Here in Fooldom, we often talk about how to manage your investments and brokerage accounts. However, you might be wondering about an even more basic matter: how to open a brokerage account in the first place. If so, read on.

Once you've appropriately researched your broker alternatives and decided on which one is right for you, you'll probably want to go ahead and open the account (rather than simply resting on your laurels for having done your homework).

Opening an account doesn't require much more than filling out an application. Don't worry about the title "application" -- we haven't heard of anybody getting turned down. Being approved to open a margin account (i.e., an account that permits you to borrow money from the broker) might be a problem if you have a horrible credit history. But opening an account that is funded entirely by your own cash is most likely going to be approved.

You simply download the application forms, sign them, enclose them in an envelope with a check to initially fund your account, and you'll receive confirmation of your ability to start trading in pretty short order. Voila! You're ready to order up some lovely shares of PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP), ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), Citigroup (NYSE:C), or Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) -- or pretty much any other stock.

The application will want you to choose among different types of accounts, which we explain here. And to start investing, you don't need much more than your computer, some moolah, and a bit of investing know-how.

Learn much more about brokerages and find one that's right for you in our Discount Broker Center. And drop in on our Discount Brokers discussion board, where you'll see what folks are saying about lots of different brokerages.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian doesn't own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.