Never Too Old to Learn How to Invest in Stocks

Want to invest in stocks (or bonds) but do not know a thing about how to choose stocks/bonds?

Well, my friend, you are not alone. A 2013 study conducted by Sun Life Canada among Filipinos in the A, B and C economic classes between the ages of 23 to 55 showed that while 20 percent of these considered themselves experts in financial management, only 8 percent actually got a score of 80 percent in a financial literary test.

What was their median score? Fifty percent: Not a decent score at all.

Most Filipinos still think that just because they have some savings, they already have financial security. Worse, they did not score well on questions pertaining to stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

Where then can you get the ABCs on stocks, bonds and mutual funds? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Banks schedule investment orientations for free. Go ask your local branch. If they do not know the schedules, ask them to call and ask their customer relationship officers. Of course, while this is for free, I suggest you do not allow yourself to be swayed into investing immediately.
  2. Customer relationship officers’ role is to convince you to put your money into their products. Nothing wrong with that. Except that you would not want to put your money into an investment without clearly understanding what your investing objectives are and what the risks are in each product. Allow yourself enough time to decide.
  3. Some banks will also have insurance subsidiaries. These too have their own relationship or investment officers. Be aware that they too will offer you insurance products or hybrid insurance-and-investment products. Learn first how these differ from each other.
  4. When it comes to stock trading, online stock trading companies also give free lectures. However, the problem with some of these is that the more in-depth lectures, such as those on fundamental and technical stock analyses, are provided only to those who have already opened an account with them. Would not hurt if you go ask if you can attend these even if you decide to be a client. Who knows: Maybe they will say Yes.
  5. Read up on how stock/bonds work. Go online and check out forums, note down the terms they use and google the definitions. However, a word of caution: Some forum members will suggest stocks to invest in. While some do give sound advices, do not be swayed by “expert” opinions, especially of those you do not really know personally. Whenever you choose stocks, you must have reliable information on the soundness of your picks.
  6. Be interested in local business news. That will give you some indication on when it is ripe to invest in stock (or bonds), or whether you should instead put your money in some other form of investment.
  7. Let the pse.com.ph site be your friend. Visit this Philippine Stock Exchange website religiously to read up on listed companies’ news, dividend or stock rights declarations, etc. I love its news portal called the EDGE (edge.pse.com.ph), and think you would, too.

Supposing you have done all of the above but you are still iffy about taking the plunge, what then? Well, you can either get stuck with being scared, or do something about your lack of confidence. One way is to join those mock stock trading games such as those found in the pse.com.ph. Once you get the hang of it, you will, I hope, know when it is time for you to take the next investment steps.

How about your case? What is stopping you from learning more about stocks and stock trading?

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