Your Questions About Investing For Beginners

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Chris asks…

How much did you start investing with and what’s the minimum?

How much did you personally start investing on the stock markets with and how did you start off investing?

Also is there a minimum you have to invest with or enter the stock exchange with – say for example if someone walked into a stock exchange with $1 (either in their pocket or in net worth), apart from being laughed at would they actually be allowed in?

Justin answers:

I started with $500 and subscribed to a monthly newsletter for my first stock picks and budgeted additional funds each paycheck. I really can’t remember how much, maybe a hundred bucks a month…

At the time, the internet was not available as a timely source for information like it is now, so snail mail brought the newsletter to my house once a month. This is when I learned not to listen to other people about which stocks to buy.

Books are a terrific way to start and I would recommend How to Make Money in Stock by William J. O’Neil. It’s a good one because it tells you what kind of fundamentals to look for in a stock, a bit about how to look for patterns in stock charts and how to protect your capital. It’s the first book I read when I started my stock trading and a very good start for stock investing or trading.

It would be best to have a bit of a chunk of money to start – good point from the other fellow about commission fees can eat into your profits and your capital at lower starting capital values. I would save up $100 and buy only one stock for that very reason.

While you are saving, you can be reading about investing. Additionally, one of the first things is to pay attention to when you start to invest is money management/risk. While you are learning, be careful about how much you trade so you don’t lose too much money. Another great thing to do is “paper trade” as you begin to learn strategies. That’s basically where you keep a fake portfolio of your trades. Yahoo Finance offers this service.

I recommend going ahead and opening an account with Share Builder or Buy and Hold (no minimums) when you’re ready, to gain access to stock market information and tools you can use as you begin the stock investing process. You can also familiarize yourself with the broker’s trading platform so when you begin to trade you’ll have familiarity with how a trade is placed and have access to any resources related to the beginner investor.

Michael asks…

What is a good beginners harmonica? And whats a good way to learn how to play it?

I want to start to learn how to play the harmonica but firstly i dont have a harmonica can you suggest me some good choices for beginners please? Plus are there any good video / sites to learn how to play?

Justin answers:

The Hohner Special 20 is definitely the harmonica to choose. It has a plastic comb which is great because unlike a wooden comb (such as the one on the Marine Band) the plastic comb doesn’t absorb as much moisture and will last you much, much longer. The Hohner Special 20 is a diatonic harmonica, which is the kind that most people start on and is also much more affordable. I would suggest a Special 20 in the key of C, which is mostly the key that people start on, but once you get better you can start investing in a few different keys (such as A and D, normally purchased after the C).
A few great websites to learn from and find information about harmonica from are:
http://www.volcano.net/~jackmearl/
On the top of this page you will see lessons from 1 thru 10 and it will lead you through all the basics of harmonica and this site also provides lots of songs for you to practice.
Http://www.harptabs.com/
This site has a wide selection of harmonica tabs (music) for you to choose from.
Good luck! 🙂

Thomas asks…

Im turning 18 soon and want to start investing. What’s the best way, what should i do, who to get help from?

I just want to know everything there is to start investing and the process. Also, certain firms or people that can help me start investing and help create portfolios and such. I’ve read a lot of articles but still get confused. Thank You for the input.

Justin answers:

Before you invest in any security, the first investment you should make is in yourself, and the best investment you can make is by educating yourself.

Start your education by learning why you should invest and the importance of being able to make your own decisions or what the pro’s make theirs.
Start by reading,
What Works on Wall Street by James O’Shaunessey
Beating the Street by Peter Lynch
One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch
The Warren Buffett Way by Robert Hagstrom
Trading For a Living by Alexander Elder
Mastering the Trade” by John Caster
How to Make Money in Stocks” by William O’Neil
The Disciplined Trader by Mark Douglas

Get into the habit of making daily visits to some websites like MSN Money and Yahoo Finance. (http://moneycentral.msn.com/home.asp http://finance.yahoo.com/ )
While at MSN following the strategy lab analysts to get a feel for what the pros are doing and why. This site has some basic information for beginners. If any site offers free information, take it.

