Today we are going to discuss one of the most elementary topics for a newbie- How to invest in share market? I have been planning to write this post for a number of days as there are many people who are willing to invest, however, do not know how to invest in share market. Through this article, they will get the answers to their question and learn the step-by-step process of how a beginner can start investing in indian share market.
Please note that this post might be a little longer as I am trying to cover all the basics that a beginner should know before entering the stock investment world. Make sure that you read the article till the end, cause it will be definitely worthwhile reading it. Let’s get started.
Pre-requisites before you start investing
For investing in the Indian stock market, there are a few pre-requisites that I would like to mention first. Here are the few things that you will need to invest in share market:
- Bank Savings account
- Trading and Demat account
- Internet connection
For opening a demat and trading account (usually opened altogether and called 2-in-1 account), the following documents are required:
- PAN Card
- Aadhar card (for address proof)
- Canceled cheque/Bank Statement/Passbook
- Passport size photos
You can have your savings account in any private/public Indian bank.
Where to open your trading and demat account?– This will be discussed later in this post on the section ‘choose your stock broker’ (STEP 4).
Get your documents ready. If you do not have a PAN card, then apply as soon as possible (if you are 18 years old or above).
3 Basic Advice before you start investing
When you are new to the stock market, you enter with lots of dreams and expectations. You might be planning to invest your savings and make lakhs in return.
Although there are hundreds of examples of people who had created huge wealth from the stock market, however, there are also thousands who didn’t.
Here are a few cautionary points for people who are just entering the world of investing.
— Pay down your ‘High-Interest’ debts first
If you have any kind of high-interest paying debts like personal loans, credit card dues debts, etc, then pay them first. The interests of these loans can be even as high as your returns from the market. There is no point in wasting your energy to give all the returns you made from the market as interests of your debts. Pay down these debts before entering the market.
— Invest only your additional/ surplus fund
Stop right there if you are planning to invest your next semester tuition fee, next month flat rent, savings for your daughter’s marriage which is going to happen next year or any similar reasons.
Only invest the amount that won’t affect your daily life. In addition, investing in debts/loans is really a bad idea, especially when you are new and learning how to invest in the share market.
— Keep some cash in hand
The cash in hand doesn’t just serve as your emergency fund. It also serves as your key to freedom. You can take big steps like changing your little flat, or quit your annoying job or simply shifting to a new city, only when you have cash in hand.
Do not get trapped by investing all your money and later losing your freedom. Do not sacrifice your personal freedom in the name of financial freedom.
How to Invest in Share Market?
Step 1: Define your investment goals
It’s important to start with defining your investment goals. Start with end goals in mind. Know what you want.
Do you want to grow your saved money (capital appreciation) to beat inflation and get higher returns? Do you want to build a passive income from your investments through dividends? Are you investing for a specific goal? Or do you just want to have fun in the market along with creating wealth?
If you want to just have fun and want to learn, that’s okay. But make sure that you do not over-invest or get too much attracted to the market? Moreover, most people start the same way and define their goals later.
Anyways, if you are starting for Goal-Based Investing, do remember that the time frame for different investment goals will be different. Your goal can be anything like buying a new house, new car, funding your higher education, children’s marriage, retirement, etc. However, if you are investing in your retirement, then you have a bigger time frame compared to if you are investing in buying your first house.
When you know your goals, you can decide how much you want and for how long you have to remain invested.
Step 2: Create a plan/strategy
Now that you know your goals, you need to define your strategies. You might need to figure out whether you want to invest in the lump sum (a large amount at a time) or by SIP (systematic investment plan) approach. If you are planning small periodic investments, analyze how much you want to invest monthly.
There’s a common misconception among our society that you need large savings to get started. Say, one lakh or above. But that’s not true. As a thumb rule, first, build an emergency fund, and next start allocating a fixed amount let’s say 10-20% of your monthly income to save and invest. You can use the remaining portion of your earnings for paying your bills, mortgages, etc. Nevertheless, even if your allocated amount turns out to be Rs 3-5k or more, it’s good enough to build an investing habit.
