Advice for Beginners

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by legend4life, Aug 4, 2007.

  1. Hi all,

    I am new both to ET and to the trading world. I am a Finance/Internal Audit/mis student in college, going into my senior year. I have taken a couple finance courses so I have some understanding of the basics.

    I would like to get started in stock trading to make some money of course. I have probably 1k right now to start with that won't hurt that much if I lose it. My professor recommended getting started by buying the S&P500 SPDR ETF as a diversified investment in stocks that will earn a solid long term return, based on the general return on the stock market. I am thinking of opening an E*Trade account to start with.

    I realize I am a beginner and this is Elite Trader, but if you are going to flame, please just move on with your busy lives and don't waste my time or yours. Everyone was a beginner once and had to start somewhere, and I'm sure could have used direction from those with experience.

    Other than that, any and all input is appreciated. I would love to hear any suggestions, advice, tips on the above, and your own input on how and where to start.

    Thank you!
  2. kwtrade



    I'm pretty new too, so I'm sure it's not my advice you want.

    Except, don't worry about the flamers. They are in every forum I've ever read. You will be flamed and it is perhaps like losing money while trading. Just happens. But in the case of flamers, don't waste time replying or feeling hurt or annoyed. Why anyone would waste their time being mean and negative is beyond me. But people do, so don't focus on them.

    Good luck!
  3. Welcome to ET.

    My only comment would be that you should make sure you're clear about the difference between trading for income and investing. Not sure what your professor meant by telling you that you should get started in trading by buying a SPDR as a 'diversified investment'.

    There's a lot of good information here. I will suggest that you will get a higher quality response to your posts if you spend a week doing a thorough search of these boards, familiarizing yourself with the various trading strategies and instruments, getting an understanding of what risk management means and how it pertains to your initial capital, then come back here and ask some specific questions. All the information you need is available by using the search feature here, and by doing a few simple searches on Google.

    In the end, you will have to open an account, place a trade and see what happens. Many beginners have posted asking for help when their trading started to go wrong, but 80% of them did not understand that they did not have a plan.
  4. My honest suggestion is for you to search the forum for "beginner" or something of that nature.

    Read everything you can. Don't ask for people to spoon feed you answers. You will get lots of flaming here if you do. (good call on that part by you)

    There's a lot of information all throughout this board and an even bigger amount of bullshit.

    Sort through the bullshit and you will be getting a good start.

    Also, trading is a vast area. You didn't define your interests or anything. Helping you is impossible since you don't really know what you need help in...

    As far as recomended books... O'Niels "How to Make Money in Stocks" and "Reminiscenses of a Stock Operator" are titles that are thrown around here a lot.
  5. kwtrade



    I thought about your post and how initially I called myself a beginner too and thought that I really couldn't add more, but then I considered your age and thought that maybe I could add some basics that I've learned along the way.

    First, as one reply pointed out, you need an account. So, you will need to choose a broker. Look for one folks are happy with and also one that allow you to open an account with $1000.

    Here are places to begin researching brokers..

    When you apply for an account, consider not applying for a margin account (just check the box for no if they ask), because you should probably be sure you can earn money before borrowing money to trade. A cash account = all your money. A margin account is both your money and money the broker lends to you.

    Be sure to be honest with all questions about your experience.

    I have had accounts with a number of brokers for different purposes over the years. Mostly I invested in mutual funds with T.Rowe Price, but I can't recommend them now. I've liked Fidelity, but for trading they are expensive. The two cheapest ones are and, I've had accounts with both of them, but found that with Zecco I didn't get the best deal on my trades, and with Sogo, I had so much trouble transferring money from my bank to sogo initially that I never got around to trading with them. In the end, I like (TOS) and (TK). I use both. I like that with Thinkorswim I can easily get in on the extended hours. Their software seems to do a lot and I am still learning it. Of the two, I think TOS requires that you fund your account with a few thousand dollars, whereas TK may let you begin with $1000. YOu can ask easily just by going to live chat on their website. Very good service from both companies. Stock trades are about $5 with each.

    I know that if you have only $1000 to play with, the $5 trade fee may be tough to handle. So you'll have to choose A or B:

    A. You will be in with the $1000 to learn and as long as you made some money on the trade , you can handle actually coming out with a loss due to the trading fee because you know you'll graduate, get a job, and have a few thousand to work with and the trading fee won't take up as much profit, so the $1000 is tuition for now.

    B. Go with Zecco and play around to see if you can make that work for you.

    Maybe you'll do both. In the long run, you'll want to learn the more advanced trades TK and TOS offer. Because then you'll be able to have more strategies.

    Once you have a funded account, here are two places to research: and go to Yahoo finance.

    I am very impressed with what Yahoo offers.

    One last thing --- when you look at quotes, be sure to notice if they are delayed 15 minutes or up to the minute. With TK, you have to set your screen to show up to the minute. The default is to show you 15 min delayed quotes, for some reason I can't figure out.

    Good luck!
  6. kwtrade


    When I reread that, it sounded condescending, so I thought I would post again and say it better....

    While I initially thought I had nothing to contribute, I later realized that me being an old lady, there are some basics I picked up just reading about the market and playing a little over the past decade, and I thought if I were just fresh entering all this, what would be helpful to know. They are basics that I take for granted. I'm still a beginner though, and no doubt the savy college kids graduating today will soon surpass me.

    Take care,
  7. Start to paper trade for about 6 months until you have an idea of how it all goes down.

    Watch whatever you wanna trade everyday as much as you can to get its personality.

    After all that, expect to loose when you first start. :)
  8. #1 rule dont lose too much money