Do your research. Before buying any stocks, thoroughly research the company. Study its financial history and how the stocks have performed over the last ten years. Earnings and sales should have increased by 10% over the prior year, and the company's debt should be less. If you have difficulty understanding the information, talk to a financial advisor or broker with a good track record in stock investing.
If the price to earnings ratio of any particular stock is in excess of 40, do not buy it. These kind of ratios are just so high, that the stock is not only a bad value today, but will likely be so for a long time. Investing in stocks like these is just throwing money away, which defeats the whole point of investing in the first place.
Prior to placing funds with a professional broker, be sure you conduct sufficient research into their background. It's not that you would find an outright crook, although that is a distinct possibility. But what you're really looking for is the highest possible level of competence.
When picking stocks, find a strategy you enjoy and stick with it. For instance, you may choose to ignore the market's behavior for the most part and focus only on a company's earnings potential. Once you settle on a personal set of rules, you can seek out prominent investors or financial gurus who share your philosophy, and you can learn from them.
When meeting with your financial advisor, leave your usual conceptions of time at the door. When he or she talks to you about short-term goals with your portfolio, it is in the range of five years. Your long range goals would be retirement, and medium range goals could be, possibly a new house or putting a child through college.
The are two methods that can be used to buy stocks. The first way is to purchase stocks through Dividend Reinvestment Plans or Direct Investment Plans. Since not all companies offer a Dividend Reinvestment Plan or Direct Investment Plan, the other way to purchase stocks is by using a brokerage house. When it comes to brokerages, there are full service brokerages and discount brokerages. If money is not a consideration, full service brokerages offer more assistance than the discount brokerages.
Rebalance your portfolio quarterly. If you started with an 80/20 mix of stocks and bonds, the stocks will likely outpace the bonds, leaving you 90/10. Rebalance to 80/20 so that you can reinvest your stock earnings into bonds. This way you keep more of your earnings over the long run. Also rebalance among stock sectors, so that growing sectors can fuel buying opportunities in bear cycle industries.
It is generally better to invest in a limited number of positions that you are confident in, rather than to invest in many different companies. For example, if you like the way telecom companies have been performing, and if there are four companies that appeal to you, take the time to determine which stock is the best and most cost effective. Rather than invest in all four companies, you should invest only in the company that you believe is the best.
When you set out to find a stockbroker, know that there are three distinct choices you can choose from. The most expensive are full-service brokers, which will charge you more. But, also give you strong recommendations and good advice. Discount brokers are cheaper but offer less service and knowledge to you. Online brokers give you little human interaction but a technology-based way to buy cheaply and trade stocks on your own.
If you have a broker, and you disagree with something how to trade stocks that he says there is nothing wrong with that. You always have the power to disagree considering it is your money that is at risk. Be wise and do not disagree with a broker that has made you a lot of money in the past.
Be wary of high-risk investments. If you plan on making these kinds of investments, make sure that you only use capital that you can afford to lose. This is generally around 10% of your monetary assets. Around five percent is safer. Calculated risks can be good, particularly when the market is on the rebound making many valuable stocks under-priced.
Be prepared for the long haul. Serious and successful traders consider a stock's long-term possibilities in both bull and bear markets. Patience is an absolute must if you are going to be able to resist the urge to part with stocks prematurely. If you panic-sell a stock and it rises higher, you're only going to be sorry.