While some people do buy winning tickets or a common stock that quadruples or more in a year, it is extremely unlikely, since relying upon luck is an investment strategy that only the foolish or most desperate would choose to follow. In our quest for success, we often overlook the most powerful tools available to us: time and the magic of compounding interest. Investing regularly, avoiding unnecessary financial risk, and letting your money work for you over a period of years and decades is a certain way to amass significant assets.
Here are several tips that should be followed by beginning investors.
1. Set Long-Term Goals
Before investing, you should know your purpose and the likely time in the future you may have need of the funds. If you are likely to need your investment returned within a few years, consider another investment; the stock market with its volatility provides no certainty that all of your capital will be available when you need it.
2. Understand Your Risk Tolerance
Risk tolerance is a psychological trait that is genetically based, but positively influenced by education, income, and wealth (as these increases, risk tolerance appears to increase slightly) and negatively by age (as one gets older, risk tolerance decreases). The investor who can retain a cool head and follows an analytical decision process invariably comes out ahead.
3. Diversify Your Investments
The popular way to manage risk is to diversify your exposure. Prudent investors own stocks of different companies in different industries, sometimes in different countries, with the expectation that a single bad event will not affect all of their holdings or will otherwise affect them to different degrees.
4. Avoid Leverage
Leverage simply means the use of borrowed money to execute your stock market strategy. Leverage is a tool, neither good nor bad. However, it is a tool best used after you gain experience and confidence in your decision-making abilities. Limit your risk when you are starting out to ensure you can profit over the long term.