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4 Tips to Help You Buy Better Stocks

4 Tips to Help You Buy Better Stocks

Trading in the stock market can be both lucrative and devastating. This kind of investment is different from proactive investments, like house flipping, where you buy a rundown house, fix it up, and resell it for a much higher price. There you have control over your investment – the amount of effort and labor you put in improves your chances of selling for a profit.

But, buying and selling stocks is usually very non-proactive where you simply wait for prices to rise before selling for a profit. It seems like gambling, but the difference is, you can do research on the market environment and potential company you’re about to invest in so you can make an educated prediction on whether its stock prices will rise or fall.

Here are four more ways that can help you choose profitable stocks:

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1. Invest in companies making money.

Most new investors go into stock market trading thinking they can pick a random startup, buy some stocks, and wait to see if prices rise or fall. This makes it more like gambling and less like investing.

If you want to lower your chances of buying bad stocks (and save money), you should choose a company whose market you can understand, and carefully check the company’s financial history to see if they’re on the way up or down. Don’t rely on weird statistics, like random spikes in prices, but base your insights on gradual increases in stock prices and company revenue.

Even if you can’t tell from a company’s financial records whether it’s going to prosper, understanding the company’s market allows you to predict the upcoming overall environment, like if you’re well-versed in the augmented reality field and foresaw the huge boom Pokemon Go would bring for all augmented reality startups. Or if you’re more knowledgeable about mineral resources, you could try investing in new mining operations.

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2. Try to choose leaders instead of companies.

The most successful businessmen made their lucrative mark by thinking differently. For example, Jeff Bezos of Amazon introduced predictive analytics where he theorized that studying an individual buyer’s purchase history would provide better insight on which products to recommend to him.

Most stock market investors will focus on the company – think outside the box and focus on the people behind the company. Like seeing the forest for the trees, even if a company’s financial history looks bad, if a renowned guru just joined their team, you can expect great things in the future for that company and it would be wise to buy those stocks while they’re low.

3. Are there any competitors?

You found a new startup with over 1000 employees and approved loan applications for the construction of a fairly sized factory. Sounds great, right? Then you find out it’s planning on manufacturing cherry, vanilla, and fruit-flavored sodas. Turn away. Even if a particular company seems solid with ample financial backing and a large employee team, you should think twice before investing in it if its market has a lot of competitors.

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The soda market is huge, with the top brands already saturating the market with their different-flavored products. Unless this new startup is offering something radical, like glow-in-the-dark beverages, it will be a challenge for it to survive among the other established companies who are selling the same exact products.

4. Pay attention to the weather!

Buy stocks when it’s raining and sell them when it’s sunny. Why? Researchers found that people’s planning behavior is affected by the weather and temperature. In particular, they found that people buy less when it’s raining and buy more when it’s sunny – they found this leads to stocks underperforming when it’s drizzling and performing better when the sun is shining.

Of course, the weather’s effects on the stock market aren’t massive, but if you’re planning to invest in an iffy startup, why not buy their stocks on a rainy day when chances are their prices are lower. This means less risk for you because if you decide to sell your shares, you just need to wait for a nice sunny day when their prices are likely to rise (even if just a little).

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Investing in the stock market can be like gambling, but if you follow these tips you’ll lessen your risk of buying bad stocks.

Featured photo credit: Olu Eletu via images.unsplash.com

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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