For those interested in participating in the financial markets, you have two options: investing and trading. As an investor, you’ll likely be putting in larger amounts of money and letting them sit long enough to earn even bigger returns. As a trader, however, you’ll put in smaller amounts, sometimes on a daily basis, and take advantage of every rise and drop in the market to earn smaller but more frequent returns.
So basically, each option either investing or trading can yield good profits — the choice just depends on whether you prefer to shell out more and wait longer, but earn bigger, or shell out less without too much waiting, but earn smaller amounts more frequently.
The goal in investing is to build wealth gradually over a period of years or even decades, typically for retirement purposes. Some investors grow their initial investments through compounding or reinvesting to earn much higher profits. Daily losses tend to be disregarded, focusing more on long-term growth. Investing is not by any means a get-rich-quick scheme, but rather a consistent way of growing your wealth over a period of time. Interesting news about investing is that you don’t need to have a lot of money to get started.
One of the most common forms of investing is stock purchasing. Most experts believe the stock market is the best place to grow your money. When you purchase stocks, you buy shares of a company that is listed in the stock market, and you become a partial owner of that company. Its success means your shares will increase in price. So it’s up to you how long you’re going to hold those shares based on how they perform, and if you’re going to buy more for better profits. Your small sums of money can be turned into a fortune if you select the right investments.
Mutual funds are another common instrument for investing, where your money is pooled with that of other investors and managed professionally by fund managers. They invest the fund in stocks, bonds, or short-term debt for you. If you’re overwhelmed by the stock market, mutual funds can be a good place to start and learn the ropes of investing. The Balance recommends looking for an experienced and disciplined team of fund managers to ensure smoother transactions and less stress.
If investing’s aim is to buy and hold, trading’s goal is to maximize returns within a shorter timeframe. Traders tend to have more time to monitor every change in the market. So instead of waiting to earn, say, a 10% return at the end of the year like investors typically would, their goal is to earn 15% at the end of the day. But do consider the difference in the actual amount of capital, as traders tend to use smaller amounts.
A popular way to trade is with foreign currency pairs. FXCM points out that forex is similar to stocks in that you can trade currencies based on your own projections for their value. But unlike stocks, you can trade up or down based on this prediction very easily, given the sheer size of the market. You can buy currencies you think will increase in value, or sell off currencies that look like they’re about to devaluate.
Commodities serve as another common trading instrument but require more specialized knowledge as they may have a higher risk compared to other popular investments. Forbes Advisor states that the four main commodities are energy, metals, agriculture, and livestock. The prices for these commodities constantly shift based on the supply and demand changes in single and global economies. If the supply is lower, demand and prices go higher; and vice versa.
At the end of the day, neither investing nor trading can be considered better than the other. Each one has its pros and cons that you have to study carefully before choosing which option works best for you. Either way, the returns are definitely worth it; so don’t let your money just sit in your savings. Growing it much faster in any way you can is still the wisest decision.
Regina Adams is a stock trader by day, contributing writer by night, and a full-time mother to a 4-year-old. She has a knack for predicting financial markets.
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