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Thread: Stocks?

  1. #1
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    Stocks?

    Hello Everyone!

    Our Company has introduced to us to a "SharePlan" Program and they are offering us to invest in Stocks. I'm interested , but I want to know more about it.
    They say you can gain more money or you can lose , it depends on how you monitor the trend in the Market , and you should how to play with it, When to Sell and When to Buy.

    Does anyone know how are Stocks played in the Stock market?
    Pls share whatever you know , the advantages and disadvantages of it.

    Thanks a Lot!

  2. #2
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    Stocks!


    Or....hang on. Wrong kind. Close though.

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    Simplest thing first, the one people tend to forget.
    Only invest money you can afford to lose.
    The price includes the emotional stress of looking at them vanishing.

    Second: even if you can afford to lose the money, if there may be a time where you need to get them out of the investment fast, DON'T put them in stocks, otherwise you'll end up selling when the stock is down, just because you need the money.

    Third: read everything you can about investing in stocks, then make a plan for how you want to do it, then follow that plan.

    Fourth: if you're tempted by daytrading, put the money in online poker, you'll lose them slower.
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    Fourth: if you're tempted by daytrading, put the money in online poker, you'll lose them slower.

    What is Online Poker?

  5. #5
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    I think it was Will Rogers who said, "Making money in the stock market is easy. All you need to do is buy before the price goes up and sell before it goes down."

    That said, there are three ways to make money in the market.
    1. Handle someone else's investments and take a fee. That way you get paid everytime you buy or sell, regardless of whether the stock does well or not.
    2. Become a successful day trader. This will require you to learn the market and watch your stocks closely and make good trades in a timely fashion. If you do this, be sure to follow Henrik's advice about using money you can afford to lose.
    3. Invest for the long term. You won't make a lot of money fast, but over time the market will go up and you will see a return.

    If you want to invest so you can pay for that vacation this summer, try 1 or 2; but be prepared to stay home this summer.

    If you want to invest to make retirement easier, try 3. Don't put all you money into one stock, no matter how good (cough)Enron(cough) it looks. Try a Couch Potato Fund... diversfied investment, little effort on your part, long term gain.
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  6. #6
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    Buy low, sell high. [/flippant]

    First, avoid advice from people who use the term "playing" with respect to the stock market. Players have money to lose.

    I've only quickly scanned this site but the pages starting here look like they cover the topics well. From here, broaden your reading.

    I'm still a few years from retirement, but I plan to fund it primarily from my own savings, most of which have been directed into stocks and equity mutual funds, and more recently, some money market funds. Together, these account for about 80% of my wealth. I invest broadly, and have had more gains than losses over 20+ years, such that I've done better this way than by putting my savings in the bank.

    While I watch the markets, I don't react to every burp and bump in the index. Many people can't stomach the ride, and sell in a panic. This illustrates the notion that the market reflects the balance between fear and greed. One of my brothers-in-law, who is a seasoned trader, has scrawled in thick felt pen across the top and bottom of his computer monitor "More fear, less greed". I only do a few trades a year based on my objectives. The money I invest is not money I need next week, or even next year. Remember, "the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay liquid." (Keynes) And yet, over a suitably long term, stock markets produce net gains.

    I'm wary of get-rich-quick schemes and I sigh when I hear someone hoping to make a lot of money without knowing what the investment is. I have a friend who earns substantially more than I do but has a weakness for "boiler room tips". He's poured countless thousands of dollars into money-losing stocks and has virtually no profits to show for his years of poor decisions. When Greed > Fear, p(loss of shirt) -> 1.

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    Those are good points Jim & Henrik .

    You see our Company , says that they are in a stable position and always part of the Top Players in the Market , so that means , they never lose so we have nothing to worry about .

    I just want to make sure that I won't regret in investing my money in stocks.
    Yeah, I need to read more information about the Stock Trading .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirlpool View Post
    You see our Company , says that they are in a stable position and always part of the Top Players in the Market , so that means , they never lose so we have nothing to worry about .
    Well, there's the warning sign Torsten mentioned, right there
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    Wow Torsten ,the link you gave is very informative , I just finished reading Step 1 and it's really helpful , especially with the Patrice & Bianca example.
    One thing I learned, I should be free of debts ( credit cards ) before investing.
    hmm.. I need to clean myself from debts then .

    Yes, Henrik , I saw that, Right after I posted .
    I have to be careful, but In a way , I trust my company but of course , nothing is permanent here on earth, especially in Stock Trading .

