and determine the best investments for you. Remember to start as early as you can, and do not risk what you cannot lose.