A Primer on Stocks and the Stock Market

Stock market basics are important to understanding how the world of cryptocurrency works, and it’s best to start with a basic primer on stocks. This article is an introduction into what a stock is, what goes into calculating its price, and why they’re so popular in certain industries.

The “stock market for beginners” is a primer on how the stock market works. It includes a brief history of stocks, how to buy and sell them, and terms you should know.

Note from the editor: Dividend Monk publisher Matt Alden S. contributed this guest article.

The stock market may be a perplexing and stressful environment. It might seem to run without rhyme or reason, especially after experiencing recessions, bank bailouts, and extreme volatility.

The capacity to manage one’s own money is a critical talent for every guy. Understanding precisely what he owns and why he owns it is a vital element of life. Many males, on the other hand, will state that they have no idea how the stock market works.

Fortunately, the foundations of buying and selling stock are rather straightforward underneath all of the cacophony of computer trading and nonstop financial media. On the surface, technological advancements and increased news delivery speed have complicated things, but the fundamental concepts are the same now as they were 100 years ago. This article explains what stock is and how shares of stock are purchased and sold on the stock market.

A fraction of a business is a share of stock.

Stock refers to the ownership of a public firm as a whole. The stock shares that are bought and sold amongst investors are just a small part of the overall firm.

If 10 persons possess equal shares in a small carpentry firm, the company may be thought of as ten shares, with each owner/investor owning one share. If the firm makes a profit of $500,000 per year, the profits per share will be $50,000 since it is split 10 ways among these stockholders.

The carpentry company’s owners may elect to reinvest the earnings in the company’s growth, or they could use some of the money to pay themselves a portion of the profits. They may sell their shares to someone else if they desire to quit the company. One of the owners may even opt to purchase a share from another owner, giving him two shares and a 20% stake in the firm.

A contemporary business functions in the same manner, only it has millions or perhaps billions of shares instead of 10. Corporations are “publicly traded,” which means that “x” number of shares are available for purchase or sale on a stock market. The shareholders elect directors to run the firm in order to arrange so many owners into a leadership team. Shareholders may vote to elect members to the Board of Directors, which is the organization’s highest operational authority, on an annual basis. The Board then names the leadership team, which includes the Chief Executive Officer and other senior executives, to oversee the company’s day-to-day operations.

The Board of Directors takes high-level decisions on the firm’s direction, as well as whether to reinvest all earnings in the company for development or pay out a percentage of the overall profit as cash payments to shareholders, known as dividends.


Why Do Companies Become Public?

Companies that go public usually do it in order to raise more capital for future expansion. An Initial Public Offering, or “IPO,” is done when the owners of a privately held firm wish to make it simpler to sell their private shares, or if they want to sell a portion of their company to the public to generate money to help the company develop quicker. During an IPO, they will sell part of the company’s shares to the general public, and then individuals will be able to purchase and sell those shares among themselves.

A simpler example may be used to demonstrate the process:

A guy called John runs a company that offers the greatest mustache combs in the world. He employs ten people and is the only owner of the business. For a time, this works out nicely, with him making $100,000 in profit each year and his staff doing well as well. However, it seems that every year as Movember approaches, it becomes more difficult to keep up with all of the sales. He chooses to ask five pretty rich friends to assist him build his firm after much thought.

They each put up $50,000, and in return, they each get a 10% stake in the business. So John has funded $250,000 for his firm, but he only owns 50% of it currently. The firm is made up of 10 $50,000 shares, with John owning five and each of the five investors owning one. This $250,000 may be used by John to recruit more staff and purchase more equipment in order to accelerate the company’s growth.

After five years, the company’s profit has increased to $500,000 each year. Because John owns 50% of the company, his share of the profits is $250,000, and each investor’s share is $50,000. They all agree, however, to keep reinvesting a portion of the earnings back into the firm in order to recruit more people and purchase more equipment.

The firm has expanded much more in 10 years. It currently has a $2 million yearly profit and hundreds of staff. But John is an extremely ambitious guy, and he wants to spread his high-end mustache combs all across the globe, maybe even branching out into other masculine hygiene items.

As a result, John and the five investors decide to “go public,” which means they will have an initial public offering (IPO) and sell a piece of their firm to the general public. Although John still owns 50% of the firm and each of the five investors owns 10%, they have decided to sell half of the company to the public in this IPO. This will bring in a significant amount of additional funding to help them expand.

