Investing Through Your Employer

If you’re on a tight budget, try to invest just 1% of your salary into the retirement plan available to you at work. The truth is you probably won’t even miss a contribution that small.

Work-based retirement plans deduct your contributions from your paycheck before taxes are calculated, which will make the contribution even less painful. When you’re comfortable with a 1% contribution, maybe you can increase it as you get annual raises. You’re unlikely to miss the additional contributions. If you have a 401(k) retirement account at work, then you may be investing in your future already with allocations to mutual funds and even your own company’s stock.

6. Trade options

When it comes to options, Tom Sosnoff at Tastyworks says, “Trade small and trade often.” What type should you trade? There are loads of vehicles, such as FOREX and stocks. The best way to make money by investing when it comes to options is to jump in at around 15 days before corporate earnings are released. What type should you buy? Money calls.

The optimal time to sell those money calls is the day before the company releases its earnings. There’s just so much excitement and anticipation around earnings that it typically drives up the price, giving you a consistent winner. But don’t hold through the earnings. That’s a gamble you don’t want to take if you’re not a seasoned investor, says John Carter from Simpler Trading.

Related: 2 Strategies for Making Money Day Trading With a Bit Less Risk

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Diversify and Reduce Risks

Diversification is considered to be the only free lunch in investing. In a nutshell, by investing in a range of assets, you reduce the risk of one investment’s performance severely hurting the return of your overall investment. You could think of it as financial jargon for “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”

In terms of diversification, the greatest difficulty in doing this will come from investments in stocks. As mentioned earlier, the costs of investing in a large number of stocks could be detrimental to the portfolio. With a $1,000 deposit, it is nearly impossible to have a well-diversified portfolio, so be aware that you may need to invest in one or two companies (at the most) in the first place. This will increase your risk.

This is where the major benefit of mutual funds or ETFs comes into focus. Both types of securities tend to have a large number of stocks and other investments within their funds, which makes them more diversified than a single stock.

4. The key is to diversify

The key, experts say, is to diversify, which means have a variety of investments in different things. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. That keeps balance, and if one investment is going down, another might be holding steady or going up.

For example, if your investments are all in tech and all of a sudden the tech sector starts sliding, so is your portfolio, Sun explained. "If you have some in tech, maybe some in health care and those more traditional companies that pay dividends," Sun said, "then your overall portfolio is a little bit better balanced."

So, try to make sure you have investments across a wide variety of sectors (such as technology, health care, retail, financial, etc.) as well as risk levels. Growth stocks, for example, can gain a lot but also lose a lot. Value stocks are more steady growth. You can also invest in currencies, commodities and riskier investments such as cryptocurrencies and NFTs. Those tend to be more volatile and complex, so you really want to do your homework — and make sure you are only investing what you can afford to lose.

It's OK to get advice from friends when investing, but you need to do your own research and you need to be diversified. If your friend says buy XYZ stock because it went up for them, don't just buy that and leave it at that. It could go down for you. So, if you're diversified, you have a cushion for that.

2. Invest in a money-making course

Investing in yourself is one of the best possible investments you can make. While you might not be able to pinpoint an actualized return on investment, there’s no money that’s better spent. Invest in yourself. Invest in your education. Learn. Adapt. Grow. Discover what you’re passionate about.

There are loads of money-making courses on the internet. The hard part is choosing the right one. From ebooks to social media marketing, search engine optimization and beyond, the possibilities are endless. While many money-making gurus might pop up on social media, not all courses are created alike. Spend time doing your due diligence and research to choose the one that’s right for you.

Related: Mark Cuban’s 3 ‘Smart Money Moves Everyone Should Make’

Use Market Data to Guide Your Decisions

Market data refers to the price, bid/ask quotes, dividend per share (if applicable), market volume, and other market information. There is historical data as well as real-time data.

Whether you are more of a fundamental or analytical investor, this data is valuable. Data-driven decisions prevent impulsive and emotional purchases.

You can find some of these data points within your stock trading platform or on stock and investment websites.

Additionally, commonly-available information to you in most online brokerage accounts will show you the current share price, the 52-week range, market capitalization, volume, and more.

Sell Short

A short seller essentially bets that a stock’s price will fall. Technically, a short seller borrows shares of stock, sells them, then buys them back and returns them to the lender. If the stock price has fallen in between these two transactions, the short seller turns a profit. But if the stock instead rises, then the short seller loses.  In many ways, short selling is like day trading, meaning it’s a quite aggressive strategy. As the long-term trend of the market is strongly up, a short seller must have a compelling reason for believing that a specific stock or index will fall. Macroeconomic factors, an overvalued stock price or a deteriorating business are all reasons that might cause a stock to fall, but they are not guarantees. In a booming market, even stocks that are “overvalued” or unprofitable may continue to rise. Like day trading, short selling can be profitable, but it takes a very astute or professional trader to do so.

5. Continue investing

Here's one of the biggest secrets of investing, courtesy of the Oracle of Omaha himself, Warren Buffett. You do not need to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results. (Note: Warren Buffett is not only the most successful long-term investor of all time, but also one of the best sources of wisdom for your investment strategy.)

The most surefire way to make money in the stock market is to buy shares of great businesses at reasonable prices and hold on to the shares for as long as the businesses remain great (or until you need the money). If you do this, you'll experience some volatility along the way, but over time you'll produce excellent investment returns.

3. Reinvest Your Dividends

Many businesses pay their shareholders a dividend—a periodic payment based on their earnings.

While the small amounts you get paid in dividends may seem negligible, especially when you first start investing, they’re responsible for a large portion of the stock market’s historic growth. From September 1921 through September 2021, the S&P 500 saw average annual returns of 6.7%. When dividends were reinvested, however, that percentage jumped to almost 11%! That’s because each dividend you reinvest buys you more shares, which helps your earnings compound even faster.

That enhanced compounding is why many financial advisors recommend long-term investors reinvest their dividends rather than spending them when they receive the payments. Most brokerage companies give you the option to reinvest your dividend automatically by signing up for a dividend reinvestment program, or DRIP.

What Strategy Is Best for You?

Which strategy is best for you as an owner depends entirely on the rate of return management can earn by reinvesting your money. Sometimes, paying out cash dividends is a mistake because those funds could be reinvested into the company and contribute to a higher growth rate, which would increase the value of your stock.

Other times, the company is an old, established brand that can continue to grow without significant reinvestment in expansion. In these cases, the company is more likely to use its profit to pay dividends to shareholders.

Valuable investments can choose any of these paths. Berkshire Hathaway, for example, pays out no cash dividends, while U.S. Bancorp has resolved to return more than 80% of capital to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buybacks each year. Despite these differences, they both have the potential to be attractive holdings at the right price.

The best way to determine whether a stock is a good investment is to look at the company's asset placement and understand how it manages its money.

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