People have been trading stocks for hundreds of years. It is one of the best ways to ensure a financially sound future for you and your loved ones. With a good broker and some knowledge you can go a long way toward success in stock trading. However, you do need to be wary of making some of the common mistakes that can cost you money. Let's review some of these mistakes in order to help you avoid them.
Probably the single most crucial mistake is postponing the start of your investing until you have 'extra' money. This can cost you millions because the value of money invested compounds across time in such a way that the same amount invested in your twenties can bring you literally double the earnings by age 65 as the same amount invested a mere ten years later. If you can't afford to start with $250 a month or even $100 a month try to set aside $25 or so for steady monthly investing. Time really is money when you are talking about stock investing.
Another common mistake is not researching stocks adequately before buying them. All stocks are not created equal by any means. Take the time to thoroughly look into the history of the company you are interested in, its current state, future plans as they are known. How is the present leadership doing? What are recent trends in the relevant industry sector? And watch yourself carefully for the tendency to make investment decisions based on emotion rather than good, hard facts.
Always take the time to look into your options carefully. The same applies to choosing a broker or financial advisor. Don't grab the first one you meet without doing research, considering alternatives and investigating the person's investing philosophy and experience. Do ask for recommendations from friends and acquaintances, even family, but be sure you consider how qualified the person doing the recommending is to evaluate a financial professional.
Keep in mind at all times that investing in the stock market is not playing a game. Don't gamble with your funds or your future. Remember that you are trying to build a solid financial foundation not "get rich quick." You will hear of people who appear to make large profits from day trading for instance. Day trading is rapid trading in and out of stocks as their value rises and falls in the course of minutes or even hours. It ignores underlying value and concentrates solely on quick profit from market moves.
Some day traders can sometimes make great profits but overall day trading is a losing game for most people. Avoid the temptation to follow a day trading style. Also avoid the tendency to become fascinated with trendy stocks that everyone is pushing but which carry a huge risk for investors. Don't try to gain by gambling. Rather, steadily invest money over time into good solid companies that are known for giving results year in and year out. Resist the impulse to listen to those who want to give you a "great lead" on a stock they think is "set to explode." Don't try to shortcut the research and careful consideration that good investors need to do.
One more area to watch carefully is the diversification of your investments. Put money into a variety of companies and industries. This gives you protection against unexpected trouble with any one company. It also allows you to even out the ups and downs that afflict entire industry sectors from time to time. Research, diversified investments and balance are your best investing tools.