John divides the corporation into one million shares (each of the initial ten shares was divided into 100,000 shares) and sells 500,000 of them for $20 apiece to the general public. John, who owns 250,000 shares (or 25% of the firm), and the first five investors, who each possess 50,000 shares, own the remaining shares (5 percent of the company each). Although John and the initial investors have diminished their ownership of the firm (from 50% to 25% for John, and from 10% to 5% for each investor), there is now a lot more capital to deal with.


John earns $10 million for his men’s hygiene firm by selling 500,000 shares to the public for $20 each, allowing him to recruit more people and acquire more equipment in order to improve the world’s mustaches. The original five affluent investors are ecstatic as well, since they may now sell their shares to anybody. They may sell their shares and retire, or they might acquire more.

John’s firm now has a lot more precise obligations to meet now that it is public. They must provide audited financial statements four times a year, adhere to internal corporate information sharing guidelines, and shareholders elect a Board of Directors to operate the firm.

Stocks are purchased and sold on a stock exchange.

It would be impossible to purchase and sell shares informally since publicly listed firms have so many shares and are held by so many individuals.

To alleviate this complication, stock purchases and sales are conducted on a separate stock market. The New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street is the biggest, but there are more prominent exchanges such as the NASDAQ, the London Stock Exchange, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange. These exchanges are markets (either physical or electronic) where shares of stock are purchased and traded.

People may purchase or sell shares of stock at a price they agree on, and this price fluctuates over time depending on buyer and seller supply and demand. Shares prices may be unpredictable in the short term since buyers and sellers have a variety of motives to trade stock at any particular moment.

The stock’s value is determined throughout time by the underlying company’s business performance. When John’s company only made $100,000 in profit each year, a share representing 10% of the company was only worth a little amount of money. When he built the firm to a profit of $500,000 and then $2 million, a 10% stake in the company would be worth significantly more than it was when it was only earning $100,000.

When the firm was eventually divided into a million shares, each share was less costly since it only represented a little portion of the company, but owing to the splitting of their initial, bigger shares, John and the original five investors each ended up owning thousands of shares. John might increase overall earnings to $5 million, $10 million, or even more if he continues to run what is now a publicly listed men’s hygiene products firm. The price of the shares will vary over time in comparison to the IPO price of $20, but over time, as the firm expands, so will the value of each share. In this scenario, one millionth of a growing corporation is represented by each share.

For example, if the firm makes a profit of $2 million and has one million shares outstanding, John and the Board of Directors may elect to give each shareholder $1.00 in cash dividends for each share they possess. Shareholders are free to maintain their shares and receive dividends whenever the corporation pays them. Years later, assuming the corporation continues to make a profit of $5 million each year and pays out 50% of that profit as dividends to shareholders, each shareholder will earn $2.50 in dividends per share owned. There are certain corporations that have increased their dividends year after year for over 25 or even 50 years.


If, on the other hand, John’s firm performs badly over time and his yearly profit decreases, his stock will ultimately lose value. If his firm ever went bankrupt, the price and value of his stock would plummet to $0.

How to Invest in Stocks

You have a few major alternatives for purchasing a share in a publicly listed company. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; it all depends on whether you want to choose particular stocks or not, how much money you have to invest, and your objectives.

1) Purchase stock via a broker.

You may utilize a middleman to perform your buying and selling for you rather than going to a stock market. A broker is someone who is registered with the exchange and may buy and sell stock there. In the past, you’d have to phone your broker or meet with him in person, but today, the majority of communication takes place online. You may open an account with a brokerage company online and purchase or sell shares from there. It works in a similar way to online banking, and all of your stocks will be housed in one brokerage account.

There are full service brokerage businesses that give this option for customers who want to meet with a broker in person. They can provide you personalized investment advice and help you reach your financial objectives.

In any case, you’ll have to pay brokerage fees for them to purchase and sell shares on your behalf. Those who purchase and sell stocks regularly might rack up a lot of fees, but by investing for longer periods of time and purchasing less frequently, you can keep your costs down.

2) Sign up for a Direct Stock Purchase Plan.

Another low-cost or no-cost alternative is to acquire shares directly from the firm via a scheme known as a Direct Stock Purchase Plan (DSPP). You may become a registered shareholder of the company by going straight to their transfer agent (the company that maintains and tracks their shares) and paying cash to acquire additional shares on occasion.

Dividend Reinvestment Plans are a subset of Direct Stock Purchase Plans (DRiPs). You own stock directly under these programs, and when the firm distributes cash dividends to shareholders, the corporation will automatically reinvest the cash dividends you would have received into purchasing new shares for you, even fractional shares. You may exponentially enhance your wealth and dividend income by growing a small number of affordable shares into a bigger and greater number of more value shares over time.

