Here’s your short, step-by-step guide for trading the stock market for beginners:
1. Investing tools you’ll need: an easy to use calculator, a spreadsheet program, a good computer with ample processing speed and good-sized monitor, a color printer, a high speed internet connection with security protection, access to a stock screener and an open account with an online brokerage.
2. Open an account with an online trading broker. Look at commission fees and other service charges. There are several websites that offer side-by-side comparisons of online stock brokerages. Use the account for access to stock market information, resources and educational programs you can use as you begin the stock trading process.
3. Research various investing strategies and choose one or two. Websites and books are terrific resources for finding stock trading strategies. Search on Amazon for stock trading books and use the reviewer’s comments to choose a book to purchase or check it out at your local library.
4. Write out your trading plan. This will be your stock trading guide detailing when will you get in and out of a stock, how much to trade on any one stock, risk management, when to sell and setting your goals.
5. Find good trading candidates. Have access to a good stock scanner for technicals. Your broker should have the tool you need.
6. Practice buying and selling stocks. Before making any stock trades, a smart and practical thing to do is to “paper trade” as you begin to learn and evaluate strategies. That’s basically where you keep a fake portfolio of your trades until you have confidence in your strategies. Your broker should offer watch portfolio services and you can also find it for free on Yahoo Finance.
7. Know the direction of the stock market trend. Before making any stock trades, learn how to determine the direction of the general markets. You’ll want to buy into an upward moving market to give your trades support. A strongly downward trending market will work against any long trades as in 2008.
8. How much capital to trade. Before you buy any stock decide how much of your capital you’ll trade in any one stock.
9. Incubation. Right after you purchase a stock it goes into an “incubation period.” There’s really nothing you can do but give the stock space to grow. Like when you plant a seed and you’re waiting for it to grow. If it doesn’t grow you have to plant a new seed.
10. Know when to sell or when to buy more. Beginner online stock trading success relies heavily on knowing when to exit a position in order to protect your initial capital and your gains. Examples include a stop loss based on a percentage, a dollar amount or the stock’s price volatility. For buying more of a position, this can be based on a percentage gain combined with price strength.
11. Track and document your trades. Successful online stock trading includes continuous improvement on your strategies and system. After you close out a trade, print out the chart for review. Looking back will give you a good picture of any places for improvement. It also gives you a chance to see if you are meeting your stock trading goals.
12. Make time to continue learning. Stock trading knowledge is power and continuing to build your experience and knowledge will increase your ability to successfully profit in the stock market.
That’s the simplified guide to online stock market trading for beginners.