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Fixed annuities: The missing piece of your retirement planning puzzle? Use annuities to plan for your future. Our Perspectives Helping you put Merrill Lynch insights to work. Build your investment portfolio Three steps to creating a portfolio that fits your risk tolerance and investing style. Ready to get started? Open an account. For beginner investors, online brokers are perfect since brokerage fees can often eat up any profits that would otherwise be made unless you are investing large amounts of money.
There are two fundamental keys for beginner investors: investing for the long-term and investing in companies that have meaning to you personally. Knowing when to buy and sell in the short-term requires much more research, knowledge, and, more often than not, a little bit of luck.
With long-term investing, all you have to do is choose a great company at a reasonable price and allow it to increase in value over time — the potential for costly errors is greatly diminished the longer your investing horizon is. This process can be used on any company in any industry and is extremely helpful for finding companies that have a high probability of growing in value over time.
If a company has meaning to you — if you are inspired by and interested in what they do — you are going to be more likely to understand that company, more motivated to research them, and thus more likely to make wise decisions about when they should be bought and sold. In the end, meaning is often the factor that differentiates between truly investing in a company with confidence and simply gambling on whether or not they will grow in value. Any company you invest in needs to have a moat. That is, they need to have something that prevents their competition from coming in and stealing away the control they have over their market.
For example, Coca-Cola is a company with a great moat. Anyone can make soft drinks, but Coca-Cola has entrenched itself in the market.
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No new soft drink company is going to be stealing away their customers anytime soon. Like a fighter jet without a pilot, every company is only as good as the people who are leading it. Before you invest in a company, you need to make sure that company is led by people with competence and integrity. Far too often companies are sunk due to dishonest or poor management. In other words, you had a high margin of safety.
By using these four points to evaluate a company, you can greatly increase your chances of buying companies that will grow in value and make you money over time. The amount of money you should invest in stocks is entirely dependent on your own personal situation. Another concept concerning how much money you should invest has to do with diversifying your portfolio. Choose a handful of companies across a few industries and spread your money across them.
In fact, some of the most successful investors in the world started out incredibly small with just a few hundred or few thousand dollars. These brokers charge a much lower fee than traditional brokers while still providing you with all the tools you need to be successful. There are also plenty of options available, and choosing which one you want to use is ultimately a personal choice. Take a look at the fees the online broker charges as well as whether or not they allow you to buy and sell individual companies. Before you make a purchase, though, your first and most important step should be to go out and start researching companies.
The final step is to make a purchase and start reaping the rewards. While this guide is meant to cover everything you need to know to begin investing in stocks, learning how to invest in stocks is a process that never truly ends, and the more you know the more likely it is you will be successful.
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In the same way that furthering your education in any other field makes you more equipped to be successful in that field, furthering your education in investing is the best way to learn how to choose the right companies at the right time. With all of that said, I highly recommend you consider checking out my Intro to Rule 1 Investing course.
It is my honest belief that the strategies contained within this course are the best way for beginner investors to see early success as well as prolonged success in their investments, and I look forward to teaching you all there is to know about the power of Rule 1 investing. Are you ready to learn how to invest in stocks for real? Let me know in the comments. Ready to join us?