Disclosure: We scrutinize our research, ratings and reviews using strict editorial integrity. In full transparency, this site may receive compensation from partners listed through affiliate partnerships, though this does not affect our ratings. Learn more about how we make money by visiting our advertiser disclosure.

There are many ways to learn how to become an investor. One of the most important things you can do is educate yourself on how investments work. Teaching yourself about investing means taking the time to learn investment terminology, understanding how to buy investments as a beginner, and determining your personal risk tolerance.

With this knowledge, you can start a portfolio that fits your age and future financial goals. Of course, there’s a difference between learning how to be an investor and learning how to be a successful investor.

Experiencing investing success comes with knowledge, practice, and experience. It means focusing on good investing habits, financial education, and getting involved in the financial world as a whole. If this interests you, follow the tips below to start your journey to get there.

Best Investment Apps & Services to Get Started—Our Top Picks


Best Introductory Stock Newsletter
Stock Research, Analysis + Recommendation Website
4.7
4.8
$89/yr.*
7-day free trial. Premium: $189/yr.* Pro: $2,400/yr.
Best Introductory Stock Newsletter
Stock Research, Analysis + Recommendation Website
4.8
7-day free trial. Premium: $189/yr.* Pro: $2,400/yr.

How to Become an Investor—A Successful One at That!


pros and cons of teen debit cards

If you’d like to learn how to become an investor, you should take a few steps toward becoming a successful one. After all, it’s essential to gain as much financial knowledge as possible to begin your successful investing career.

Many investors start with bad investing habits or get caught up in finding the perfect investment opportunity. Becoming an investor is about having the right mindset, being in it for the long haul, and developing good habits when you begin investing.

Below is a beginner’s guide to becoming a great investor.

Steps to Become an Investor

1. Decide How You Want to Invest


woman drinking coffee near window

The first step to learning how to become an investor is figuring out how you want to invest successfully. Are you most comfortable putting money in a high-yield online savings account? Or, do you want to buy stocks, bonds, or mutual funds through online brokers? Would you prefer trying your hand at real estate or cryptocurrency? There are many different investment opportunities available, and it’s essential to find the one that best suits your needs.

Spend time reading and learning about common investments like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds, and more. If you have a work-sponsored retirement plan, learn what type of investments you can buy and whether or not you have eligibility for an employer match. Consider your age and your goals for the future. Are you a conservative investor, or are you willing to take risks? Once you have a little more knowledge, you’ll feel more comfortable buying your first investment.

2. Start With Small Amounts of Money


Friends woman and man sitting on sofa at home in summer jeanswear street urban casual style holding smartphone tablet chatting

Starting small with a little money is essential if you’re new to investing. Don’t invest a large sum of money right away because if you lose it due to inexperience, you may be discouraged from investing in the future.

Start with an amount you’re comfortable with losing and learn as much as you can about the market before slowly increasing your investments over time.

3. Focus on the Long-Term


Satisfied mom and her little daughter using cellphone together on sofa at home

There are several reasons why you should invest for the long term. When you invest for the long term, you can use compound interest. Compound interest is when your earnings from investments are reinvested and then generate additional earnings.

This can help your money grow at a faster rate than if it was just sitting in a bank account.

Additionally, investing for the long term allows you to ride out market fluctuations. The stock market goes up and down over time, but it’s easier to handle market fluctuations emotionally if you have a long-term investment horizon.

Related: Personal Finance Statistics You Might Not Know [But Should!]

4. Evaluate Your Results Regularly


Couple Eating Food Feeding Sweet Concept

Your investment portfolio is your ticket to financial independence. Checking it regularly will help you stay on track and identify any problems you can quickly rectify before they escalate into something more serious.

Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Your investment allocation has changed significantly without you knowing about it.
  • You see unusual account activity (e.g., wire transfers or large checks deposited.)
  • Your stock portfolio doesn’t seem to be doing as well as it used to.

