Stock Trading Is One of the Most Lucrative Forms of Investment

stock trading

Stock trading is one of the most lucrative forms of investment. You make passive income by betting on the performance of a company that you are not involved in daily running. However, before you start investing in stocks and shares, you need to learn the basics of stock trading and how you can make money from this form of investment.

Learn About Stocks and Shares

Take your time to learn about stocks and shares and how the stock market works. For starters, it is better to start with stocks because they are less complicated than shares. Stock is a general term for equities sold at a stock market, while shares refers to owning a piece of a particular company.

There is plenty of free educational resources that you can use to learn about stocks and shares. What’s more, the best brokers offer free education to investors and have knowledgeable and experienced staff who will advise you on the best stocks. You can also practice virtual trading before investing real money into stocks.

Find A Reliable Online Broker

To trade in stocks, you need to open a stock account with an online brokerage firm. Brokerage firms range from small upstarts to established brokers with a large portfolio of investment options.

Take your time to research the best trading platforms in terms of customer experience and commission fees by reading online reviews and consulting experienced investors. Compare the fees charged by different brokers. Check whether they provide investor training, ease of using their website or app, and the investment options they offer.  

Buy Your First Stocks

After finding a suitable brokerage firm, open an account and transfer money from your bank account. Most online brokers have very low minimum deposit requirements, so you can start by investing as little as $200.

Only invest money from your savings because stock trading is a long-term investment that you can’t recoup in a few months. Don’t use funds that are budgeted for near-term expenses such as electricity bills or rent.

It takes time for the funds to transfer and become available for trading. However, some brokers allow you to trade while the transfer is being processed while others require you to wait for a few days. Once the money is available, select the stock or share you want to buy and place an order.

Market and Limit Orders

Typically, the brokerage firms give you several investment options, but there two common types of orders you can use to buy or sell stocks.

Market order: instructs the broker to buy or sell the stock at the best price available on the market.

Limit order: requires the broker to buy or sell stocks at prices better than the specific price you set.

Bundled Stocks

If you are not sure which stocks to buy, you can invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). ETFs are bundled stocks that allow investors to buy stocks of different companies. The large portfolio protects investors from exposure to wild fluctuations in share prices.

Risk Tolerance

Stock trading comes with risk because you can make or lose money on the stock markets. You need to have some level of risk tolerance because sometimes a stock may plummet to unprecedented levels due to some odd events. If you panic and sell the stock, you might lose money only for the stock to rebound in a few months’ time.

You can start by selecting safe stocks whose prices have been stable for the past five years. Later on, when you start making profits, you can try the riskier stocks, such as promising startups or undervalued stocks.

Learn to Analyze Stocks

If you are to engage in stock trading on the long term, you need to learn more about the dynamics that determine stock prices. Your first stock buys may be informed by advice from your broker, but you should be more proactive about future buys.

Learn about stock valuations by analyzing the performance of different stocks. Use publicly available information such as earnings reports, financial reports, and analysis by reputable financial analysts to gauge the performance of different stocks.

Your broker may chip in with information about the major performance indicators and risk ratings of different companies, so you don’t have to do the calculations. However, you should understand the meanings of different ratios and other metrics used in analyzing stocks. Further, take time to learn the core business of different companies so that you can determine if their model is sustainable.

Tax Implications of Stock Trading

Income from stocks attracts capital gain taxes. Typically, the amount of tax levied reduces if you hold a stock for more than a year. You can also invest some of your salary in stocks as a part of the retirement savings. The benefit of salary-based investments is that they are deducted from income before tax, reducing the tax burden.

Don’t Make These Top 5 Money Mistakes

money mistakes

We all make mistakes with our finances from time to time – we’re only human after all! While we may have the odd slip from time to time, there are a few major money mistakes that you need to avoid to prevent yourself from falling too deep. By slightly changing your money habits, you can avoid these mistakes and save yourself some serious cash.

1. Making Too Many Minimum Repayments

When it comes to hefty debts, it can feel impossible to shift. It may be tempting to pay off just the minimum amount each month, but this head-in-the-sand strategy will mean that you are left paying interest for much longer, resulting in a higher overall bill. While it is acceptable to pay the minimum when necessary, you should try to pay more than the minimum on the majority of occasions to save you more money in the long run.

2. Not Checking Your Bank Statements

Checking your statements has become a lot easier in recent years, thanks to the introduction of online banking and banking apps, which means there is no excuse for not keeping track. Despite how easy it is to check your statements, many people just look at the big number to see how much cash they have left. It’s a good idea to look through and see where your money is going and spot any mistakes.

3. Not Checking Your Credit File

Not only is it easy to check your bank statements, but you can also check your credit file for free through Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. It’s essential to keep an eye on your rating and spot any areas for improvements or mistakes, as they could affect your credit applications in the future. While it’s best to have a good credit score that is well maintained, there are credit options available for poor credit, such as no credit check loans or guarantor loans.

4. Not Having an Emergency Fund

Life can be unpredictable when you least expect it, so even if you feel like you are living within your means, this could be dashed at any time. It’s worth putting money aside when possible to help cover any unexpected costs, like a broken boiler or emergency car repairs. In theory, you should aim to have a few months of living expenses in an accessible account, but anything you can put aside may help. Without an emergency fund, you may need to borrow money, but it’s always best to use your own cash where possible.

5. Not Switching Providers

From banking to utilities, there is something to be said for switching providers. In days gone by, there may have been some benefit in being a long-term customer, but these days, new customers tend to get the best deals and options. You should use price comparison sites to work out whether it would be beneficial for you to switch bill or banking providers to get more affordable prices. You can even call your current providers and explain why you are thinking about leaving, as many may miraculously drop the prices for you.