Other website that can provide instructions and help with procedures and terminology are
Investopedia – http://www.investopedia.com/ Stock Charts – http://stockcharts.com/
Other – http://www.investorshub.com/ http://www.1source4stocks.com/

Visit some of the more professional websites like Zacks – http://www.zacks.com/
Smart Money – http://www.smartmoney.com/ Schaeffer’s – http://www.schaeffersresearch.com/

Some of these web sites will have advertisers who are worth looking into also. And remember, if they offer free information, get it.

Attend all the free seminars you can, just be careful and don’t get pressured into anything you really don’t want or need. Most schools offer courses in finance and economics, but very few will have courses on the mechanics of the investment markets, if they do try taking the course. You may want to consider on-line courses, the New York Institute of Finance use to have such courses. Try to get some fee information from the stocks exchanges they all have (had) free booklets, SIAC and some of the regulators (FINRA SEC MSRB CBOE) may provide some free literature.

What do you need to go into the market?
1 – A written sound trading/investment plan with rules that will not only help you but more importantly protect you, mostly from yourself.
2 – Sufficient trading/investment capital. Use your own money, there’s no need to go into debt so that you trade/invest.
3 – A written money management program in place. Remember never invest 100% of your capital into any one security and never have 100% of your capital invested.
4 – A full and complete understanding of the rules & regulations of the industry.

You at least have made the right decision to start investing, this is the first big step and it won’t be your last. Keep taking those steps forward and along the way never take the advice from people that are not in the market or try to tell you not to invest.

Good luck on your journey

Paul asks…

What’s a good camera to invest in for a beginner photographer?

I want to start taking pictures and I need some advice on a good camera to get for a beginner photographer. I’m trying trying to get a super nice one since I’m just starting. Not really a normal digital one either. Like something in between?
I don’t know much about good prices for cameras…I guess price range doesn’t matter.

Justin answers:

I assume from the way you phrased your question that you are looking to do more than just take snapshots of friends, you are looking to make interesting and creative images. That means being able to take control of the process of imagemaking. To begin doing this, you need to learn about aperture, shutter speed, and film/sensor speed, and how the three interact to make an image, as well as how to control aspects of that process to make the image appear exactly how you want it. To that end, the best camera for a beginner in photography to invest in is an old fully manual 35mm SLR film camera with a 50mm non-zoom lens, one where you have to set the aperture and the shutter speed for each shot, and you have to move around, get close to your subject, and compose your image carefully.

The bad news is that you will have to pay for film and processing. Kodak makes a film called BW400CN, which is a black and white film that can be processed at any one hour photo lab. It costs about ten bucks for three rolls of 36 shots each. Each roll costs five to seven bucks to get processed with a set of prints and a cd that has scans of your images. Using film makes you be more careful and more selective with your shots, and it makes you take more time to make sure you get them right.

The good news is that since so many people have switched to digital, even really really nice film cameras are extremely cheap. You can get nice ones on craigslist for 100 bucks or so, or you can spend a bit more to get one used from a shop, where it has a return policy and it has been inspected to make sure it works properly. Whatever you get, make sure it is fully manual. There are a few slrs out there on the market that only shoot in program, shutter priority, or aperture priority modes, which aren’t recommended for beginners.

There are loads of great older 35mm slrs out there, but I recommend getting either a Nikon or a Pentax, because they are the only ones that allow you to use the same lenses on old manual film cameras as well as their new digital slrs. You can’t go wrong with the Pentax K1000 or ME, or the Nikon FA, FM2n, FM3a, or any of the F models. Make sure that the camera you get comes with a 50mm lens, and make sure that lens will go to at least f2, f1.8, or f1.4. Avoid zoom lenses, as they teach beginners bad habits. I personally buy all of my cameras and lenses from www.keh.com, but you should always shop around to find the best quality at the best price.

Good luck!

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