My struggles as a beginning investor that you could learn from

How to start investing

If you are reading this article, it is likely that you are interested in investing in stock market but just don't know how to get started. You either don't know anything about investing or have been delaying opening an investing account, feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices out there.

If you are still reading, you probably can recognize one of the following thinking models and limiting beliefs that stop you from starting an investment: 'I don't have a major in finance,' 'I didn't save enough money to start investing yet,' 'I am not wealthy enough,' 'I am not smart enough,' 'I am a woman,' or 'I am a man', you name it.

If this sounds like you, then you are not alone...

That is exactly how I started – with all excuses you can imagine, without any understanding how investing works, doubting if I made the right decision to invest, with a huge fear of losing my hard-earned money and later ended up having a feeling of being completely overwhelmed by the amount of information available on investing and a huge list of brokerage companies to invest with.

It is perfectly normal to have all these feelings, yet to open yourself to this great possibility of learning and understanding how to be a do-it-yourself investor for taking full control of your money also comes with a great risk. However, as Thomas Jefferson once said, “With Great Risk Comes Great Reward,” which remains one of my favorite quotes for helping myself overcome my fears and limiting beliefs.

How to start investing

What is your true reason to start investing?

When I have a conversation with people who are just thinking about investing for the first time in stock market, very often I notice a commonality - they have very limited knowledge about how stock market works, they have heard that someone earns a living by trading stocks and they look at investing as a 'quick and easy fix' to their financial problems. If you are one of those people who are looking for a quick fix or plan to earn big money overnight, you should stop wasting your time and find someone else who can help you in your financial journey.

Related: Are you adventurous enough to start investing with only $50 today?

If you are a complete beginner at investing, you understand that success doesn't come overnight and you are determined to learn about stock market and ready to invest your time and efforts before even investing money, then I can show you how you can start quickly in a risk-free manner.

How to start investing

My first frustration

When I started, I decided to learn about investing as much as possible. I had a strong reason for that. I knew people who lost a lot of money in stock market. I decided that I did not want to be one of them. So, my approach was to learn as much as possible what investing was all about and how stock market worked.

At first, I started reading the very basic of investing trading terminology, asset classes and their differences, progressing to more advanced things. Honestly, nothing made sense to me that time. Absolutely nothing! Everything was just a bunch of words! I remember I felt so frustrated; I was on the verge of tears a few times, reinforcing my fears and limiting beliefs about my abilities to understand and learn how investing works.

I was determined to learn, so I decided to push even harder. I dedicated all my free time – my evenings, my weekends, even Friday and Saturday nights to self studying. I went to a bookstore and read all the books that I could find on the shelves in the investing section. I read books on a wide range of topics, from trading for dummies to history of stock market and even pattern trading.

The more I read, the more frustrated I felt. There are lots of information, so many investing and trading techniques, different asset classes and different approaches to investing... I felt even more confused than before I decided to learn about investing. How could you know what books are worth reading when you are just starting out?

You would be absolutely right if you would say that there are lists of the best books for beginning investors. With almost no effort, you can find that The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham and The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America by Warren Buffett are the most recommended books for new investors among many others. For instance, here is a list of The 11 Best Books For Beginning Investors recommended by Business Insider.

Personally, I found that reading these books without the very basic knowledge on how stock market works would be just inefficient. I didn't say it would be a waste of your time since you will definitely learn something. However, reading would be very rewarding with a strong knowledge base about investing.

How to start investing

What happened after months of studying...

After a few months of reading, I decided to open a brokerage account. No, I was not ready to invest money yet. I just wanted to see what a brokerage account is about and how it works in order to reassure myself that I was on the right path.

Now, in my conversations with people who have never had a brokerage account, I often notice that the majority of them think that opening an investing account is a complicated process. However, contrary to what they think, it is as easy as opening an online banking account. The opening process from start to the end can be completed online in 10-15 minutes. Some companies even allow you to transfer funds instantly and start investing.

I decided to open an account with a well-known brokerage to feel that I was on the right path with investing. I was not ready to invest money, so I needed to choose a brokerage which did not require an initial deposit to start. It was also important for me to consider a beginner-friendly company. I made the perfect decision by choosing TD Ameritrade which was recommended as an excellent firm for a newbie.

The fact that the company did not require a minimum deposit to open an account and allowed access to all their services – their websites, trading platforms, trading and research tools, free virtual trading and educational resources – was very important. Also, it did not charge inactivity or annual fees. Starting with TD Ameritrade, especially with its educational resources, was a turning point for me.

How to start investing

My turning point was...

TD Ameritrade offers one of the best educational materials for investors of any level. It is not a secret that almost any brokerage offers educational resources for free. The beauty of TD Ameritrade's resources is the presentation of the material.

Videos, articles and tests are organized in mini-courses by the level of experience of investors and also by asset class, so you don't need to worry what to watch first or next. It is also very easy to track what you have already watched or read since you will see a sign next to a video or an article. You can even see your progress percentage-wise for each mini-course, which was highly motivating for me! You can refresh your knowledge any time by watching the videos again. It is pretty convenient as it is possible for you to create your "Favorite" list for all the videos you like so that you can even have quicker access to them.

Again, the educational material is well organized for a highly-efficient learning process, which eliminates any unnecessary decision making or feeling of being overwhelmed and being lost in the material. Those people who want to get a strong knowledge base, such as investing terminology, different asset classes with their advantages and disadvantages and step-by-step instructions on how to use trading platform and tools, can benefit a great deal. It is indeed quite helpful when you don't know where to start!

How to start investing

You might probably ask a question why a brokerage firm would be interested in providing educational resources at all? This makes it very easy for their customers to learn about investing, and the more the customers trade, the more money the brokerage earns through trading commissions. It is more likely that an educated customer would stay with the company for years after opening an account in contrast to those people who came for a quick financial fix, looking at investing as a lottery or gambling.

Learning is a never-ending process at any stage of your investing journey. As you become more knowledgeable, you can try your skills without taking any risks in a simulated trading offered by TD Ameritrade. There is no commitment or money needed. It gives you a chance to test your knowledge and your emotions when it comes to trading and at the same time you will learn a trading platform. It is all risk free. As soon as you feel confident, you can transfer money into the brokerage account and start investing toward your financial goals.

You can just open a TD Ameritrade account and start learning about investing for free. If you plan to invest $3,000 or more you can take advantage of a special TD Ameritrade's offer. When you make a deposit within 60 calendar days of account opening you receive $100+ cash bonus in addition to commission-free trades fot 60 days.


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