General Question

polycinco's avatar

I want to get started on the stock market, What do I do?

Asked by polycinco (187points) February 26th, 2010

I’ m a college student and I am not a citizen of the U.S. however I am here on a student visa.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

33 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

You can put some money with a company like Fidelity. Their webiste has information on stocks, if you want to do research on the stocks you are interested in. You can type in the company and they will show you how some of the top investors are advising for that stock, buy, sell, hold, so you can compare what people are saying. You can do it all through the site, you can get help 24 hours by their 800 number, and they also have retail locations if you prefer that. Although generally their people do not recommend specific stocks, but they will help you with funds. Funds might be a better way for you to go, because they will own several stocks in a particular fund. You can buy energy funds, health care funds, international funds, etc.

Here is their website

Dilettante's avatar

Keep this in mind: The stock market is simply a gigantic, worldwide casino. In fact, seasoned traders refer to their new purchases as “bets.” Now, how much of your money, what percentage of the total, would you take to a casino, say, in Las Vegas or Atlantic City? Act accordingly.
By the way, the founder of the New York Stock Exchange was imprisoned for embezzling from the widow’s and orphan’s fund. Some things never change.

kfingerman's avatar

While what @Dilettante says about the market being a casino is true to a point, there’s one important difference. In casinos all the bets are rigged against the player to varying degrees. If I played $1000 on a bunch of games, I would on average lose about $10–100. The stock market is the opposite. On balance, stocks tend to go up over time. Sure, people have lost a lot of money in the last couple of years, but remember, stocks are back where they were in 2003. If you bought then, you’re about even (before dividends). If you’ve made any smart trades in the meantime, you’ve “won” at the game.

If I were you @polycinco, I wouldn’t bet more than 10–20% of what you’ve got on single stocks. Find some good mutual funds and buy those. These are groupings of stocks; they let the pros pick your stocks for you and allow you to “diversify” (i.e. spread your investments out so there’s less risk) without much money.

JLeslie's avatar

True is is a gamble, good to realize that.

You might want to pretend to put money in the market for a month, watch the stocks or funds you have chosen, and see if you would be comfortable with having had put money in the market, seeing the numbers go up and down daily.

HungryGuy's avatar

It looks just like a regular house to me. What’s so special about it? And I have an Xbox, not a Nintendo—what does that have to do with it?

SeventhSense's avatar

Take all your money. Put it in a pile and burn it. You may have to relight a few times but if you’re persistent you’ll eliminate all traces of it.
Good luck.

laureth's avatar

My spouse, who is the stock whiz in the family, recommends watching what the Motley Fool says for a month or three before betting any money on stocks.

Likewise, he advises staying far away from any CNBC advice, since the most egregiously wrong advice-givers (mostly Jim Cramer) do shows there. (“He’s not wrong all the time, or I’d tell you to do the opposite of what he says,” says Mr. Laureth, “but following his advice insures that you’ll be caught in the whipsaw whenever the market does a sudden swing.”)

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes sometimes he’s right. It’s just that by the time you hear the recommendation it’s too late.

polycinco's avatar

thank you, this has helped me, now I have another question, how do taxes work with stocks, does it matter that I am not a U.S. citizen and I’m just studying here for a limited time?

laureth's avatar

You would owe taxes on your trading profits and dividends. You may wish to speak to a professional who can explain things for your specific situation. Your home country may want a piece of the money too – that’s one good question to ask an accountant.

polycinco's avatar

ok, thank you (: I will do that

DrC's avatar

I do not know if you are not a US citizen (or resident alien) and have no social security number – if you will be allowed to open a brokerage account. You could probably open an account in your own country and trade that way.

JLeslie's avatar

Hmmm? Well, she (are you a she?) probably has a SS#, just not one that allows a person to work. Still, interesting point. She might be limited to how much she can invest. Fidelity would know that. Give them a call, they have wonderful customer service.

polycinco's avatar

yea Im a girl. I do have a ss that allows me to work in school and that was required for me to have since I’m an international student but that ss doesn’t work outside school I think.

JLeslie's avatar

@polycinco Most likely you are limited on how much cash you can bring into the states when you come through immigration, but I have no idea if there are limits in general. I kind of think there aren’t. People who are citizens of oter countries by property all of the time, so why not stocks? I can’t see a difference really. I think you would have to pay tax on any gain here in the states, but not sure. Dividends and capital gains are treated differently than income here. I know when my husband worked in another country the US law was if you were in the states less than 30 days a year (might have been 35, I can’t remember exactly) you didn’t have to pay income tax for the first $70K more or less that you earned, but I don’t know if it applied to investments? And, of course Canada may have completely different tax laws.