You can use stock tracking apps to simplify the challenge by keeping all of your investments in plain view.

While you don’t need to take things to extremes by checking your investments multiple times a day, being aware of changes can help you learn and focus on your personal finance goals.

Related: Best Stock & Portfolio Trackers [Investment Tracking Software]

5. Follow the Stock Market


technology and people concept - happy smiling young woman in striped shirt using smartphone over grey background

There are many reasons why investors should follow the stock market. For one, it’s a great way to keep track of how your investments perform over time. Additionally, following the stock market can help you become more knowledgeable about investing in general.

By keeping up with current events and changes in the market, you can make more informed investment decisions. Finally, staying on top of the stock market can give you an edge over other investors.

Consider valuable stock market research and analysis websites to provide information on your investments.

Related: How to Get Rich Off Stocks [Steps to Investing in the Stock Market]

6. Watch the Moves of Successful Investors


Positive guy together with cheerful waitress watching funny video on website on smartphone

There are a few key reasons you should follow the lead of successful investors. For one, these individuals have already demonstrated an ability to generate profits through their investments.

Additionally, they likely have access to valuable resources and information that can help you improve your investment strategy.

Finally, learning from the successes and failures of others can save you time and money as you work to grow your portfolio. By emulating the actions of successful investors, you can give yourself the best chance for your success.

Related: How to Research Stocks Before You Buy [How to Pick Stocks]

7. Make Changes When Necessary


Young woman working with laptop in the office

Although it’s essential to learn from the successes of others, you also need to be willing to make changes to your investing strategy when necessary. No two investors are exactly alike, so what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.

It’s important to analyze your portfolio and make adjustments as needed to maximize your profits long-term.

If you’re having trouble achieving success with your current investment approach or developing bad investing habits, don’t be afraid to try something new.

There is no single right or wrong way to invest; the key is finding a strategy that works for you. Making minor tweaks to your plan as needed could improve your chances of long-term success in this field.

You can also consider automating your investing through robo-advisors and building a passive income through income-generating assets and other passive income ideas.

Related Questions on How to Become an Investor

How Do You Start as an Investor?


The first step is to assess your financial situation and risk tolerance. Develop an investing plan by first understanding how much money you’re willing to start with and invest accordingly.

Many people start investing in stocks, which offer the potential for capital gains and income from dividends. You can also look into mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other investment vehicles.

It’s essential to do your stock research before investing so you understand the risks and rewards associated with each option. Talk to a financial advisor if you need help getting started. And remember: never invest money you can’t afford to lose.

You can use stock research and analysis apps to assist if you’re more inclined to do it yourself.

Further, you can utilize stock picking services to short-list investment ideas and conduct a deeper look yourself to understand their return potential and whether they fit your investment goals.

There are many different ways to become a successful investor – it all comes down to doing your homework and finding the right strategy that fits your needs.

How do Investors Actually Make Money?


There are a few key ways investors can make money:

  • Capital gains: When you sell an appreciated asset for more than you paid for it, you earn a capital gain. This is the most common way investors make money, and it depends on the performance of your assets.
  • Income from dividends: Some stocks pay out regular dividends to shareholders, which is essentially income generated by the company. Investors can reinvest these dividends into additional shares of stock or cash them out and use them for other purposes.
  • Interest income: Many investments – such as bonds and CDs – generate interest payments over time, which investors can then use to cover their living expenses or reinvest back into more securities.

Each of these methods can be a powerful way to grow your portfolio and achieve your financial goals. It’s essential to understand the different strategies available to you and how each can benefit your overall investment plan.

How Much Money Do You Need to Become an Investor?


You don’t need much money to start investing. Most discount brokers allow you to open an account with as little as $100 or less. Some investing apps for beginners like Webull and M1 Finance require no minimum deposit.

That said, there are some basic things that all investors should have in place before getting started:

  • an emergency fund (to cover unexpected expenses),
  • insurance (health, life, and disability), and
  • a solid retirement savings plan.