These programs are designed for long-term investors who want to keep a company’s shares for a long time. Unlike a broker, where you may buy and sell shares quickly, these programs are for patient, long-term investors.

3) Put money into a mutual fund

If you don’t want to invest in specific corporations like The Coca-Cola Company or General Electric, mutual funds are a good alternative.


A mutual fund is a kind of collective investment vehicle in which a group of investors combine their money to acquire shares in a variety of firms in one large fund. Within that investment vehicle, a fund manager is in charge of deciding which stocks to purchase or sell. Stocks, bonds, cash, and other investments are examples of assets that may be held in a mutual fund. In essence, rather of owning a single stock, a mutual fund owner buys a piece of a larger portfolio of stocks and/or other assets.

Mutual funds come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they may be divided into two broad categories:

Mutual funds that are actively managed. In an actively managed mutual fund, the fund management chooses which stocks to acquire, hold, and finally sell on a regular basis. The objective of a fund manager is often to give a higher rate of return for investors than the average rate of return for all equities, which is known as “beating the market.” Other times, the fund management may be attempting to reduce volatility and safeguard the investors’ capital while still generating a decent rate of return.

Mutual funds often charge substantial fees to cover the costs of purchasing and selling shares within the fund, as well as to compensate the fund management. Fees are a modest percentage of the fund’s value each year, but they may mount up quickly.

Index funds are a kind of mutual fund that invests in a A mutual fund that is managed passively is known as an index fund. The fund management is not selecting individual equities to acquire or sell in order to achieve any specific objectives. An index fund, on the other hand, tracks a precise list of numerous firms.

The Standard and Poor’s 500, often abbreviated as the S&P 500, is the most frequently watched index list. This is a ranking of 500 of the country’s biggest and most profitable corporations, and it serves as a major benchmark for long-term stock market success.

The fund manager of an S&P 500 index fund has just one goal: to mimic the list’s performance. He’ll invest in those 500 firms’ stock in nearly the same amounts that the index recognizes. The costs for index fund investors are quite minimal since this procedure is mostly automated.

Investing in an index fund helps you to diversify your portfolio fast, since a basic S&P 500 index fund distributes your money over about 500 firms.

What’s the Difference Between a 401(k), an IRA, and Stocks?

The overlap between 401(k) plans, IRAs, and stock shares is one potentially perplexing component of the stock market. Some individuals confuse 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) with investments, although they are just retirement vehicles for keeping assets. You may often invest in a number of mutual funds, including index funds, under a 401(k) plan. You may invest in mutual funds, individual stocks, and other assets via an IRA.



Working to accumulate assets, whether via individual stock ownership or index funds and other investments, may help you expand your financial freedom in terms of what you work on and how you spend your life.

People who are inexperienced with the mechanics of the stock market may lose money, and money that you need in a few years should not be utilized to purchase stock today owing to the volatility nature of the market over shorter periods. Investing in the stock market, on the other hand, is a long-term strategy that involves patience and balance.

Speaking with a financial expert for sound guidance or gathering information from a number of sources may provide extremely positive results. Over the previous century or so, the S&P 500’s long-term average rate of return has been roughly 9% each year. This suggests that, despite the market’s volatility, an investor would have grown their wealth by 9% each year on average over a lengthy period of time. A 9 percent annual rate of return equates to a doubling of your money every eight years.

Speaking with a financial expert for sound guidance or gathering information from a number of sources may provide extremely positive results. Over the previous century or so, the S&P 500’s long-term average rate of return has been roughly 9% each year. This suggests that, despite the market’s volatility, an investor would have grown their wealth by 9% each year on average over a lengthy period of time. A 9 percent annual rate of return equates to a doubling of your money every eight years.

Matt Alden S. is the creator of Dividend Monk, a personal finance and investment website that helps readers get closer to financial independence. The site contains in-depth information on dividend stocks, long-term investing, indexes, stock valuation tools, and wealth accumulation.



The “how to invest in stocks and make money” is a primer on how the stock market works. It will teach you about stocks, what they are, and how investing in them can make you a lot of money.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do beginners buy stocks?

A: There are a few ways that beginners can buy stocks. They can either purchase them on the open market, through an online broker, or they could join a company as an investor.

Can you get rich off stocks?

A: No, there is no way to make a profit off stocks.

How do stocks and the stock market work?

A: The stock market is a financial system that facilitates the buying and selling of stocks, bonds or other securities. It operates as a form of currency exchange where investors buy shares in companies in order to obtain ownership over them. These shares can then be sold at any time for profit through trading on an open market.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_market)

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