History indicates that investing in stock is one of the most exciting ways to build wealth over time. Almost all of the Fortune 400 list of the topmost valuable Americans in the world today achieved their position on the list because they have a large selection of shares in a private or public corporation. Learning not just how to save your money, but how to invest it wisely over time can end up giving you a powerful portfolio for long-term growth.

Of course, just because you’ve finished paying off your loans and you’re ready to start putting your spare cash towards investments instead, doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to leap into the stock market. In fact, you might be a complete beginner, unsure what investing in stock really means to your financial future. If that’s the case, here’s what you need to know.

The Basics of Investing in Stock

The first thing to learn about investing in the stock market – is that a stock is a share in ownership of a business. Otherwise known as equity or a security, these stocks are issued by corporations that want to raise money for projekts and growth strategies. Common stock and preferred stock are the different kinds of investment available today. While common stock allows the stockholder to access a share of the business profits or losses, preferred stock comes with a predetermined payment in the form of dividends.

There are other things that differentiate preferred and common stock, but that’s as much as you need to know for now. The key to success with stocks is understanding how you make your money from regular investments. An increase in stock price caused by the increasing value of the business, and the arrival of dividends are just two of the ways that you can benefit from owning stocks. Because these two values accumulate and grow over time, a year’s investment can lead to a solid return on your cash.

Finding the Right Stock for your Portfolio

Once you understand what stock is and why you should be investing in it, the most complicated part of growing your portfolio is figuring out which stocks you should be investing in. Ultimately, there are many different kinds of stocks out there, and there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for an investment. While it’s usually a good idea to diversify your portfolio with different kinds of investment over time, it’s up to you to decide where you want to get started. In some countries you can move more of your pension fund into stocks, for example see the Australian advice from Industry Super.

A lot of beginners in the investing market start by reading up on the market and finding out what kind of stocks their family members have invested in in the past. You might also look at the ideas shared on public forums but be careful not to take anyone’s advice too seriously. The best way to invest in stock successfully is to do your own research and decide exactly what kind of businesses are most appealing to you.

Once you have an idea of the kind of stocks you want to deal with in mind, you can begin looking for brokerage account or website that will help you to buy stock directly. There are a lot of different brokerage accounts out there, or you can consider using investments through your 401k or 403b accounts if you’re an employed person. There’s also the option to set up dividend retirement plans, and direct stock purchase plans too.

Choosing your Stockbroker

Finally, there’s a good chance that you won’t want to go it alone when you begin to invest in stocks for the first time. Ultimately, stocks can be very confusing for beginners, and having a stockbroker by your side can reduce your risk of making any dangerous mistakes. There are two kinds of stockbroker to choose from on the market today. While full-service brokers give you recommendations intended to help you choose the right stocks for your portfolio, discount brokers just make sure that you can buy the stocks that you’re interested in.

A discounted broker allows you to do most of your trading and stock investing yourself, at a much reduced cost. This means that you do all the hard work through a brokerage website account, and you don’t get much, if any support, except for if you have any technical difficulties. The choice of broker that you go for will depend on how much assistance you think you’re going to need as you pursue your financial goals.

By Jasmina