Trade stocks through a licensed broker, not from a guy named Lewis who wants to be paid in cash.
A good investor always sees opportunity. For example: In a heavy downpour he’ll say “Who makes these crap umbrellas that everyone leaves scattered in the streets of New York?” Then he’ll invest in that company because people keep buying those crap umbrellas.
Buy Starbucks seven years ago.
Long-term investments are generally a better bet than short-term investments. A wise investor buys a stock, then forgets about it for 18 years. Only when his son goes off to college does he think, “Hey, I wonder how Lucent is doing?”
Don’t forget your “due diligence.” If you don’t know what that means, just casually glance at the company’s analysis on Yahoo and you’re done.
Although it helps to know what Price-to-Earnings and other figures mean, it’s not essential as sometimes they’re just made up by the company.
If you call your broker to ask about a particular company and you hear him click-clacking on his keyboard – that means he’s looking it up on Google.
Know the key difference between “Day trading” and “Sitting at the computer in your pajamas losing all your money.”
Ask your broker if a certain stock looks “uppity-doodles” or “downity-doodles.” If he doesn’t ask you what the hell you’re talking about, he’s not a good broker.
Knowing when to get out of a stock is just as important as knowing when to get in. When you see the CEO being led away in handcuffs, you probably missed the best time to sell.
A good broker will repeat your order and execute the trade, not ask “How I do that?”
A bad broker won’t stop talking about wanting to dance professionally.
Invest in companies you know, or at least companies you’ve heard a lot about. Don’t invest in companies which are invisible because you can’t see what they’re doing and you’ll never know if they went out of business.
Stocks are in a sense tiny pieces of a company. Owning even a single share lets you bully and harass the staff of that particular company’s operation and preface your complaints with “As a shareholder…” For example: “As a shareholder, I’m very upset this Home Depot is sold out of my favorite twine.”
If you’re going the discount brokerage route, stick with well-known houses like Scottrade, E*Trade, Schwab or TD Waterhouse. Avoid lesser-known brokerages like StockForce!, Let’s Do This and PhatTrade.
Buy one of the Rich Dad, Poor Dad books by Robert T. Kioyosaki. Then buy stock in paper companies like Georgia Pacific once you realize he’s contractually obligated to poop out books like that on a regular basis.
Your portfolio should contain a mixture of stocks, mutual funds, bonds and cash. When the market is acting wiggly, use the cash for scratch tickets.
The “conservative” portfolio contains reliable stocks and bonds, and tends to grow slowly with minimal risk. This is the best bet for not squandering what grandpa left you.
The “moderate” portfolio contains a mix of reliable and speculative stocks, and aims for more growth by taking on more risk. This is the best portfolio for Libras and drivers who lurch out into intersections then panic and hit the brakes.
The “aggressive” portfolio is highly risky, but has the greatest potential for gains. On the downside – you might be working at Bickford’s when you had hoped to retire.
If a company decides to incorporate Mohammed into their logo – time to sell.
Don’t get caught up in “shorting” stocks, futures or options trading – those are all things best left to an investor who knows what he’s doing.
Most important: Have fun! Investing in stocks is all about the free annual reports you’ll get and the joy of proxy voting. Remember: You can’t take it with you, but having owned JDS Uniphase when it was $125 will stick with you for eternity.