For those looking to put away some money for the future and (hopefully) see it grow, the stock market offers an attractive investment avenue that — while inherent risks certainly exist — can also offer long-term growth, especially among those who are willing to be patient with their investments.
But for upstart investors who are new to the scene, comprehending some of the financial ins and outs required for informed investing — including terms and concepts such as “dividend,” “blue chip” and “limit order” that are commonly used to describe stocks, trading actions and market characteristics — can present a challenge.
Especially in the digital age, though, it’s not hard for rookie investors to find plenty of trustworthy guidance to help them develop their own expertise. A wealth of websites exist to provide upstart investors with solid information to help find success in the market. Here are five websites — all with free offerings, and most providing premium offerings for an added fee — that can be a big help to those looking to wade into the stock-market waters:
- Investopedia: Founded in 1999 at the height of the dot-com boom, Investopedia is a website focused on investing and finance education for beginners. Its financial dictionary is a great place for newbie investors to turn when they encounter an investment-related term they don’t understand, and its Investopedia Academy offers a large selection of helpful investing courses for those willing to pay the associated fees. Another cool tool, the site’s free-to-play Stock Market Game, allows new investors to get their feet wet in the market — without the financial risks of the real thing — with $100,000 in virtual cash to “invest,” then learn the ropes as they make simulated investments and trades.
- Motley Fool Stock Adviser: Founded by a pair of brothers in the early 1990s and now among the best-known investing-advice sites on the internet, The Motley Fool offers a free collection of “Investing Basics” articles to get the rookie investor off to a running start. Its online subscription services, available for a monthly fee, feature a wealth of stock research and analysis, along with timely investment recommendations. Of particular note, its Stock Advisor service shares informed stock picks from the aforementioned founding brothers — and to date since its launch, the service’s primed-to-beat-the-market picks have outperformed the stock market by delivering returns of more than 300 percent, while the S&P 500 has delivered returns falling just under 100 percent in the same time period.
- MorningStar: Based in Chicago, widely respected investment-rating firm MorningStar offers a collection of free “Investing Classroom” self-study courses that provide new investors with a wealth of background knowledge on financial basics such as stocks, funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and building a portfolio. Also free of charge are MorningStar’s Investing Glossary and a range of resources and articles geared toward educating the beginning investor. MorningStar’s premium service charges a fee for access to more detailed investment research, ratings and recommendations.
- Yahoo! Finance: The nation’s most-consulted financial website with 70 million-plus unique visitors each month, the stock market-focused Yahoo! Finance website provides easy access to real-time stock quotes, up-to-the-minute business news, user-personalized stock watchlists and a portfolio of personal-finance tools and tutorials, all free of charge. Its premium subscription service offers advanced data and expert analysis via extensive research reports, investment ideas and more.
- Zacks Investment Research: Well-known among investors, investment research-focused website Zacks provides an archive of educational resources that help investing newcomers learn the basics about stocks, funds, stock screening and more. It also provides a wealth of finance-related videos for budding investors who prefer this route and it’s a particularly strong resource for those looking to diversify their investment portfolios with mutual funds. The Zacks Premium offering provides paid users with access to thee Zacks No.1 Rank List with listings of especially high-performing stocks, the Industry Ranks List that offers rankings of the best industries to invest in, and more.
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