Online stocks/ currency trading? (in Off-topic)

chuck1234 November 28 2007 3:52 PM EST

Hi, my uncle [more like an older friend really], recently recommended to me that instead of wasting time on so many online RPGs, I should try out some online stocks and currency trading. Now, I'm invested in growing my NCB char till March next year at the very least, but i've dropped my WoW plans for now, and logged off a couple other RPGs i've been playing recently.

So, I was wondering, do any CB folks play this kind of game/ activity on the net? I guess you have to be 18 and above, but your parents can easily open an account for you to play. Or, since most folk here seem to be slightly above 18 ;) have you had any experience in such kind of online activity?

The site that I came across does have a warning that you may lose more than your initial investment, and this talk is about real greenbacks, so I was just wondering, what's the right thing to do? Take a short online course on stocks/ currency trading, and then play small, better than playing umpteen RPGs?

What's your take? Your views are important in influencing my final decision :)

AdminG Beee November 28 2007 4:18 PM EST

Only ever invest what you're prepared to, and can afford to, lose.
Back in the mid 80's (pre internet) I used to follow the stocks and shares. My interest was generated by Maggie Thatcher and her privatisation of British Telecom. I still have the share certificate lying around somewhere...

I can imagine the mention of Maggie Thatcher is likely to bring Johnny all out in a cold sweat... lol

YOU November 28 2007 4:25 PM EST

i would advise you to invest only about 25% of what you have saved. Anything more than that will be a treat. if you have about $1000 or less. Best bet is to forget about it. The transaction cost will eat you alive.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] November 28 2007 4:31 PM EST

Chuck, you should probably consider using something like this:
Before going out and investing real money, many many many people don't realize that "seeing how good you are at investing" doesn't have to cost real money.

chuck1234 November 28 2007 4:46 PM EST

Thanks for your feedback G Beee, YOU, and Verifex. That was extremely illuminating, and makes a decision very easy.

G Beee and YOU, i've been given a max of UK pound sterling 1000, that's not much, so that leaves Verifex's link as the one track to follow :)

I'll post a report a month or so after I've properly played that game with full involvement.

QBsutekh137 November 28 2007 4:53 PM EST

Sensible investing generally doesn't take much time at all because of two fairly standard things:

-- Invest for the long-term.
-- Don't think that you can outsmart the market.

Once you realize those two things, the rest is simple. Decide what your risk-aversion level is (usually related to time horizon), and invest in low-fee funds (index funds are nice) matching that risk level. Have 30 years? Invest in growth stocks. Approaching retirement? Shift to safer/income-generating funds. It's really pretty simple once you master a few basic concepts.

If you think you can outsmart the market by buying low and selling high on a daily basis, you are probably wrong. The only reason to do that would be if you get to invest other people's money and get to charge them fees for it.

I am all for spending time researching the basics: risk, returns, tax implications, etc. Buy some books and read them. But doing anything daily with your money is probably a bad idea -- like people who swear up and down they make money playing online Texas Hold'em until they really average their wins/losses for the year and realize they didn't make squat.

As a start, I highly recommend The Wall Street Journal as a nice source of information. Good web sites to educate yourself would be:

Motley Fool
Sample "beginner" site

Investment clubs are nice too...

chuck1234 November 28 2007 5:33 PM EST

Thanks, sutekh, some more insight into the game, hmmm, i'm wondering if steering into such day-trading territory is really ok for a small time wannabe like moi. I mean, until one reaches a certain income level, i figure mutual funds, etc. ought to be the best option rather than playing 24/7 with risks, much like online poker.

I'll keep to those links and the online stock game suggested by Verifex.

AdminQBVerifex [Serenity In Chaos] November 28 2007 5:41 PM EST

There are plenty of other stock market investment games out there, but the one I linked you does let you buy and sell "options" as well, which can be very lucrative investments. That all aside, what Sutekh said is right, you shouldn't invest your money in anything or do anything in an attempt to "buy low and sell high" and make any money until you fully understand what you are getting yourself into.

Reading a few books about it is always beneficial. Theres a million out there on Google. But one thing I found useful was that video games that let you simulate stock trading give you a pretty accurate view into the real stock market without having to risk real money. I'd say read some books/articles about investing, do some simulations, if you are successful, keep at it, try many different scenarios. I was in a investment club when I was in high school, but I was still not convinced of my skills to be fully sure I wanted to risk real money on this complex investment tool.

QBsutekh137 November 28 2007 11:58 PM EST

I bought "Random Walk Down Wall Street" for my fiance a couple months ago for her birthday...seems one of those standard tomes for personal finance and investment knowledge. Actually seemed a bit heavy to me upon perusal, but she says it's very easy to approach...

QBJohnnywas November 29 2007 3:14 AM EST

*cold sweat*
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