For more support and information on money mistakes, please visit the Money Advice Service.

Is Now a Good Time to Buy a House?

a Good Time to Buy a House

The real estate market is a bit complicated given the current climate and if you’re not financially prepared for the process, it can be a hassle. Surprisingly, home sales are at their highest right now and have risen by 23% compared to last year.

However, prices are sky high and it’s safe to say that there are a lot of people ready to pay any offer laid on the table.  Even though prices are rising, it’s still important to consider all the factors before deciding that it’s a good time to buy the house.

The Good

Let’s first take a look at what advantages buyers can expect in the current real estate market.

Mortgage and Down Payment

Estimates by industry experts indicate that mortgage rates are likely going to remain low. However, the also claim that, even though the interest rate remains low, homeowners should not try to save on the down payment.

It can be very tempting to try and put down a minimal down payment while relying on the interest payments. However, by putting 10% down, paying the interest payments becomes a lot more manageable.

The Bad

Here are some of the challenges that buyers face under the current market conditions

Risk-Averse Banks

While the conditions may seem favorable for buying a house, banks are being extra cautious in this moment at time. Their cautious nature means that they’re becoming a lot more stringent with mortgage approvals.

It can be a tough time for people wanting to buy a house with smaller down payment as most buyers are coming in with ready cash. Banks will also tend to favor clients that are making a larger down payment as it’s a risk averse strategy.

High Competition and Prices

Not only are banks being stingier, the current market is one where the demand for homes remains high and the supply is low. That essentially means that the market currently favors seller.

The difference in demand and supply, also mean that the price of the homes goes up significantly. Not only are there very few houses on the market, the ones that are for sale will cost quite a significant sum!

What to Consider Before Buying a Home

It’s important to take into consideration your own financial situation before making the leap and buying a home. There are three key questions that every homeowner needs to ask themselves before investing in a house.

Are You Ready To Put Down Your Roots?

Buying a house essentially means that you’re going to settle down and live in the place for a live. Take into consideration your current lifestyle, relationships, and goals before moving into a new location. The ideal situation is you’ll live in a house long enough for the value to increase and offset the costs of buying and selling.

How’s Your Current Financial Situation?

Before making the major move, it’s essential that you asses your current financial situation. That means taking a look at your savings, credit score, and debt. Find ways to generate extra income. If they’re all in a healthy position, then you’re in the right position to buy a house.

Is Your Job Secure?

Lastly, once your mortgage application is approved there’s no going back. You’re going to need to make the monthly payments otherwise you’d default. That’s why it’s crucial to assess your job security before making any attempt at investing in a house. If you can see yourself working comfortable for the next couple of years, only then it’s a good idea to buy a house!

Summary

Buying a house during this time isn’t impossible or a big deal if you plan smartly and organize your finances in a proper way. You shouldn’t only look at the market but analyze your own financial situation objectively before trying to buy a home.

Related Reading: 5 Tips for Budgeting Together as a Couple

4 Ways to Help You Boost Your Retirement Savings

Boost Your Retirement Savings

Planning for retirement is something that anyone can do. Whether you’re a fresh graduate who just landed their first job or a long-time worker nearing retirement, you should boost your retirement savings. If your company offers a 401k, you’ll have accumulated a decent chunk of change over your career that you can cash out upon retirement. However, if you want to maintain your current lifestyle after retirement, you’re going to have to do a bit of planning. and self-moderated retirement investment while you’re still of working age.

Here are 4 ways to help you boost your retirement savings so you can retire in comfort.

1. Set a final goal and milestones along the way

It doesn’t matter what you’re working toward, you’ll get the best results if you know exactly what your goal is. Just saying you want to boost your retirement savings isn’t enough.

First, come up with a number that you think will allow you to live in comfort after retirement. It’s alright to use your current cost-of-living as a yardstick. You just add or reduce as you think is necessary for the quality of living you’re aiming for post-retirement.

The next step is to calculate how much money you need to put aside each month to reach that goal by the time you retire. If you’re planning on retiring early, you’ll have to put a lot more money into your savings every month. Experiment with the calculations until you find an amount that you can afford to save every month that won’t drastically negatively impact your quality of life today.

2. Start saving as early as possible

Due to the way compound interest works, it’s best to start saving as soon as possible. For example, a 25-year-old who puts in $50 a month will have roughly as much money saved up by retirement age as a person who puts away $100 a month in savings but started at 35 years old.

If you’re already putting some money away every month in a retirement account, stick with it! Consistency over time is key to achieving your retirement goals and boosting savings. And if you haven’t started saving, do it now! Every day you put off not opening a savings account will increase the money you have to invest each period in order to reach your retirement savings goal.

3. Save your extra funds

In life, there will be times when you’ll find yourself with some extra money. Whether you’ve received an inheritance or just got a raise, don’t forget to stash extra funds into your savings. It can be tempting to splurge that extra money on something fun and fancy. Try to put at least half of it away in your retirement savings. Treat yourself with something small and affordable. If you just got a raise, then go ahead and spend some of that extra money on something nice. Just remember to always work toward your retirement goal.

4. Delay your Social Security payment as long as possible

In America, you’re qualified to start receiving your Social Security retirement benefits from the age of 62. However, the longer you delay pulling from your Social Security savings, the more money you stand to earn.

For each year until the age of 70, your monthly benefit from Social Security will increase. If you’re able and willing to continue working past 62, every year you delay retirement will significantly affect your total benefits from Social Security. This also means greater survivor benefits for your spouse, which is another key factor to keep in mind when considering retirement.

Related Reading: How to deal with debt in retirement