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    Do you want to spend hours a day researching the stock market? No? Well then you won't be able to do better than investing in stocks completely at random by throwing darts at the stock pages. Don't laugh, throwing darts at the stockpages produces better results than managed funds over time and there is plenty of evidence that supports this. Go get a historical record of share prices, pick stocks at random, and on average you will do better than probably any managed fund you can find. The best way for most small investors to put money into shares is to use an indexed share fund and leave their money in it no matter what the market does:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Index_fund

    Index funds do better than managed funds over time because the fees are so much lower (and there can be tax advantages due to the lack of churn as well). Total fees for an index fund should be under 0.5%. Total fees for a managed fund are often 2% or even higher.

  11. #11
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    For long term investors (like if you are saving for retirement, or something where you won't need the money for quite a few years), the best thing is to be diversified. A mix of stock funds, bond funds, and cash (interest bearing account).

    There's lots more to consider, but that's the basics. Generally, if you need the money in, say, 5 years, then you don't want to put that money in stocks.

    I don't know what your company is doing, but in general you don't want to own a lot of stock in the company you work for -- especially if it is money for retirement. That would put too much risk on you -- if you lose your job, you don't want to lose your savings at the same time.

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    They have ( my company) have a Lock Period of 5 Years, before we can get our money .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirlpool View Post
    They have ( my company) have a Lock Period of 5 Years, before we can get our money .
    Yeah, that was my first post in this thread...

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    Risk management is key. Technical analysis is important, you'll want to learn it. Read a shelf full of books about the stock market and trading if you want to begin to have a clue, read two shelves full if you plan on knowing what you're doing, and devote your life to it if you plan to be an expert. Always keep in mind that the people on the other side of the screen want your money and they are very, very, very smart and quite good at taking it.

    After you've learned technical analysis and are good at chart reading, watch stocks that have fundamentals you like and get used to the way they move. When you can reasonably predict what might happen figure out where you want to buy, where you want to sell (if you're going long). Before making any purchase, know ahead of time how low it will go before you sell and how high you expect it to go before you sell. If it hits either limit, sell. If it goes down and hits your low mark, sell. Period. End of story. Bail. The point is, if it hits your low mark you were wrong about the trade in the first place and you have no idea what's going on so get out. Don't wish or pray for an upswing. Don't get into the trap of thinking that it'll go up the minute you sell so why bother selling. It is inevitable that some stocks you sell will go up afterward. It doesn't matter. The point is, up or down, you've preserved what you have and haven't lost more due to a trade behaving in a way you didn't expect.

    You have to be very emotionless about trades. Set them up, make them, and get out, hopefully with a profit.

    So, all that nonsense I've written is about stock trading. Investing is entirely different and I know little about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FriedPhoton View Post
    Risk management is key. Technical analysis is important, you'll want to learn it. Read a shelf full of books about the stock market and trading if you want to begin to have a clue, read two shelves full if you plan on knowing what you're doing, and devote your life to it if you plan to be an expert. Always keep in mind that the people on the other side of the screen want your money and they are very, very, very smart and quite good at taking it.

    After you've learned technical analysis and are good at chart reading, watch stocks that have fundamentals you like and get used to the way they move. When you can reasonably predict what might happen figure out where you want to buy, where you want to sell (if you're going long). Before making any purchase, know ahead of time how low it will go before you sell and how high you expect it to go before you sell. If it hits either limit, sell. If it goes down and hits your low mark, sell. Period. End of story. Bail. The point is, if it hits your low mark you were wrong about the trade in the first place and you have no idea what's going on so get out. Don't wish or pray for an upswing. Don't get into the trap of thinking that it'll go up the minute you sell so why bother selling. It is inevitable that some stocks you sell will go up afterward. It doesn't matter. The point is, up or down, you've preserved what you have and haven't lost more due to a trade behaving in a way you didn't expect.

    You have to be very emotionless about trades. Set them up, make them, and get out, hopefully with a profit.

    So, all that nonsense I've written is about stock trading. Investing is entirely different and I know little about it.
    Well it seems that Whirlpool is describing investing.

    Just about every company I ever worked for urged its employees to buy stock in the company.

    Take a look at the 401K stuff. Many companies start sticking other stock options into employee 401K plans, most of which is quite confusing.

    ETA: I can easily imagine a corporate hired salesman going around pushing and selling stock options to employees and making it sound delicious.

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    Friedphoton , what you've written isn't Nonsense to me . I like your advise. I m going to read more about it and learn .
    My regret is , why I didn't think about investing in Stocks when I was young .
    At 36 , this is way late for me, But I'm still hopeful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirlpool View Post
    Friedphoton , what you've written isn't Nonsense to me . I like your advise. I m going to read more about it and learn .
    My regret is , why I didn't think about investing in Stocks when I was young .
    At 36 , this is way late for me, But I'm still hopeful.
    Well, look at it this way. If you really know what you're doing you could get rich in a year or two. Put your money in something safe for a couple years while you study the stock market. Set a future date before which you will not begin investing money in stocks. Learn all you can, make wise trades, and you'll catch up to where you could have been if you'd started sooner.

