Making money from stocks is simple if you strictly follow the do’s and don’ts of stock market investing. However, because of the lack of financial education, the majority of the investing population do what they are not supposed to ‘do’ in the market and vice-versa.
For example, the first and foremost rule to invest intelligently in stocks is to ‘not speculate’, but invest only after proper research. However, most people speculate in stocks and bet that the share price will go high in the upcoming days without any significant analysis.
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Do’s and Don’ts of Stock Market Investing for beginners.
Do’s of Stock Market Investing
Here are a few of the do’s of stock market investing that every investor should follow:
1. Get an education
This is probably the most relevant do’s of stock market investing. If you really want to become a successful stock investor, start learning the market.
It doesn’t mean that you should enroll in a college program/degree. Self-education is the best way to learn. There are tons of free information available on the internet which you access to learn the market. Moreover, if you want to get a head-start, you can also enroll in a few good online stock market investing courses. Let the learning begin.
2. Start small
If you are just starting to learn how to swim, you won’t jump in 8 ft deep water, right? Similarly, when beginning to start investing in the stock market, start small. Invest the lowest possible amount and gradually increase your investments as you get more knowledge and confidence.
3. Get started early
I cannot emphasize enough on the importance of getting started soon with your finances. Time is in your favor when you start investing early. Moreover, here you get enough time to recover even if you make some losses during the early time of your investment journey.
4. Research before investing
One of the key reasons why people do not make money from stocks is that they do not put the initial efforts before investing in the share. Every investor needs to research the company before investing. Here you need to learn the company’s fundamentals, financial statements, ratios, management and more. If you do not want to regret later, research the company first before investing.
5. Only invest what is surplus:
The stock market gives an immense opportunity to invest in your favorite companies and make money. However, there are always a few risks involved in the market, and no returns are guaranteed. Moreover, many times a bad (or bear market) may even last for years. Therefore, you should only invest the surplus money which does not affect your lifestyle even if you can’t get it out.
6. Have an investment goal
It’s easier to plan your investments (and to monitor your progress) if you have an investment goal/plan. Your goal may be to build a corpus of Rs 10 Crores in the next ten years or to build a retirement fund. Having a goal will keep you motivated and on track.
7. Build a stock portfolio
For making good consistent money from the stock market, just having two or three stocks is not enough. You need to build a winning stock portfolio of 8–12 stocks which can give you reliable returns.
8. Average out:
It’s challenging to time the market and almost impossible to buy the stock at the exact bottom and sell them at the highest point. If you’ve done it, you might be lucky. A better approach here is to Buy/Sell in ‘steps’ (unless you find an amazing opportunity which the market offer sometimes).
“Do not put all your eggs in one basket!”. The risk involved while investing in just one stock is way higher compared to a portfolio of ten stocks. Even if one or two of your stock starts performing poorly in the later scenario, it may not affect the entire portfolio too much. Your stock portfolio should be sufficiently diversified.
10. Invest for the long-term
It’s a common fact that all the veterans of the stock market who made an incredible fortune from stocks are long term investors. But why do long-term investing helps to build wealth? Because of the power of compounding, the eighth wonder of the world. If you want to build massive wealth from the market, invest for the long-term.
Don’ts of Stock Market Investing:
11. Don’t take investing as gambling
Let me repeat this in simple words- “INVESTING IS NOT GAMBLING!”. Do not buy any random stock and expect it to give you two times return in a month.
12. Don’t invest blindly on free tips/recommendations
The moment you open your trading account, you’ll start getting free messages on your phone with BUY/SELL calls. But remember, there is no FREE lunch in this world. Why would anyone send a stranger free tips for multi-bagger stocks? Never invest blindly on free tips or recommendations that you receive, no matter how appealing they may sound.
13. Don’t have unrealistic expectations:
Yes, many lucky guys in the market have made 400–500% return on their single investment. However, the truth is that these kinds of news get quickly circulated (and inflated).
Have realistic expectations while investing in stocks. A return between 12–18% in a year is considered good in the market. Moreover, when you compound this return over multiple years, you will get way higher returns compared to 3.5% interest on your savings account.
Further, do not assume that you can get the same profits as others, who might be investing in stocks from many past years and may have acquired an amazing skill set. You can also get similar returns, but only after enough knowledge and practice.
14. Don’t over trade
When you are trading frequently, you are repeatedly paying for the brokerage and other charges. Don’t buy/sell the stocks too often. Take confident decisions and make transactions only when necessary.
15. Don’t follow the herd
Your colleague purchased a stock and made 67% returns from it within a year. Now, he’s boasting about it, and many of your office-mates are buying that stock. What would you do next? Should you buy the stock? Wrong!
No investor can get significant success from the market by following the herd. Do your own research, rather than following the crowd.
16. Avoid psychological biases/traps
There are a lot of physiological biases while investing that can adversely affect your investment decisions and your ability to make effective choices. For example- Confirmation Bias, Anchoring bias, Buyer’s Remorse, Superiority trap, etc.
Most of these biases are pre-programmed in human nature, and hence it might be a little difficult to notice them by the individuals. Anyways, knowing these biases can help you to avoid them causing any serious damage. Moreover, a good thing regarding these biases is that — like any habit, you can change or get over them by practice and efforts.
17. Don’t take unnecessary risks
Investing all your money in a hot stock/industry to get a little higher return is never a wise move. Safeguarding your money is equally important than getting high returns. You should never take unnecessary risks while investing in stocks and your ‘risk-reward’ should always be balanced.
18. Don’t make emotional decisions
The human mind is very complex, and there are many factors both internal and external that can affect the choices we make. While investing in the stock market, do not take emotional decisions. No matter how much you like a company, if it is not profitable and doesn’t have a bright future potential, it may not be the right investment decision. Do not get emotional while making your investment decisions.
In this post, I tried to cover the do’s and don’ts of stock market investing for beginners. However, this is just a guide and not a manual. You will learn more do’s and don’t through your personal experiences when you start investing on your own.