A Beginners’ Guide Investing in The Stock Market

There is no better way to learn than by doing. So we at Imarticus Learning believe that the best way to prepare for an interview for Corporate Finance jobs is to actively invest in the market in whichever way possible thereby putting some ‘skin in the game’, which ensures you know what’s going on. While FMVC and our Diploma in Corporate finance focus on Interview Prep using mock interviews and providing sample questions, we always encourage our students to actively participate in the stock market by opening Phantom Accounts.
Before you begin actively investing, you need to answer a few questions :

1. What are you doing this for? If you are doing it for the course, we advise you to open a phantom account, which essentially means you do everything but invest real money. Regardless of if you open a phantom account or the real thing, the following steps will help.
2. What kind of investor are you? Are you a risk taker, risk-averse, or a little bit of both? This is what we call investor profiling and we delve into this a great deal in our Retail Banking and Wealth Management Diploma, one of India’s leading programs/courses in Retail Banking and Wealth Management. Being a risk taker is simple. It requires a strong stomach and a healthy attitude to losing some money because the equity market is volatile. While you will be making decisions based on sound analysis, sometimes things go wrong and you could lose all your capital, hard earned money you have been saving for a long time. How do you feel about that? If you shudder at the thought and think you will lose a lot of sleep then you are probably risk averse. Once you realize this, you can then invest your portfolio keeping that in mind and put aside a small amount for risky ventures that offer spectacular returns and perhaps put the rest in conservative investments with lower returns.
3. How much time do you have? Picking stocks is hard work and there’s a reason why Mutual fund managers get paid so much to do it. So if you don’t have the time, we suggest starting out with an index fund like Franklin India Index or HDFC Index Fund – Sensex. An index fund is a mutual fund that invests in a predefined stocks of an index in a percentage allocation that resembles the index. Your portfolio could be a mix of different index funds, NSE Small caps, BSE Sensex and maybe even an international index fund.
4. I want to invest individually. We suggest creating your own index fund and take control of the percentage allocation thereby doing some work of your own while having the Sensex as a guide. If you plan to move away from the index, then create a portfolio of 12-20 well-chosen stocks that are extremely well covered and have excellent investor relations.
Here are some broad rules
a. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket or one sector
b. Understand the concept of defensive stocks and cyclicality
c. Don’t completely trust your broker but aim to create a good relationship
d. If you plan to invest using an online platform- the preferred method, then remember to read, research and plan meticulously and keep a record and mark to market regularly
Our next blog post will focus on the technicalities of opening your first account as well understanding various stock market terminology.


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