I will say this, I know Canadians who have retired the states part time, and they have all of the rules figured out for sollecting social security, health coverage, taxes etc. If you know anyone who lives as a snowbird in the states they may have some additional advice.

polycinco's avatar

ok well I’m going to investigate from the information that you guys have given me and we’ll see what happens, thanks!

DrMC's avatar

Don’t invest the majority of your capital in one place.

This is why you invest. If you didn’t you would put it all in your bank, or business.

Investing in other business allows diversification.

Mutual finds with an acceptable philosophy are good places to start for a beginner. Try paper trades, or mock trades at

Take a small amount to gamble with that you can afford to lose, and play the adrenaline game. Realize that you are a babe in the woods. A small loss is better than a complete loss. Successful traders know when to bail.

If you plant the right seeds, some may grow. Be careful to trim the weeds on time. Learn technical analysis, and how to evaluate companies. Understand macroeconomics and how the house always wins.

Accept that you are the mark, the sucker. Just enjoy the moment.


Just Maybe, you will learn. You will have something that sets you apart from the herds of wanna be’s.

Mostly. You will get nothing without blistering hard work.

TANSTAFL – there aint no such thing as a free lunch.

YARNLADY's avatar

You might be able to find some tips and ideas on the website for Better investing

Dilettante's avatar

@kfingerman Re your comment: “In casinos all the bets are rigged against the player to varying degrees…The stock market is the opposite.”

Hehheheheheheheh…yeah, right.

In answer, I iterate my prior closing remark:

By the way, the founder of the New York Stock Exchange was imprisoned for embezzling from the widow’s and orphan’s fund. Some things never change.

BoBo1946's avatar

@Dilettante big difference, the gamble is based on knowledge, not luck! (but, luck is needed..but, knowledge is the key to the stock market)

Answering the question: get a good knowledgable broker. Also, do your research. There are some great companies to invest your money. Lowes’ stock is low now. Great company and when the economy picks up, it will comeback. Ford is a good buy…Ford is the best American car company to invest your money. GE is a good stock. And energy is a good investment.

Warning: buy some secure bonds etc…don’t put all your “eggs in one basket!’ Diversify your portfolio!

My thought if i were young again….would buy some cheap land (cut-over land is cheap) and put pine trees on the land. Buy a small amount, pay for it, and on and on…land is a great investment.

Dilettante's avatar

OK, let’s get something straight here. I traded stocks heavily from 1998–2004, every day, 12–14hours per day. I had exactly 90 bookmarked information sites…VectorVest, Motley Fool, all sorts of trader’s sites chat rooms, etc. I was totally plugged in, and did quite well for a long time. The key was to realize that the whole Stock Market—just ask Mr. Grasso, The Carlisle Group, and the numerous other insider FatCats that control and manipulate the entire thing. It is simply a manipulation, another way for them to make money. Period. It is based on PT Barnum’s adage: “Never give a sucker an even break”

The name of my game was to gather information…advanced information, as quickly as possible, to find out what these FatCats were going to do next, how they were going to screw people this time, and shake a few peaches from their trees. My username on most of these sites was Remora…I had accounts with several brokers, all well-known names, all slimy crooks too, most of whose brokers job is to screw widows out of their pensions. Remora is the little “pilot fish” who hangs onto the shark, then jumps off and eats the scraps of the sharks’ victim/meal, then hops back on the shark and rides him. Hence, my game was to let the big dogs eat, and pick up a few of their scraps. The key, again, was to gain knowledge in ADVANCE, like they do, a la Martha Stewart, the poor dear, whom they used as a scapegoat, her being one/tenmillionth of the amount of insider trading that goes on daily.
I recall there was a term, I believe it was “The Keirnan effect”...thank goodness I’ve forgotten his name…he was one of the “talent” announcer guys on CNBC. Even this bunch of crooks make a nice living at it…what the term means is that these “announcer/talent folks know in advance which stocks they are going to tout, feature, and otherwise bring to the attention of the suckers who watch them. So, they simply call their brother-in-law, or some other person they can trust enough to engage in this criminal act with, and tell them to buy the stock in advance…another from of “Insider Trading,” which is just one of the many slimewad things they do.
Consider this: The Stock Market is a closed, “hydrolic” system. When you lose money, they don’t say, ‘OK, let’s take Joe’s money outside and burn it,” see? Every penny you lose, someone else in the system GAINS. See? Your pile goes down, their pile goes up. Get it now?
Now, don’t bother to come at me with any sour grapes thing…I did quite well as a swing trader during those years, relying on the simple fact that the whole thing is in fact, “Rigged,” as someone said earlier. You see, the real difference between Casinos and the Stock Market is Casinos are actually monitored, carefully regulated, by State and Federal watchdogs; then there’s the individual casinos carefully watching for cheaters, “rigging,” etc, and severe consequences for those who are caught, But in the Stock market, the “Foxes are Watching the Henhouse”...the same folks who are supposedly monitoring it, doling out punishment, are, in most cases, making crooked money off it themselves! YOUR money! LOL Anyone here who even tries to suggest that there is a shred of legitimacy to the Stock Market is either very naive or some kind of hustler himself, who will profit from it in some way. Period. Don’t make me laugh.

