Business simulations let you pretend you’re a tycoon, raking in money, investing carefully, and watching your empire grow! The two biggest stock exchanges in the United States are the New York Stock Exchange , founded in 1792, and the Nasdaq, founded in 1971. Today, most stock market trades are executed electronically, and even the stocks themselves are almost always held in electronic form, not as physical certificates. If you want to know how the stock market is performing, you can consult an index of stocks for the whole market or for a segment of the market. At the same time, there are literally hundreds of thousands of individuals who buy and sell corporate securities on one of the regulated stock exchanges or the NASDAQ regularly and are successful.
A profitable outcome is not the result of luck, but the application of a few simple principles derived from the experiences of millions of investors over countless stock market cycles. 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.
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. When a majority of investors are worried about a company, its stock price is likely to decline; when a majority feel positive about the company’s future, its stock price tends to rise.
Retirement calculators, ranging from the simple to the more complex including integration with future Social Security benefits, are available at Kiplinger , Bankrate , and MSN Money Similar college cost calculators are available at CNNMoney and TimeValue Many stock brokerage firms offer similar calculators. The biggest obstacle to stock market profits is an inability to control one’s emotions and make logical decisions. Before making your first investment, take the time to learn the basics about the stock market and the individual securities composing the market.
As you gain more knowledge about investments – for example, how stocks are bought and sold, how much volatility (price change) is usually present, and the difficulty or ease of liquidating an investment – you are likely to consider stock investments to have less risk than you thought before making your first purchase. If a stock has an uncommonly high yield for that industry, there is usually a reason.