It's easier than ever to begin investing in the stock market. Even if you've never invested before, new platforms like Robinhood make it effortless to get started.
But the easier it is to invest, the easier it is to lose money, too. Using Robinhood or similar apps means you can buy any stock you want with just a few taps on your smartphone, and that can be dangerous at times.
This means you'll need a strategy before you begin investing. If your goal is to get rich using Robinhood, there are three steps you'll need to take.
1. Do your research before investing in any stock
One of Robinhood's hallmark features is the ability to invest in fractional shares. When you do this, you're buying just a small slice of a single share of stock.
Fractional shares make investing affordable because you can buy expensive stocks for just a few dollars. But that affordability can also make it tempting to invest in risky companies simply because it's cheap.
While losing a few dollars isn't the end of the world, it becomes more dangerous if you continue to invest. If you invest $10 in a particular stock and it performs well, you may decide to invest another $100, or $1,000, or $5,000. But if the company isn't financially healthy, its stock price will fall eventually. And the last thing you want is to have invested loads of cash into a stock that ultimately flops.
Before you start investing, make sure you study each stock you intend to buy. Researching stocks takes a bit of work up front, but it's worth it to ensure you're only investing in strong companies.
2. Don't get caught up in day trading
Day trading involves buying and selling stocks throughout the day to capitalize on short-term changes in the stock market. The recent GameStop fiasco has put a spotlight on day traders, and apps like Robinhood make it easy to buy and sell stocks quickly.
But it's important to remember how risky this strategy can be. While some investors can make a lot of money by timing the market or, as in GameStop's case, manipulating stock prices, most people will lose more than they gain. Unless you're a highly experienced investor who knows the ins and outs of the stock market and are willing to take on high levels of risk, it's best to avoid this strategy.
The stock market is unpredictable, and it can be extremely difficult even for professionals to determine when stock prices will rise or fall. And if you guess wrong, you could experience devastating losses.
3. Invest for the long term
Because short-term investing (like day trading) is often incredibly risky, a better approach is to focus on the long term.
Investing for the long term means buying stocks that are likely to perform well over time. Look at factors like the company's growth over the past few years, its management team, and whether it has a competitive advantage in its industry. A company with solid fundamentals is more likely to succeed over time, and its stock price will increase along with it. This approach requires patience, but it's one of the best ways to make money investing.
There's no safe way to get rich quick with the stock market, but you can make a lot of money by investing strategically. By doing your homework, investing in strong companies, and being patient, you can get rich in the stock market over time.