    The reason I say to set a future date is because as you read about stocks and trading you'll get an itch you'll want to scratch. You'll lose money, perhaps all of it, before you really understand anything. The future date will help keep you from impulsively reacting to dreams of getting rich quick.

    The stock market will still be there in two years. I'm sure you'll agree that your chances of making up for those two years will be much greater if you spend the two years educating yourself. On the other hand, if you rush in blindly, you may have nothing left in two years.
    Last edited by FriedPhoton; 2008-Apr-05 at 03:53 AM. Reason: Ripped last paragraph... too personal.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirlpool View Post
    I need to clean myself from debts then.
    Absolutely. Consumer debt, especially in the form of credit card debt, is an anchor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Torsten View Post
    Absolutely. Consumer debt, especially in the form of credit card debt, is an anchor.
    Yeah , I have One credit card I use for my extra needs and for emergencies.

    But still even if its only one, I need to settle it.

  20. #20
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    My advice is quite different from FriedPhoton's. Unless you have a huge amount of money to invest, for most people it is simply not worth the effort of becoming an expert on the stock market. Do learn about the stock market and look at what has happened to it in the past, but don't try and pick stocks. Simply invest in an index fund and leave your money in it no matter what happens to the market. Sure your investment will sometimes drop in value, but you simply take the bad with the good. Over time your investment will increase in value. If you are a financial genius, feel free to go ahead and buy and sell stocks, but most people are not financial geniuses, and most people who think they are financial geniuses aren't either. (I eat those people for breakfast with a side order of fried lamb brains. The lamb brains make up for what they lack.)

    I'd recommend saving say $5,000 and investing it in an indexed fund as soon as you resonably can, and then make regular contributions to it. The sooner you invest, the sooner you can start getting used to the stockmarket's ups and downs. You may want to keep track of how much better your index fund performs compared to a savings account. That way when the stock market does fall, you will probably be able to see that you are still better off than if you had kept the money in the bank.

    I don't really recommend diversifying, although your own house or business can be good investments. Over the long term an index share fund will tend to perform better than most other investments. Just learn to accept that the income of your shares will go up and down. I don't even recommend diversification upon retirement, as you may be retired for a very long time, long enough to gain benefits from staying in the stockmarket, and you may wish to pass on considerable wealth to others when you die.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whirlpool View Post
    Friedphoton , what you've written isn't Nonsense to me . I like your advise. I m going to read more about it and learn .
    My regret is , why I didn't think about investing in Stocks when I was young .
    At 36 , this is way late for me, But I'm still hopeful.
    Yes, 36 is better than 46, or 56. Anyway, if you can clear out your debt, you'll be ahead. If you can clear most of your debt and save some money in a bank, you'll be even further ahead. It can be surprising just how far a bit of saving can help. I wouldn't get too far into stocks until you have a margin of safety, but you might consider a little money (and I do mean a little money, not a lot!) in an investment club before that. I see investment clubs as a way to become used to the subject, not so much to make money.

    As for myself, I'm a pretty conservative investor, and I don't like to spend a huge amount of time on it. I don't think much of technical investment. I do occasionally try to buy stocks where I think I know something about the company that might not be generally accepted by the market, but generally I buy stocks and funds for long term growth, and don't worry too much about temporary shifts in the market.

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    Yes, the time to start is now. You can not make up for lost time, but you should take full advantage of what is left. Start by killing that debt.

    As Ronald has pointed out, most people are not financial geniuses, and few professionals are. So the index fund approach is the simplest and surest way to be invested in the broad equity markets, and you don't pay high profit-robbing fees. This is also noted in that series of pages to which I linked.

    I hesitate to say anything more detailed than that. Read to get a broad understanding of how things work, and avoid advice from people who are trying to sell you something. Be very skeptical of people making offers of investment schemes promising very high rates of return. At best, these people are dupes repeating hype they've heard, at worst, they are criminals.

    Stock investors are fond of saying how equity markets outperform fixed income investments in the long term. But the length of time used in the comparison is important. This chart shows the 20 year rolling average return of the S&P 500. You'll see that some 20 year periods were actually quite poor.

