Investing in the stock market is just one of the many ways in which you can invest your money. However, there are many different stock exchanges, many different financial markets and sectors, and many different ways in which you can invest in those exchanges, markets, and sectors. Therefore, how do you get started?
As with any potential investment, it is very important that you educate yourself and/or seek the help of a professional before diving into the investment head first. The whole purpose of investing is that you want a monetary return. As such, if you jump into an investment without first learning what it is you are doing, you stand to lose a lot of money.
Once you feel you are prepared with a general knowledge of the stock market and with the various investments, your next step is to pick a stock or a combination of stocks in which to invest. This is easier said then done. There are literally thousands of different stocks in which you can invest and many different ways in which to invest into those stocks. Therefore, where do you start? In my opinion, the best place to start is to start with what you know. If you have a great understanding of the financial world, you should take a look at financial stocks. If you have a great understanding of computers and technology, you should take a look at technology stocks.
It is important to note that although you should start in the sector in which you are the most familiar, that does not automatically mean that this is the sector in which you should invest. Sometimes, market conditions prevent a particular sector (for example, the financial sector during the subprime mortgage fallout) from being a “good” investment during the current time. As such, you should look around similar sectors in which your knowledge will still help but that will also provide for a “better” investment. Remember, you are trying to make money not take a gamble on an “okay” stock.
If you are just starting out in the investment world, you may want to invest only a small amount of money so that, while becoming adjusted to the learning curve, you do not lose much money (if you do lose money). Take it slow at first, and when you build enough confidence and knowledge, increase your investment dollars as you see fit.
Get educated, start with what you know, and take it slow, and you should find success in the stock market.