If you don’t have these essentials taken care of yet, then get to work on them before you start investing.

What is an Investment Plan?


An investment plan is a roadmap for your investments. It outlines what you plan to do with your money and how you will achieve your financial goals. Without a plan, it’s easy to make mistakes that can cost you dearly in the long run.

Creating an investment plan doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start by answering some basic questions:

  • What are my goals?
  • How much money do I need to reach my goals?
  • What types of investments can help me meet my goals?
  • What risks am I willing to take?
  • When do I want to retire/use my invested money?

Your answers to these questions will help form the basis of your investment plan. From there, you can begin developing specific strategies for reaching your goals.

Related: Best Investments for Children

How Can You Build Wealth through Investing?


Successful female employer typing text message on her cellphone

Building wealth through investing can be done in several ways, but typically it involves buying assets such as stocks, bonds, and real estate at a lower price than you sell them for later on.

This buying low and selling high process is at the heart of all successful investment strategies.

Of course, there are no guarantees in life, and past performance is not always indicative of future results. However, by following some simple tips and guidelines, you can give yourself the best possible success. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

Have a long-term mindset.

While it is possible to see your portfolio value increase dramatically over the course of just one day, investing for short-term gains typically doesn’t work out very well. It would help if you aimed to make gradual and steady returns on your investment that will compound over time.

That way, you’ll be able to build wealth without taking too much risk or causing yourself undue stress along the way.

Make regular contributions.

While it might be tempting to put off investing until you have a certain amount of money saved, one of the best ways to build wealth is by making regular investments over time.

This way, your returns will compound, which means that not only are your initial investments growing in value but so too are any subsequent ones.

Stay informed.

To be a successful investor, it’s essential to keep up with financial news and market trends. This way, you’ll know when certain stocks or sectors are overvalued or undervalued, and you can make more informed investment decisions as a result.

Building wealth through investing can be a great way to secure your financial future, but it’s not without its risks. However, by following these simple tips, you can give yourself the best chance possible for success.

Should You Invest in Individual Stocks or Index Funds?


young woman smartphone

Investors have a few different options regarding where they put their money. They can invest in individual stocks, which gives them a stake in a particular company, or they can invest in index funds, which track the performance of an entire market or sector.

So, which is better?

Both choices have pros and cons, and if you have further questions, you can always get independent financial advice.

In a nutshell, though, investing in individual stocks generally carries more risk and potential for higher returns. Index funds are more of a set it and forget it passive style of investing.

Ultimately, it’s up to each investor to decide what’s right for them. Some people prefer the control that comes with picking their stocks.

In contrast, others find comfort in knowing that their investment, like an index fund, is automatically diversified across many different companies.

What Types of Investment Accounts Exist?


There are primarily two different types of investment accounts, brokerage accounts and tax-advantaged accounts.

A brokerage account is an account that allows investors to buy and sell stocks, bonds, and other securities. Brokerage accounts are usually offered through online brokers or stock trading apps, which allow you to trade investments without leaving your home.

A tax-advantaged account is like a 401k, IRA, or HSA. They have certain tax benefits that regular brokerage accounts or savings accounts might not have. Many employers offer them as benefits, and the perks they offer vary depending on the type of account you decide to open.

Related: Best Investments for Roth IRA [Target High-Growth]

Can You Invest Outside the Market?


Yes, there are many ways to invest outside of the stock market in non-stock investments. However, it’s important to note that these methods come with their own risks and should only be used by those knowledgeable about them.

For example, you can invest in real estate, cryptocurrency, precious metals, peer-to-peer lending, and even become an angel investor. These options come with their own risk and reward, and you should research them thoroughly before pursuing them.

Related: Alternative Investments 101: Investment Options to Consider

Should You Invest in Real Estate?


Real estate is a popular investment option, and for a good reason. It’s a stable asset that has historically outperformed the stock market.