    Also, find out whether your country provides favourable tax treatment for some kinds of savings. In Canada, for example, when we contribute to a particular kind of account, known as a Registered Retirement Savings Plan, we are allowed to deduct the contribution from our reported income for the year (up to a prescribed limit). Further, any growth in the value of the account is tax exempt until it is withdrawn. This has huge implications for your wealth at retirement time. I believe the US equivalent is the 401(k) (I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong). Also, growth in the form of interest or dividends earned versus capital gains (the growth in the value of the stocks as recorded at the time you sell them) is taxed differently in this country.

    This may sound like a lot of stuff to know, and it is, but approach it systematically, like taking a course, and it can make a very big difference in your wealth.

  23. #23
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    I was just investigating this topic myself!

    My primary interest lies with long term investing. I am mainly interested in investing long-term as a type of savings for retirement. A regular savings acount is a type of investment instrument - it's just low risk - low return, and filtered through a bank (and FDIC insured). But, since I want to save at least 10x what the FDIC insures you for (which is $100,000) for retirment purposes , I'm looking at stock and bond investmnets.

    There are an amazing variety of financial instruments to invest in - almost as many as flavors of ice cream at the grocery store. But it basically comes down to a tradeoff between risk and interest rate.

    At the low end of the risk scale, you have bonds. Bonds are basically like being at the other end of a loan - you, through a bank or investment agency, buy a bond which stands for a percentage of a bunch of loans, entitling you to the interest and payments on the loan. The borrowing parties are legally obligated to pay you back at the given interest rate - the risk is mainly in terms of the borrower defaulting on your loan.

    Stocks are higher risk. But if you're in it for the long haul, and you avoid nasty incidents like the great depression, you can make somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% annual return with a broad enough investment fund (source: http://www.stockpickssystem.com/pf/s...et_history.htm).

    Code:
    Table:
    Decade	Average Return Per Year
    1900s	9.96%
    1910s	4.20%
    1920s	14.95%
    1930s	-0.63%
    1940s	8.72%
    1950s	19.28%
    1960s	7.78%
    1970s	5.82%
    1980s	17.57%
    1990s	18.17%
    Going off that chart, you get something like 12.89% average return and 6.06% standard deviation since 1940.

    (I'm still looking for finer data than this, probably related to the S&P500).

    But with stocks, you are basically on your own - if the companies lose money, so do you, and no one guarantees your investment value.

    In the long run, you also have to consider inflation, which offsetts your nominal interest rate. You can consider real interest to be nominal interest - inflation rate for a give year.

    Code:
    	Average	StdDev
    1937-Present	3.94	3.34
    1970-Present	4.71	2.93
    1980-Present	3.85	2.56
    1990-Present	2.91	0.89
    (raw data source: http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/I...Inflation.aspx)

    Eventually, I want to do a few monte carlo simulations involving my investment goals and what my mutual fund's historical performance has been to see the distribution of where I'm likely to end up in 20-30 years with regard to retirement.

    In any case - in the long run, it's far better to be on the recieving end of interest than the paying end - you want to have your money working for you, not you working for your debt!

    PS - Look into Roth IRAs - they're tax free - as long as you don't try to withdraw money from it before retirement.

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    (oops - double posted)

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    Oh, and start early!

    Another useful chart:
    Say you invest $1 per year with an average return given in the chart, how many dollars do you end up with? (Scale to your investment rate)

    Code:
    	Interest Rate									
    Year	1%		2%		3%		4%		5%		6%		7%		8%		9%		10%
    0	1		1		1		1		1		1		1		1		1		1
    2	3.0301		3.0604		3.0909		3.1216		3.1525		3.1836		3.2149		3.2464		3.2781		3.31
    4	5.10100501	5.20404016	5.30913581	5.41632256	5.52563125	5.63709296	5.75073901	5.86660096	5.98471061	6.1051
    6	7.213535211	7.434283382	7.662462181	7.898294481	8.142008453	8.39383765	8.654021093	8.92280336	9.200434676	9.487171
    8	9.368527268	9.754628431	10.15910613	10.58279531	11.02656432	11.49131598	11.97798875	12.48755784	13.02103644	13.57947691
    10	11.56683467	12.16871542	12.80779569	13.48635141	14.20678716	14.97164264	15.78359932	16.64548746	17.56029339	18.53116706
    12	13.80932804	14.68033152	15.61779045	16.62683768	17.71298285	18.88213767	20.14064286	21.49529658	22.95338458	24.52271214
    14	16.09689554	17.29341692	18.59891389	20.02358764	21.57856359	23.27596988	25.12902201	27.15211393	29.36091622	31.77248169
    16	18.43044314	20.01207096	21.76158774	23.69751239	25.84036636	28.21287976	30.8402173	33.75022569	36.97370456	40.54470285
    18	20.81089504	22.84055863	25.11686844	27.6712294	30.53900391	33.7599917	37.37896479	41.44626324	46.01845839	51.15909045
    20	23.23919403	25.78331719	28.67648572	31.96920172	35.71925181	39.99272668	44.86517678	50.42292144	56.76453041	64.00249944
    22	25.71630183	28.84496321	32.4528837	36.61788858	41.43047512	46.99582769	53.4361409	60.89329557	69.53193858	79.54302433
    24	28.2431995	32.03029972	36.45926432	41.64590829	47.72709882	54.864512	63.24903772	73.10593995	84.70089623	98.34705943
    26	30.82088781	35.34432383	40.70963352	47.0842144	54.66912645	63.70576568	74.48382328	87.35076836	102.7231348	121.0999419
    28	33.45038766	38.79223451	45.2188502	52.9662863	62.32271191	73.63979832	87.34652927	103.9659362	124.1353565	148.6309297
    30	36.13274045	42.37944079	50.00267818	59.32833526	70.76078988	84.80167739	102.0730414	123.345868	149.575217	181.943425

