We have all read of people claiming they have gained millions of dollars in the stock market or articles that say put in $200 and gained a million. Some of these are true, but remember, these are rare occurrences. Still, many dream that it could happen to them, too. If you're a dreamer... buy a lottery ticket or go to the ponies... your chances are better! If you're ready to do just a little work... read on. There are lots of folks with a bit of money who think of the stock market and investment and then think of a friend who got "Madoffed". Don't be paralyzed! There is more out there than just stocks in investment, and just a little effort is really worthwhile. Investment is about your retirement, your family's welfare, your children's education, your health and everything important to you. In short, it is your life. Swallow the fear. Take back the responsibility. Empty the mattress or pillow case and let's look at what we learned in the last year, and what makes sense now. Where to start?
Educate yourself. Start with an area you know very well. Cars! What's hot and what's not and who's next? If you work in the health sector, start there. Chances are you already know a lot about the companies in your sector. Read and research the many articles and websites you come across. What's in the pharmaceutical pipeline? What care services will expand? Will rail services grow... hmmmmm. Who will do well when we finally rebuild roads and other infrastructure? Find a mentor. Among your circle of friends and relatives, there are always one or two who have done this before. Their experience will be useful. Meet with your bank's financial adviser and ask your questions. This service is free.
Assess your current resources. Start with your financial resources but do not stop here. You have your personal resources that you can mine to provide you the best life offers. Take good care of your resources and make them grow. Your best investment is yourself. Invest in it first before you spend a dime of your paycheck.
Set your goals. Start with the basic things you need such as a house, a car, education or other "must haves". Seeing your goals as clear as a laser is key. Then, without even being conscious of it, you just do the steps you have identified. Make it simple, clear and achievable. And really look hard at needing a car. If there is ANY other transport... really think about the alternate costs!
Create an Investment Action Plan. Based on your goals, identify the things you need to make your goals come true. Of these goals, which ones do you need to do first? Find that one step which when done will yield you the best results. Which of these do you already have the resources to do right now? Remember timing is everything. As well, include the best strategies you can think of to reach your goals. Sometimes, these strategies can be grouped or executed simultaneously. You may want to check out the DRIP (Dividend Reinvestment Plan) if you are the type who does not want to actively engage in your investment. With DRIP, you choose a few quality companies with substantial dividends and just buy their shares. Your dividends will just keep buying new shares, and when the shares go down, your dividends will buy more shares. When the stock goes up, you can partake of capital gains. Know your own risk tolerance. As you get more courage, you can try out the riskier investments.
Implement your plan and review it regularly. Take responsibility. OK... now we are into old values... but we are so comfortable in today's world with feeling we are entitled... or everything is the Government's job....or somebody else should protect me. Believe me... those values will have you crashing with the market next time... and there will be many next times. The investment market changes constantly. It is dynamic. This does not mean you focus on your computer screen the whole day watching your stocks as they go up and down. This is why you have a plan. And also why you set regular times to review it based on your own risk tolerance.
Remember, your investment is only a facilitator of the values important to you. You need always to have your values clear, or you will be pursuing wealth at their expense. Some know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Get your goals clearly in front of you and manage to get there.