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Entering the world of stock trading is an exciting prospect for new investors. While the stock market can be notoriously unpredictable at times, it's not unreasonable to expect a significant profit on your investment over time. Everyone dreams of reaping the big rewards, but with daily ups and downs, the market can be a fickle friend if you're not prepared before you begin investing. Consider these five smart trading tips to heighten your chances of reaching success.

1. Only Invest the Money You Can Afford
When you find yourself down on your luck and in need of cash, stock trading is a tempting path toward improving your financial picture. However, it's important to make sure that you're only investing the money you can actually afford to invest. Consumers with massive credit card debt should focus on paying off their cards before investing significant amounts of cash, as the interest charges can eat away at your profits. Avoid investing money that you might need in the near future, particularly if you're short on disposable cash or if you don't have an emergency fund. People who have the greatest success in the stock market are those who have already established solid financial foundations.

2. Develop Your Own Investment Philosophy
Once you're ready to begin investing, it's important to develop a clear investment philosophy for yourself. You might want to focus on start-up companies with the potential for expansion or you could divide your investments among a group of companies with track records of success. Keep in mind that investing in a company means that you own a small piece of it. Try to invest in businesses that you believe in and that you want to see succeed. As you continue to explore the possibilities of stock trading, you'll find that you can make clearer decisions about individual stocks when you have a thorough investment philosophy firmly in place.

3. Pay Attention to Long-Term Trends
Planning ahead is an extremely important stock trading strategy, which means that it's essential to look for long-term trends in the companies you're investing with. You can't rely on the past as a predictor of what stocks will do in the future, but you can learn important lessons from looking back on how the market has performed over time. Look to invest in businesses that have a clear potential for long-term growth and you'll find yourself with stable stocks and greater opportunities for profit. This strategy can apply to both new and old businesses. To determine the potential of an investment, analyze what strategies a company has in place for long-term success.

4. Stay Calm While You Trade
Because the market is constantly fluctuating, it's all too easy to get caught up in the emotion of trading. You'll have the greatest returns, however, when you're making clear decisions based on logic, numbers and your personal investment philosophy. To avoid making decisions based on emotional reactions, be careful not to monitor your stocks through each price change during the day. You should definitely be tracking your investments closely, but watching the ticker all day won't help you make sound choices. By focusing your attention on the overall performance of your stocks, you'll get a better picture of how your money is actually performing.

5. Have a Clear Set of Expectations for Each Stock
While slight drops in a stock's performance might not be cause for immediate alarm, you still need to know when it's time to cut your losses and move on. If you have a stock that you're always worried about, you might need to consider selling. One of the greatest things about stock trading is that you'll always have another chance for an investment opportunity. When a stock consistently performs below expectations or when a business starts to make poor decisions, don't be afraid to pull your money out and reinvest in a business you believe in.

Stock Trading Made Simple: Five Things You Need to Know

Stock Trading Made Simple: Five Things You Need to Know