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RiverMonsters's avatar

How do I go about investing for the first time?

Asked by RiverMonsters (7points) April 29th, 2013

My teacher gave us a fake 10,000 and we have to invest it in some companies, but I need good tips on what I should do first. There’s a money prize for a 1, 2nd, and 3rd winner in our class and I really want to do well so I can win. Any tips on what I should do first? I think I’ve got my eyes set on Costco wholesale,, 3M co, Exxon Mobil corporation, and Monsanto…? Also, what do you think of investing in general?

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10 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

If you have “mutual funds” available, take one of those. Otherwise, Your choices sound great.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Check a lot of stocks and find one that interests you. Just don’t buy Apple stock, or maybe you should….hmmmmm (just a little stock joke since it’s a mystery)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Welcome to fluther. Do you know how to read a balance sheet and an income statement? Understand liquidity and cash flow?

dabbler's avatar

“What do you think of investing in general?”
I’ll recommend to understand the difference between investment and speculation.

Warren Buffet invests, he analyses a company inside and out and determines whether it’s worth holding for a good long term. His firm even often gets involved in the management of the firms in which it invests. Investment helps grow the economy and usually creates jobs.

Speculators look only to profitability of the transactions. High-frequency trading is the extreme version of this. Speculation adds nothing to the economy.
The word investment is hung on a lot of speculative prospects because investment is respectable. Don’t be fooled by that. Speculation is not respectable it is parasitic.
There are some who will tell you that the markets need the liquidity of speculators. They are lying, in almost all cases markets are plenty big enough for offered transactions to find counterparties.

Blueroses's avatar

Look for companies whose products you use, like and have a business model you believe in.

For example, if you’re a gamer and you hear a rumor that a sequel to a popular game is in the works, and you enjoyed the first game, put some money into that company.
My parents made a good chunk of change investing in Broderbund and HerInteractive in the 90s when Myst and Nancy Drew games were all the rage

Stay away from companies that go against your social conscience. You won’t enjoy the profit anyway.

If you’re a gambler and want to do something a bit different, look at something like bitcoin which is volatile right now and could earn you some quick profit. (Or quick loss)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The retired Fidelity Maggellon Fund manager used to see what his family was crazy about and then looked at the company. If it looked good he bought it. I can’t think of his name though.

dabbler's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Excellent example.
That was Peter Lynch, a real “value” investor.
Take a look at the eight fundamental principles of stock selection that he used.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@dabbler Yes that’s the name. He was amazing.

CWOTUS's avatar

There are as many theories on investing as there are investors, so there is no one right response to this question.

Most of the best responses take into account the investor’s tolerance for risk: can you accept the chance that you may lose the entire investment and still sleep at night? Or are you fearful of losing any part of your capital and insistent upon guaranteed returns? In the first place you can roll the dice and double, triple or do even better with your initial stake, and in the second place you will have to accept much smaller – dramatically smaller, but certain – gains. And even those aren’t always as certain as they appear.

Another thing to consider is the time you have available to invest. In your case, I’m guessing that this is “the finish of the school term”, which is decidedly short term. (This is, in fact, no way to “invest”. What you’re talking about in this case, especially if you’re being rewarded for “biggest gain in a short time frame”, is speculation, which is another animal entirely.)

Investing means knowing what you are buying into, and why, and being able to predict with a fair amount of certainty what you expect to get out of the purchase. Because it is “a purchase”, and not “a gamble” if you do it correctly.

Why do you want to buy a part of any of those businesses, and what makes those businesses (in fact, those industries) better than other businesses in other industries? When you can answer the question and refer to facts as you do it, then you’re on the way to becoming an investor.

Furthermore, I would state that “investing with funny money” or even “with other people’s money” is not at all the same thing as doing it with your own money. For first time investors I recommend that you look into “direct investing” and “dividend reinvesting”. Many companies will allow you to purchase less-than-full-share stakes, or in other words, to “micro-invest”. This will help you get your feet wet, to participate in a company’s growth and drive you to do your homework (in a figurative sense; I understand that this is a homework assignment) to learn how markets work in general and how investing works in particular.

Good luck. Enjoy the journey.

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