It used to be that stocks and shares were only accessible to multi-screened investors. In fact, before that, it was sweaty, shouty phone calls. And way back before that? Waiting in line to speak to a broker, the 1920s was slow for news and trading, but the trading still happened. Everyday investors would hear about stock market crashes and their losses or profits much later than the professional brokers – making it some risky business indeed.

Fast forward to the 1980s, and computers were running a system called ECNs (electronic communication networks) – displaying in-house all the bids and asking prices for stocks. Brokerages developed their own software and began linking up buyers and sellers with higher efficiency than ever.

In 1987, the crash happened.

However, the 1990s arrived and with it the start of a new technological era. Online trading started to take off; information was being traded faster than ever.

And in 2018? Information is swapped as quickly as breath is taken, and in some cases much faster. You can as an everyday person, set up and manage your own portfolio, there are robo-advisors, and a diverse and beautiful range of markets to get to grips with.

Here are just a few:

  • New York Stock Exchange
  • NASDAQ
  • Euronext
  • London Stock Exchange
  • TMX
  • JSE Limited

And there are so many more. It is a big open field now, and the payers can join the game at reasonably low prices. If this all sounds like too much, you can head to CMC Markets to get access to some free education tool, learn more about CFDs, FOREX, and eventually start trading yourself.

If your interest in now sufficiently piqued however, it’s time to take a look some of the things you should keep in mind before you jump feet first into stocks and shares.

  • Decided if you are a DIY type or a guided type. If you choose to get yourself a trading partner, make sure you pick a company with a good track record, transparency and high availability.
  • Set an amount that you would like to spend and don’t go over that. This isn’t the time to throw money at something, and it is a time to be careful and intelligent.
  • Do plenty of research. Whether or not you decide to work with a company, you need to make sure you do your own research on the stocks you want to invest in.
  • Diversification is risk management. It mixes multiple investments so that you will never lose too much (if it goes that way) in a single stock.
  • Think about why you are investing? Is it to make a lot of money over an extended period? Is it to learn a new skill? Or is it merely to test out some of the fantastic technology behind some of the investment decisions?

Whatever your reason for investing, use the technology you have available to help you with learning the processes, get access to updated information and most importantly try to have fun.