We recommend Millionacres as an excellent resource to learn about the many ways to invest in real estate, including buying a property outright, investing in REITs, or crowdfunding projects.

Keep in mind, real estate investing comes with pros and cons. Some of the most significant advantages include tax benefits and the ability to leverage your money.

However, real estate investing doesn’t come without its downsides either. There will always be expenses and risks associated with owning property as an investment.

Is Becoming a Successful Investor Possible?


Portrait of a cheerful young man in t-shirt isolated over gray backgound, using mobile phone

Yes! There are many ways to become a successful investor, so find what works best for you and stick with it, starting with the tips above.

Remember: success takes time and patience. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away. Keep at it, keep learning, and most importantly, be consistent.

How to Find Individual Companies Worth Buying


The best stock picking services consider all of the variables discussed above when making their selections to subscribers. Have a look at two Motley Fool stock research services subscribed to by close to a million investors.

We think either subscription makes for a great short-listing system to find good stocks worth investigating yourself—and possibly even buying for your portfolio for the long-term. Both services recommend buying and holding for no less than three to five years, departing with some of the other swing trade alerts services people use to find short-term profit potential in the stock market.

You can also get them, as well as two other Motley Fool services, as part of Motley Fool’s Epic Bundle.

Motley Fool Rule Breakers: Best for Long-Term Investors Looking for Growth Stocks


motley fool rule breakers sign up

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Buy-and-hold growth investors
  • Price: Discounted price for first year

Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommends stocks that the Rule Breakers team believes have massive growth potential. In some cases, these companies are at the forefront of emerging industries—in others, they’re disrupting the status quo in long-established industries.

This stock subscription service doesn’t fixate on what’s currently popular, but instead always looks for the next big stock ahead. That means these Motley Fool picks have the potential to be nauseatingly volatile … but also the potential to rocket higher exponentially.

Rule Breakers’ team has six rules it follows before making stock recommendations to subscribers:

  1. Only invest in “top dog” companies in an emerging industry. As Motley Fool puts it: “It doesn’t matter if you’re the big player in floppy drives—the industry is falling apart.”
  2. The company must have a sustainable advantage.
  3. The company must have strong past price appreciation.
  4. The company needs to have strong and competent management.
  5. There must be strong consumer appeal.
  6. Financial media must overvalue the company.

In other words, Rule Breakers’ team considers a number of factors before it ever recommends a stock to its users. If it’s not a well-run company with a sustainable advantage over its competitors, and it’s not in an emerging industry, it probably won’t get past Rule Breakers’ velvet ropes.

How has Motley Fool Rule Breakers performed?

Their rules seem to pay off, if their results are any indication.

Since the product’s inception in 2004, Rule Breakers has more than doubled the S&P 500, beating many leading money managers on Wall Street. Their results speak for themselves and easily justify the affordable price tag.

rule breakers vs sp500 dec 7 2023
Motley Fool
What to expect from Motley Fool’s Rule Breakers

The service includes five primary items you can expect to receive when you sign up:

  1. A list of Starter Stocks—including their “essential Rule Breakers”—to begin your investing journey
  2. Top-10 rankings of timely buys from the entire Rule Breakers portfolio
  3. Two new stock picks each month
  4. Investing resources, including the stock picking service’s library of stock recommendations
  5. Access to a community of investors engaged in outperforming the market and talking shop

And of course, you’ll receive regular communications from the Rule Breakers team providing analysis and rationales behind the portfolio’s holdings.

If you’re unhappy with the service within the first 30 days, you can receive a full refund. You can also read more in our Motley Fool Rule Breakers review.

 

Motley Fool Stock Advisor – Best for Buy-and-Hold Investors


motley fool stock advisor signup no price

  • Available: Sign up here
  • Best for: Buy-and-hold growth investors
  • Price: Discounted price for first year

The main difference between Motley Fool’s services is the type of stock pick recommendations.

