What is the stock market and how does it work? How can you start investing in the stock market and making money? These are some of the most common questions we receive at Investagrams. In this article we’ll try to answer those questions and give you a step-by-step guide on how to start trading stocks yourself!
Let’s start with the basics.
The stock market, as the name suggests, is just another type of market—like a food market where you buy meat and fish! The only difference is that in the stock market, people buy and sell companies like PLDT, Ayala Land, Meralco, and many more. Yup, that’s right! In the stock market, you can become a part-owner of some of the biggest companies in the Philippines.
You might be wondering, “How can a regular person afford to buy such big companies? Isn’t that expensive?” Well, it is! That’s why companies are divided into shares before being sold. Just like how you would cut a pizza into slices to make it easier to eat, companies are divided into shares to make it easier for people to buy. Once you buy a share in a company, you will become a part-owner of that company.
For example, if a Company X is divided into 10 million shares and you own 1 million shares, then you own 10% of Company X. Cool, right?
So why would these big companies sell shares of their business? Why do they need our money? The answer is that sometimes, big companies need to raise additional capital (A.K.A. tons of cash) to grow their business faster. If a company wants to develop new products, conduct research, or build more facilities, it would take a lot of money to fund those projects. Even big companies would find it hard to get so much cash so quickly, so they raise the money by selling shares on the stock market instead. This means that if you buy shares from a company, you are giving them money to grow their business in exchange for part-ownership that same business.
Okay, so how can you make money with stocks?
Once you’ve bought shares in a company (or a few companies), you can make money in 2 ways: through price appreciation or through dividends.
1. Earning through price appreciation
When you own shares of a company, it is possible for the market value or price of those shares to change over time. Depending on how many people want to buy those shares and how many people are willing to sell them, the price will either go up or down. This is the concept of supply and demand—how many people want to sell vs. how many people want to buy.
For example, if a company announces that it will launch a new product or that it earned a lot of money in the last quarter, more people may want to own a share of that company. If more people want to buy shares but few people want to sell, then the demand will be greater than the supply and the price will go up. On the other hand, if there is bad news about a company like low sales or problems with their factory, then people may not want to own a share of that company anymore. If more people want to sell their shares but fewer people want to buy, then supply will be greater than demand and the price will go down.
This is a simple example, but in reality there are a lot of factors that affect supply and demand. Because the whole world is connected, what happens in other countries may also affect the Philippine economy and the prices of our stocks.
To make money through price appreciation, you must know how to consistently invest your money in stocks that increase in price and then be able to sell them before the price goes down. It takes time to develop this skill, but it can be very rewarding. There is no limit to how much money you can make, and the opportunities are endless!
2. Earning through dividends
Another way that you can earn money in the stock market is through dividends. Dividends are simply portions of the company’s profit that are shared with their stockholders as a benefit of being part-owners of the company. How much and how often dividends are given is up to the company to decide.
This is simpler than price appreciation, but you will have little control over how much money you can make. However, if you do not want to be concerned with analyzing supply and demand, you can buy shares in companies that are known to give out dividends regularly. This would require less effort while still allowing you to earn.
Interested? Here’s how you can get started.
Step 1: Know what you’re getting into
Although you can make a lot of money through the stock market, you can also lose a lot of money if you don’t know what you’re doing. Stock trading is a skill, just like drawing or playing an instrument, so don’t expect to be a stock market wizard right away. It will take time for you to develop your skills and learn how to trade stocks properly, so don’t put your life’s savings on the line unless you have tried and tested your strategies already. Stock traders are not gamblers.
If you want to practice trading stocks but don’t want to risk money yet, then you can try out our virtual trading platform. Using this platform, you can buy and sell stocks, manage your portfolio, and follow price movements of real stocks in the Philippine Stock Exchange—all with zero risk of losing money. You will see what it really takes to make money in the stock market and then be able to decide for yourself if you want to start trading with real money or if you are better off with other investment options.
The stock market is a great option if you want to grow your money, but it is not your only option. Know what you’re getting into before you dive in with all of your hard-earned money.
Step 2: Find a stock broker
If you’re sure you want to invest in the stock market, then the next step is to find a stock broker. Stock brokers are individuals or institutions that are licensed to buy and sell stocks in the Philippine Stock Exchange. If you want to trade stocks, you will need a licensed stock broker to make the actual transactions for you.
There are two main types of brokers: traditional brokers and online brokers.
1. Traditional Brokers
Traditional brokers are usually individual people that you call or text whenever you want to make a transaction. Nowadays, you can even reach some of them through popular messaging apps like Viber, Facebook Messenger, and more. Traditional brokers are great for people who are busy with other things and want advice from a professional.
2. Online Brokers
Online brokers on the other hand are usually institutions that are licensed to buy and sell stocks. To make a transaction, you would simply log into their website and make the transaction yourself. This is sort of the DIY method where you are given the tools to trade stocks, but there is no one to give you advice. This type of broker is usually used by active traders because the fees are lower and the transactions are faster. However, you will need to learn about the stock market and proper trading on your own because there is no one to guide you.
Step 3: Open an account
Once you’ve chosen a stock broker, you will have to open an account with them. Different brokers have different requirements, but most of them will only require a few things:
1. A properly filled up application form, which you can get from their office or website
2. Two valid government ID’s, like a passport or driver’s license
3. Your Tax Identification Number (TIN)
After you submit all the requirements, simply wait for your application to be approved before depositing the capital investment for your account.
Step 4: Start trading!
Once you’ve deposited the money to fund your account, you can already start trading! But remember that this doesn’t mean you’ll make tons of money right away. As you may already know if you tried our virtual trading platform, stock trading takes time and effort. You need to spend time and effort analyzing the market, refining your strategy, and constantly improving yourself if you want to succeed. The more you trade, the better you will understand yourself and what works for you—how much risk you can take, how often you want to make trades, how much money you can afford to invest, etc.
It doesn’t stop there.
We’ve covered a lot in this article, but there’s always more to learn! There are many ways to invest, make money, and conquer the stock market.
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