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How To Invest In The Stock Market For The Very First Time

Over half the American population has some sort of investment in the stock market. For anyone who didn’t major in economics or simply doesn’t have a strong grasp of investing, entering the stock market can feel downright daunting. However, you shouldn’t let a lack of familiarity deter you from investing, as now is a great time to invest for long-term growth and security. Instead, read up on the top ways to invest in the market for the very first time…

Photo: Shutterstock/NicoElNino

Mutual Funds And ETFs 

The great part about these two options is that they are usually managed by a professional firm or broker, such as Fidelity or Charles Schwab. This means there are people available to advise investors, which can be reassuring to people who are new to the market.

A mutual fund is essentially a pool of money from different investors that is used to buy multiple stocks or bonds. In other words, the money is not all spent on one particular item. This is generally a very safe form of investing, because some of the aspects of the fund may decrease in value, while others grow over time. These aspects tend to even each other out over time.

An ETF is an exchange-traded fund. They are still a collection of securities, such as stocks, but they are tied directly to the stock exchange. This way investors can enjoy monitoring them often, just like they would with a single stock investment. Again, the benefit of an ETF is that it spreads the investment out over a number of securities, so that the investor isn’t relying on a one or just a few possibilities.

Photo: WikiMedia Commons/Old Dominion University

Individual Stocks

For new investors who have done some research, or who feel ready to take a bigger risk, individual stock investments are another option.

This can be both overwhelming and thrilling due to the simultaneous financial risk and potential. With market fluctuations and unpredictability, it can be tough for an investor to gauge long-term growth or success of a single investment. The flip side to this is that the initial investment has a large growth potential, should the stock perform well.

For newer investors, using a broker or investment company here can be very helpful and reassuring. Companies such as TD Ameritrade or E-Trade offer a variety of tools for investors to make informed decisions. Keep in mind, however, that these two companies have very different fee structures, so be sure to thoroughly research each firm to learn their fees and minimum investment requirements. In contrast to using a company to invest, another possible option is to purchase the stock directly from the parent company – if that is an available offering.

There are also many Apps that new investors can use that link directly to bank accounts, and can easily be monitored on mobile technology. Apps such as Acorns and Robinhood can help beginners learn the ins and outs with simplified investment options, low or no commissions, and minimal investments.


No matter what form of investing is right for you, the one certainty is that the sooner you start investing, the greater your long-term gains will be. Thus, the time to get started is now, and it’s easier than you think.