Are you ready to enter into a whole new world of decision-making steps that could yield income for you in a way you never thought of before? Maybe you’d like to try your luck as an individual investor. If you think that the bear market and the bull market are off in the woods somewhere, you might want to start looking at websites that explain exactly what it takes to become an individual investor. You don’t need much money to begin your venture, so don’t let that stop you if your investment funds are limited.

People invest for a variety of reasons, such as to grow wealth or to plan for retirement. You may be a young professional or a worker with your first real job, wondering how you can begin investing part of your savings. Or you may be reaching retirement soon, and wonder what to do with your investments when you retire. These are great reasons to learn more about investing.

There are three main forms of investment for the individual investor– stocks, bonds, and cash. Most investors begin by saving cash. You will want to begin an investment portfolio, which can be kept on your computer, or it can be an actual folder to hold important documents related to companies where you have invested your money. Stocks and bonds have the advantage over cash that they often pay higher interest rates than you would get by investing your money in a savings account or in CD’s. There are risks to both stocks and bonds, though, so it’s a good idea to only invest money that you can afford to lose, especially in stocks.

Stocks are portions of a company that owners sell to produce more funds for their businesses. Stocks are no longer owned solely by wealthy people with access to the best professional money managers like those at Morgan Stanley, Fidelity, and JP Morgan.  An individual investor can access the public markets through an online stock broker today.  When you buy shares of stock, you are actually buying into a particular company, and you will own a small portion of it. Stocks go up and down, and many investors feel like it’s too risky to keep a stock if it is falling in value so they sell it. This is not what most investment specialists recommend to the individual investor. They say that the natural ebb and flow of the stock market is in up and down swings in value. They usually recommend keeping falling stocks because they will inevitably rise again over the long term.

Bonds are another form of investment. When an individual investor buys bonds, he or she is actually lending money to the company who will pay you back with interest. Federal, local, and state governments also sell bonds that will pay you regular interest payments. Many financial advisers recommend having some bonds in your portfolio since they often even out the losses that you may experience with stocks.

While you’re waiting for your cash to grow for your investments, it’s a good idea to read all that you can on stock investment strategies and about various companies that you may want to invest in. There are many online sites with information to help the individual investor learn investment strategies, particularly on investment company websites. You can also find general investment information on sites that cover many topics of information, such as magazine or news reporting websites.

When you’re ready, you’ll need to find an online stock trading company. There are several that you can use that charge only minimal fees. You’ll need to put some funds into your account, and you’re ready to trade!

Remember these tips as you embark on your adventure in the world of investments. Some companies that you might want to invest in have direct stock purchase plans in which companies make investments for you with funds they deduct from your account each month in a specified amount. Other companies may reinvest the interest that you earn from their stocks. These are two easy ways to begin buying stocks without a lot of decision-making effort on the investor’s part. As for bonds, you may want to purchase a government bond for your portfolio since these are low risk, and some are even insured up to large amounts.