Gee, I’m glad I found a place to vent…I just love these rants. So liberating! By the way, if the Morgan Stanley Broker who screwed my 93-year-old mother out of 70% of all she owns is reading this, remember, “As a man soweth, so shall he reap.”

Dilettante's avatar

Try one simple equation: Multiply the number of total shares, common, preferred, etc., a company has issued, times the dollar value per share…want a laugh?

laureth's avatar

Sounds like you were a short-term trader, eh, @Dilettante?

Dilettante's avatar

@laureth See my use of the term, “swing trader,” as opposed to “day trader.” The difference being I actually knew the names of the companies the stock symbols represented, researched them, etc. Would buy and hold some of them for anywhere from a day or two to a month or so, whereas a day trader operates strictly on “momo”...insider buzzword abbreviation for “momentum,” the day trader’s forte is speed…how quickly he can surmise that a particular stock might go up a minuscule amount, buy it, sell it seconds (usually) later, at a profit, doing this perhaps hundreds, even thousands of time per day, never even knowing, in most cases, what the stock symbol even represents, ie. XOM is Exxon Mobile, etc.
Here, try this. You can easily find your “financial” thingy on your home page,etc. Pull up , “charts,” type in HAL (NYSE) pull up the ten-year chart on this, Haliburton stock. Now, note the tremendous gain that began in mid-2002. Now, realize that the then-VicePresident of the United states was a guy named Cheney, who is still running his filthy mouth instead of hiding under a rock awaiting prosecution…he also just happened to be a former executive of Haliburton, right? So, based on WMD’s, The domino theory, other money-making rationales, scams, hustles, etc. we invade Iraq. The point here is to compare the HAL stock timeline with the Iraq “War”...Now, Haliburton, an oil equipment company, is somehow, miraculously awarded the contract to feed the “troops” (euphemism for “our loved ones”) being used as cannon fodder, How do you get from oil equipment to hamburgers? That’s easy, just have your former exec, be VP of the US!!, see, and make SURE he has LOADS of your stock at ridiculously cheap prices, in ADVANCE of the contract award, Also, better try to hide this little discrepancy so start another, shadow company, called KBR and make THEM the caterers, besides, here’s another IPO, insider trading bonanza as well..make sure Cheney and the Bush Mob, Carlisle, get their fair share, in ADVANCE, see how it works? Note the “coincidental” massive rise in HAL and the amounts of US deaths in Iraq? This is called, “blood money,” see? Every dollar these scum of the earth make is at the DIRECT cost of a life, a limb, a mind, of our sons, daughters, mothers fathers, aunts uncles, brothers sisters, etc.
Want a good stock tip? Invest in body bag mfg, companies, and also prosthetic mfg. companies…they are booming now, but of course, the insiders have already made their despicable blood money killings.
But I digress! LOL What was your question?

Dilettante's avatar

Afterthought: Why did I stop playing the stock market? I realized that the old FatCat adage, “War is good business” was in play, so I began to take advantage of it. See Eisenhower’s _Real_warning in his farewell address, re the “Military Industrial Complex,” later re-defined by the Port Huron Statement of the SDS in the sixties, and now generally termed, the “Iron Triangle,” which I choose to call, the “FatCat Network.”
Then one day I realized what I was doing…profiting from this totally unnecessary presence in Iraq, at the expense of our loved one’s (substitute, “troops” here) lives, limbs and minds, and I could no longer look at myself in the mirror, so I quit the stock market.

