Financial Planning is Something You Need to Do Every Day.

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( If you ever want to be able to do more than work and cash a paycheck, you have to learn how to make your money work for you, which means learning how to invest it. But you can’t just read up on some investing strategies, pour in some money, and wait for the magic to happen. You need to make a commitment to learning and growing as you go. You’ll need to make it a part of your everyday life.

Here are just a few of the things you’ll need to do if you want to have a long future with investing (and want to see real gains):

Know the Ins and Outs of the Stock Market

We don’t mean that you need to know how to predict stocks like an expert or that you need to be able to quote prices and movements of every stock. But you do need to know things like when the markets open and close (including when there are NYSE holidays and other market holidays), what all the symbols mean on the board, what the rules are for trading, and so on. You should be able to focus all your energy on getting information about individual stocks, not wasting it on figuring out the rules of the game. Take some time to learn all the basics before you begin, and then check in daily to know about things like closings or special changes. 

Study the News and Influences on Investments

How are you going to know what makes for a good investment if you aren’t studying the companies or commodities that are available for investment? For example, how do you know what stock to choose? How do you know when it’s a good time to buy gold? The only way to know these things is to stay aware of current events, including reading the news every day — at a minimum. Once you have a good idea for an investment, you’ll need to go deeper. For example, if you identify a company that you’re interested in, you’ll then need to read everything you can find about the company, including in trade publications, as well as reading its internally generated communications and more. The more information you have about a potential investment, the better. You’ll know what the long-term prospects are for the investment, and you’ll have a better idea of the best times to buy or sell for maximum gains. For a virtuoso-level of insights, taking a Masters in Financial Planning is a good way to start.

Learn the Different Types of Investments

Maybe you start out investing in stocks and you have a little luck. You feel good, and you’re ready to expand your portfolio. So you start looking for new stocks to trade. But is that all you should do? Doing so would limit your potential. There are many more types of investments available, and the more you diversify your portfolio, the better you protect yourself against risk and the greater the gains you are likely to make. Take the time to learn the different types of investments that are available, such as foreign currency exchange, gold and other precious metals and stones, oil and other commodities, real estate, and more. You may find something you love that will make you a lot of money!

Understand the Fine Print

Every time you make a trade on the stock market, you pay for it. You might have to pay a fee for the transaction, or if you are using a broker to help, you might need to pay a percentage to the broker. Even online marketplaces that let you handle your trades yourself make you pay a fee. Make sure you understand all the fine print associated with your investments so that you know what the fees are. Even small fees can add up to a lot so that your gains diminish rapidly.

Of course, you’ll also need to watch the motion of your investments to know when they are up and when they are done. Put in all this daily effort, and you’ll soon be armed to make the best decisions for your money so that you can maximize your gains.

Staff Writer; Gary Short