Stock charts against blue background vector | how to start learning about investing
Read time: 3 min

“What advice do you have for students who are interested in investing in stocks but don’t have experience and don’t know how to start?”
Jessica A., first-year graduate student, University of the Pacific 

Investing in the stock market has never been easier to do, especially given the many mobile apps that can be used without additional fees. It might be tempting to dive right in and toss your savings into a company or cryptocurrencies you’ve heard about, but before you do, take it slow and make sure you’re ready and prepared. 

What’s the best use for your money right now?

First, consider the best place to spend any additional income you might have. While investing in stocks may seem more exciting and fun, make sure your educational and living expenses are the first priority. If you’re utilizing student loans to finance your education, consider putting that additional money toward your loan balance. That will mean less you need to pay back later and less interest to pay back on top of that.

Vector of piggy bank with coins, cash, and cards | how to start learning about investing

Don’t expect “get rich quick” situations.

If you feel comfortable with your plans for financing your education—and your monthly bills are covered—proceed cautiously and go into investing with the intention of being in it for the long haul. You’ve probably already heard about other people, including students, who turned their small investment into thousands of dollars or more. While that is incredibly exciting, it is rare and you may have more to lose than gain. 

In recent months, many cryptocurrencies (digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services) have become popular investments with speculation that their value will continue to rise. The challenge with these is that they are considered quite volatile, meaning that their value can change suddenly and unpredictably (which it has if you look back over the past year). In recent months, some have even seen huge shifts up and down as a result of celebrities tweeting about them.

Where to start?

Vector of person on bike riding a stock chart | how to start learning about investingIt’s OK if you don’t have much knowledge about stocks and investing, but it is a good idea to do some research. First, consider what system or tool you plan to use. There are investment companies and banks out there that will help advise and manage your investments for you, and there are also many free mobile apps now that you can link to your bank account and move money as you feel comfortable. As you explore these options, pay attention to any potential fees so you aren’t surprised later. Then, think about what you want to invest in. If you’re curious about a company, simply Google the company name and the word “stock” to find their stock history and how it has performed. 

It’s absolutely OK to have some fun investing as long as you understand the risks. You might buy $50 worth of stock, but it’s entirely possible that $50 could shrink down to $10, or even $0 if the company fails. On the other hand, you could see growth and earn money as a result. 

Do your research, manage your expectations, and be smart about it. Investing can be done by anyone, and starting early can be a great way to expand your financial literacy and wellness. The best piece of advice? Buy low and sell high. 



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