Motley Fool’s signature product, Stock Advisor, aims to provide investors with one thing: top picks for market-beating stocks from the site’s co-founders. And it espouses my favorite, plain-vanilla trading style: buy-and-hold.

The investment newsletter and service sends recommendations for “Steady Eddies” and potential high-flying stocks the service believes provide financially sound fundamentals.

Preferring to stick with companies that outperform steadily over time, Stock Advisor offers stock picks with investment rationales, research, and information to educate you about your investments.

How has Motley Fool Stock Advisor performed?

Stock Advisor stock picks have performed exceptionally well over the service’s 22-year existence. The service has made 175 stock recommendations that have historically delivered 100%+ returns, multiplying members’ net worth several times over.

Overall, the Motley Fool Stock Advisor stock subscription service has returned 671% through April 8, 2024, since its inception in February 2002. This number is calculated by averaging the return of all stock recommendations it has made over the past 22 years. Comparatively, the S&P 500 Index has returned 152% over that same time frame.

stock advisor vs sp500 apr 8 2024
Motley Fool
What to expect from Motley Fool’s Stock Advisor:

The Stock Advisor service provides a lot of worthwhile resources to subscribers.

  1. “Starter Stocks” recommendations to serve as a foundation to your portfolio for new and experienced investors
  2. Two new stock picks each month
  3. 10 “Best Buys Now” chosen from over 300 stocks the service watches
  4. Investing resources with the stock picking service’s library of stock recommendations
  5. Access to community of investors engaged in outperforming the market and talking shop

The service charges a discounted rate for the first year and has a 30-day membership-fee refund period. Consider signing up for Stock Advisor today.

Read more in our Motley Fool Stock Advisor review.

 

Motley Fool Epic Bundle


epic bundle signup

If you ever wanted to try more than one Motley Fool service, now’s the time.

Motley Fool Epic Bundle isn’t itself a stock-picking service—instead, it’s a bundled selection of four popular Motley Fool stock recommendation products:

  • Stock Advisor: Buy-and-hold stock picks designed to deliver consistent performance with less volatility.
  • Rule Breakers: Stocks that have massive growth potential, whether they’re at the forefront of emerging industries or disrupting the status quo in long-established businesses.
  • Everlasting Stocks: Long-term stock picks that follow Tom Gardner’s Everlasting philosophy of seeking outperformance by finding companies with an edge—whether that’s a superior company culture, pricing power, or leadership.
  • Millionacres: Real Estate Winners: A recommendation service that revolves around real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other real estate-related equities.

The point of Epic Bundle is simple: Collectively subscribe to all four products for much less than it would cost to buy individual subscriptions of each. Historically, that has only applied to regular renewal rates; but right now, Motley Fool is offering a significant first-year discount on Epic Bundle. Now, first-year cost savings come out to about 22% vs. the first-year prices of all four products individually, then those savings expand to 52% at regular renewal rates.

Read more in our Motley Fool Epic Bundle review.

About the Author

Riley Adams is the Founder and CEO of WealthUp (previously Young and the Invested). He is a licensed CPA who worked at Google as a Senior Financial Analyst overseeing advertising incentive programs for the company’s largest advertising partners and agencies. Previously, he worked as a utility regulatory strategy analyst at Entergy Corporation for six years in New Orleans.

His work has appeared in major publications like Kiplinger, MarketWatch, MSN, TurboTax, Nasdaq, Yahoo! Finance, The Globe and Mail, and CNBC’s Acorns. Riley currently holds areas of expertise in investing, taxes, real estate, cryptocurrencies and personal finance where he has been cited as an authoritative source in outlets like CNBC, Time, NBC News, APM’s Marketplace, HuffPost, Business Insider, Slate, NerdWallet, Investopedia, The Balance and Fast Company.

Riley holds a Masters of Science in Applied Economics and Demography from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance from Centenary College of Louisiana.