Well, I became a stock trader this week! That's right, I took that plunge into the world of investing. This was not a decision I made on a whim mind you, I had been following the markets, commodities, and trends over the last year or so consistently and knew what I wanted to start with and why.
Yes, it was a very exciting thing to do but the most amazing thing about it was how extremely quick and easy it is to commit to invest or for the faint of heart or uneducated, how quickly it is to lose your money. Before going further, I would like to suggest to anyone who gets the bug to invest for yourself the fruits of your labor, to really watch and to a degree, study the market and talk to friends and/or colleagues with more experience before you jump in. Knowledge is invaluable.
Technologically, it was so fast, I basically was able to start trading within one hour! I had already seen my target stock fall within the past week when the market took a downturn and when the market tried to rally in the previous days, this stock did not make a comeback as quick as the others. I had been watching it and it was already on its way back up though. Actually, I was expecting it to move toward it's previous high and since it was on its way I didn't want to pass up a confident position.
After I decided it was the time, I did some quick google searches on some online trading companies and gauged peoples opinions. After seeing that most opinions were pretty similar, I then checked out which had the lowest charges on commissions when trading. Free was available but for a certain level of trading that as a beginner, I wasn't going to be moving at for quite a while. I made my choice on one of the lower charging discount brokers, 7 dollars a trade.
From that point, I hit their site and registered. I had to read and agree to a lot of legal stuff before I could open the account and then needed to link it to a bank account which I was going to directly transfer money from in order to make my trade. That took a few agreements as well that I had to read through and then a few online security checks. For example, I had already done some banking with my chosen bank account online so I trusted this discount broker with my online login information for that bank account and after doing that, the ownership and funds for trading were approved and confirmed in a matter of minutes!
So from there the funds were not in my trading account yet but the availability was checked out and approved. I had told the discount broker (his site really) I wanted to transfer a certain amount from my bank account to them for trading, chosen that stock I had been eyeing and initiated the trade for the amount I wanted. As I eluded to earlier, this was all done within an hour's time. The internet made it so easy and I was now a partial owner of a company that I had faith was going to start earning returns torward my future.
From an emotional standpoint I have to say it was an exhilerating experience and I felt my heart racing and my mind questioning what I had done because it all was initiated and done so quickly. Investments all start with a good chunk of one's savings and for me that was no different. I probably started out with about 5% of my savings so it was a move that I didn't take lightly.
On that idea of investing for the future, this broker, and I would suspect most of them, have a wide range of research programs open to the user as well as flashy items like a stock ticker and graphs and charts to keep track of your current investments and potential investments. It's a great deal of fun and excitement tempered with realism and seriousness because you realize it is your future you are dealing with not to mention real money. There are a wide variety of tools though for making wise trades and keeping track of potential moves you want to make in the future. All in all the speed that you can make a trade as well as the short time it takes to get started are great but do your research, make sure you have an understanding of what you are doing, and “don't put all your eggs in one basket” and don't invest all your money at once and in one thing.
I can't reitterate enough how awesome the internet is for investment research and how fast you can lose your money if you don't know what you are doing. I can tell you that on the internet and from your broker are many invaluable tools for making your investment decisions but the most important one is the one you were born with, your brain, don't forget to use it when you prepare to invest and as they say in the investment biz, you should have many happy returns.