Making an investment in the stock market is something many people will do at some time in their lifetime. There are steps you can take to learn more about your choices, minimize your risk, create a diversified portfolio and generally, invest with more confidence. Here are some tips that will help you to intelligently navigate the world of the stock market.

Create your own index fund. Choose an index you would like to track, like the NASDAQ or Dow Jones. Buy the individual stocks that are on that index on your own, and you can get the dividends and results of an index mutual fund without paying someone else to manage it. Just be sure to keep your stock list up to date to match the index you track.

For some fun in investing in stocks, take a look at penny stocks. The term applies not just to stocks worth pennies, but most stocks with values less than a few dollars. Since these stocks come dirt cheap, even a movement of a dollar or two can yield major dividends. This can be a low cost way of learning the markets.

To make the most of your stock market portfolio, develop a detailed plan with specific strategies and put your plan in writing. Strategies for the timing of stock purchases and sales should definitely be included in the plan. Your plan also needs to have an investment budget that you will stick to. This helps you make investing decisions using your head, rather than your heart.

Remember that to be successful in the stock market, you will need more than just luck. There are many people who believe there is no skill needed, and those people are wrong. You need to know what you are doing, and really learn about the stock market before making any investment.

Never take anything personally in investing. Do not be jealous of another’s success. Do not let your financial advisor’s advice or criticism get to you. Do not panic when the market moves down and don’t get overly exhilarated when it rises. Many top fund managers make their best decisions when deep in yoga or after a long meditation.

Whenever you are looking up companies in which you might want to invest with, make sure you are paying attention to at least a 5 year history of the stock. You really need to look deeper than that if you can. This should go right along with making sure that you pay attention to all data provided about the stock. All the same, you must know what the chart looks like, and you need to go as deep as you can.

Before even buying your first stock, make sure you know your current total financial portfolio. What are your debts and income? Do you have six months reserve fund saved up? This should be done before buying a single share. Once it is accomplished, how much of your income can you put towards investing? Once you know this, then determine your stock portfolio and automate it.

These suggestions should help you to become a more savvy investor. While there’s no guarantee you’ll become the next stock market mogul, a better understanding of investment basics will go a long way in making smart money decisions. Here’s hoping all your future investment choices will result in a healthy return!