  26. #26
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    Absolutely. Consumer debt, especially in the form of credit card debt, is an anchor.
    Credit card debt is nasty! Get rid of it! Pay the thing off every single month!! A 15-20% interest loan, which is what a credit card amounts to, is practically slavery.

    I use mine for transaction security, nothing more. They're safer to use than debit cards, since illegitimate transactions can be challenged, and the credit card company will take care of the offending parties (whereas someone can drain your checking account with a compromised debit card and walk away scott free). But don't use them to borrow money - go to a bank for that!

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    I want to point something out: company investment schemes often use something called "restricted stock". It means that even if the price skyrocketed, you can't sell it for some amount of time, and it'll be measured in years.

    You need the details, in writing, before you reach for your chequebook. If you can't immediately get full disclosure in writing, give it a pass.

    A company I once worked for pulled precisely that stunt. And to my shame, I fell for it. They did not inform us ahead of time time the stock was restricted, and they also did not inform us ahead of time that they intended to use the company restricted stock offering to depress the price a bit for the following month when they issued a mass of unrestricted stock, which they snapped up at a bargain.

    My only comfort is that I didn't put in money I couldn't afford to lose, and the company share price tanked to roughly a tenth of its issue price, and stayed there until they got de-listed. Couldn't happen to a 'nicer' bunch of people.
    "Words that make questions may not be questions at all."
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    at a 2010 talk MCed by Stephen Colbert.

  28. #28
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    Some great tips and links here! (I've bookmarked fool.com, and am slowly working my way through its pages)

    I would like to learn more about index funds. There seems to be quite a few of them, and I'm wondering if some are markedly better than the others. Are there any good resources for comparing them side-by-side?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CodeSlinger View Post
    Some great tips and links here! (I've bookmarked fool.com, and am slowly working my way through its pages)

    I would like to learn more about index funds. There seems to be quite a few of them, and I'm wondering if some are markedly better than the others. Are there any good resources for comparing them side-by-side?
    I could dig out dozens of links but www.stockcharts.com has some great technical analysis tutorials and very powerful charting. It is also one of the very few places you find Point & Figure charts which are a useful way of determining supply and demand without a lot of other noise.

    Even though StockCharts is a great site and have awesome charts I've grown so accustomed to www.bigcharts.com that I still use it years after discovering StockCharts. The charting capabilities aren't as powerful but it has what I need in a format my eyes are comfortable with.

    There are great professional software packages for charting but they cost an arm and a leg. I never felt a strong enough need to buy one, although I would have loved to if they were cheaper.

    Also, a word of caution about Motley Fool. They give advice. Take all advice with a grain of salt no matter who it comes from. Never make a trade based solely on something you read there. Way too many people out there are lazy, don't want to do any work but want to get rich quick, so they take other people's advice, then lose money.

    I work with people who have enough money to mess around in the market and I shiver at the decisions I hear them making. They talk about trading stocks that I can see are horrible with a ten second glance at a chart. They're throwing their money away. It sad but it happens all the time.

    All it takes to be a stock trader is a brokerage account and money. One thing most people don't realize is that EVERYONE else in the market is against you. They are all trying to take your money from you. It's you against all of them.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,427
    All it takes to be a stock trader is a brokerage account and money. One thing most people don't realize is that EVERYONE else in the market is against you. They are all trying to take your money from you. It's you against all of them.
    Well, there is the long term positive sum situation where a company actually buys real equipment with their investment money and makes a profit - but that's in the long run.

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