Where to practice investing before you risk your money

• Speculate to accumulate

Although investing in stocks or shares is always going to be risky, there are probably more ways of minimising your potential losses than you realise. You won’t make a fortune in a fluid environment like the stock exchange without some degree of speculation, but with a few strategic moves you’ll be making your initial investment go further, whilst seeing your profits soar.

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• Be proactive and get the insider news

If you are an absolute beginner you’ll need to do your homework before you even think about laying out cash, your inexperience will be the greatest hurdle to overcome, so start reading industry news and watching how the markets progress over time. Also read up about the stock market, look at the ways in which it operates, as well as how previous investors have suffered losses or made gains before you.

• Experience the markets interactively
Next, before you begin your trial run, you might want to try out a few websites where you can practice your new found knowledge of the stock market in a completely risk free environment. Investopedia is packed with useful information for the novice, but they also offer a simulator. Here, you can create your own personal fantasy portfolio, then keep watch over how your chosen companies are performing, along with many others who’d prefer to play safe before parting with their hard earned cash.

• Learn from the best
The Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSE) is another way of testing your financial instincts and maybe learning a little about how you’d get on in a real-life market. Once you register you will be given $200, 000 in Hollywood dollars, your profits will rise and fall depending on the artists and films you chose to back. It’s a fun activity, but HSE is backed by Cantor Fitzgerald a well established financial services provider, with a great deal of insider knowledge, so you’ll be learning from one of the best.

• Take control of your finances
Lastly, it’s important to have a deep understanding of your own financial situation before you decide how much to invest. Ensure your monthly income meets your expenditure, keep your savings account topped up for a rainy day and bring down your debt to a manageable amount – well below a year’s salary. Essentially, you should never part with more money than you can afford to lose, so having made sure your funds are adequate, set aside an amount specifically for this purpose. This investment pot can weather the storms of the financial markets, so your current account doesn’t have to. Moreover, if you are gambling with money that is set aside for this purpose, you are far more likely to enjoy the process, rather than becoming overly concerned with any initial losses.

• Seek help if you need it
If you run into financial difficulties whilst planning your investments, or after you begin to buy and sell, always ask for help. Remember that forensic accountants for instance Forthsonline.co.uk are not just used by large companies and legal experts; they are also available for individuals who need their services. Even if you already have a solicitor onboard, a forensic accountant will be able to delve far deeper into a problem, offering useful financial insights and becoming a valuable asset.

About the author: Ted Hansen shares his thoughts and experiences about managing finances. He hopes to enrich the lives of his readers with ideas on how to secure their businesses and families.

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