Now, although I was a bit off-topic (lol), to answer the original question: Get yo’ ass in Real Estate, boy!” Like a couple of the others above told you. True, it’s simply just another marketplace manipulated by the same FatCat network (they also control the media, so one of these days soon, the media will start saying how much improved the real estate market is, then, how it is booming, etc. thus creating the opportunity for the Fatcats to unload all real estate they foreclosed on, etc. during the downside they created. The whole thing is just another manipulation…now think, what happens…what changed about your home to make it worth so much more? Did the dog poop on your front lawn suddenly turn to gold? LOL What changed?
What it will be is the FatCats are done bottom fishing and will order the media to begin the trumpeting of how good the market is again. Get in on it…now…remember, the predictions being made on how long the market will take to recover are ALWAYS false…there is always a “surprise” lol upswing…too late for the average Joe to take advantage of, because the big money boys are already making their moves. Still, you can do pretty good, in real estate if you act now. Just get a good RE Lawyer, one you trust, and hopefully an RE Broker that you’ve known all your life, is a family member or close friend. Otherwise, watch out.

laureth's avatar

I’m sayin’ that super-quick trades are one way to make money in the market. The other way is the long term investment – ones you buy because you think the company has a future that’s possibly years away, not just seconds or days. It may even be one that’s small now, but that you think the big boys will be playing with in five years or a decade. Maybe it’s a stock that pays dividends (as long as they’re not doing stupid things like borrowing money to do it). The long -term traders care less about microswings or momentary profit, but they still make money.

DrMC's avatar

@Dilettante what are your thoughts to the price of gold and the mysterious non existent M3? – Oh, would it be rude to say scam?

SeventhSense's avatar

And this is why it perpetuates. As long as folks “inadvertently” profit from these motives and can assign blame on larger sharks, the sharks are happy to let a few scraps fall while they also excuse behavior on the system, the way it is or whatever else anyone wants to call it. The complicity is part of the problem as well.

DrMC's avatar

@Dilettante I prefer to vote independent, preferable the most destructive to democratic policies if possible, but I don’t mind thumbing my nose at Cheney either.

Who do you vote for, or should I just make the general assumption?

Dilettante's avatar

I hereby formally apologize, seriously, to anyone I might have offended with my rants. I’m a former US Marine, and things like the so-called Iraq “War” tend to rile me up; I forget to exercise restraint of pen and tongue. Old adage: “Never discuss politics or religion with friends.” If anyone construed what I said as not being supportive of our troops, I assure you, I support them fully. They are simply pawns, doing what they believe to be right, like so many young people before them. i have a bit of an emotional hangover right now, so I think I’ll call it quits for tonight.

@DrMC I am heavily invested in Gold now. Silver was the big play last year, of course, a near-triple-my-money deal; but now, according to a former roommate of mine at Cambridge University, who now lectures on International Finance at Oxford Univ. England, lives offshore on a Caribbean Island, hangs out in Dubai with his buddies, and has published several authoritative papers, books, on the subject; gold will climb to $3–4,000 US dollars per ounce, after another “shakeout” (that’s when they dip the price briefly, in order to scare/dupe the smallfry into selling to them). Now I’ll get all the naysayers, etc. To them I say:
I retired at 45 years old, listening to my Cambridge pal’s advice…how about you? How do you judge a tree? By the fruit, my friend, by the fruit.

DrMC's avatar

@Dilettante don’t apologize for my sake. I’m feeling a little partisan at the moment. It helps to have 3 pots of coffee in me.

I missed the gold boat, it’s a china thing, and the M3. I just dont trust it to stay up.

SeventhSense's avatar

God bless you brother don’t apologize. More power to you. We’ve spent 900 billion dollars on that war and we can’t get health care for our own citizens. Someone owes us an apology but it’s certainly not you.

Dilettante's avatar

Comparison of terms:

Iraq: Desert Viet Nam: Jungle

Iraq: “WMD’s, “Fight ‘em there or fight ‘em here.” Viet Nam: Domino Theory

Iraq: IED’s (roadside bombs) Viet Nam: Booby Traps

Iraq: “insurgents” (the people who live there, and hate our guts). Viet Nam: VC (same)

And the blood money just keeps on rollin’ in.

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