Step 3: Read some investing books.
There are a number of decent books on stock market investing that you can read to brush up on the basics. Few good books that I will suggest the beginners should read are:
- The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham
- One up on wall street by Peter Lynch
- Common stocks and uncommon profits by Philip Fisher
- The Dhandho Investor by Mohnish Pabrai
- The little book that beats the market by Joel Greenblatt
Besides, there are a couple of more books that you can read to build good basics of the stock market.
Step 4: Choose your stock broker
Deciding on an online broker is one of the biggest steps that you need to take. There are two types of stockbrokers in India:
- Full-service brokers
- Discount brokers
— Full-Service Brokers (Traditional Brokers)
They are traditional brokers who provide trading, research, and advisory facility for stocks, commodities, and currency. These brokers charge commissions on every trade their clients execute. They also facilitate investing in Forex, Mutual Funds, IPOs, FDs, Bonds, and Insurance.
Few examples of full-time brokers are ICICIDirect, Kotak Security, HDFC Sec, Sharekhan, Motilal Oswal, etc
— Discount Brokers (Budget Brokers)
Discount brokers just provide the trading facility for their clients. They do not offer advisory and hence suitable for a ‘do-it-yourself’ type of clients. They offer low brokerage, high speed and a decent platform for trading in stocks, commodities, and currency derivatives.
A few examples of discount brokers are Zerodha, Upstocs, 5 Paisa, Trade Smart Online, Paytm Money, Groww, etc.
Step 5: Start researching common stocks and invest.
Start noticing the companies around you. If you like the product or services of any company, dig deeper to find out more about its parent company, like whether it is listed on the stock exchange or not, what is its current share price, etc.
Most of the products or services that you use in day to day life — From soap, shampoo, cigarettes, bank, petrol pump, SIM card or even your inner wears, there is a company behind everyone. Start researching about them.
For example- if you’ve been using HDFC debit/credit card for a long time and satisfied with the experience, then investigate further about HDFC Bank. The information of all the listed companies in India is publicly available. Just a simple ‘Google search’ of ‘HDFC share price’ will give you a lot of important pieces of information. (Try it now!)
Similarly, if your neighbor bought a new Baleno car lately, they try to find out more about the parent company, i.e. Maruti Suzuki. What other products it offers and how is the company performing recently- like how are its sales, profits, etc.
Step 6: Select a platform to track your performance
You can simply use an excel or google spreadsheet to track your stocks. Make a spreadsheet with three tables containing:
- The stocks that you are interested in and need to study/investigate,
- Those stocks that you have already studied and found decent,
- Miscellaneous stock- for the other stocks that you want to track.
Else, you can do this by creating multiple watchlists on our Trade Brains Portal. Our Research and Analysis Portal offers users to make up to 5 watchlists and create portfolios. You can sign up on Trade Brains Portal for free to track your stock performance.
This way, you can easily follow the stocks. In addition, there are also a number of financial websites and mobile apps that you can use to keep track of the stocks. However, I would suggest you track your stocks on Trade Brains Portal.
Step 7: Have an exit plan
It’s always good to have an exit plan. There are two ways to exit a stock. Either by booking profit or by cutting a loss. Let’s discuss both these scenarios. Basically, there are only four scenarios when you should sell a good stock in your portfolio:
- When you badly need money
- When the stock fundamentals have changed
- When you find a better investment opportunity and
- When you have reached your investment goals.
If your investment goals are met, then you can exit the stocks happily. Or at least, book a portion of the profit from your stock portfolio and shift it to other more safer investment options. On the other hand, if the stock has fallen under your risk appetite level, then again exit the stock. In short, always know your exit options before entering.
10 Additional points to take care
1. Start small
Do not put all your money on the market in the beginning. Start small and test what you have learned. You can start even with an amount of Rs 500 or 1000. For beginners, it’s more important to learn than to earn. You can invest in a large amount once you have more confidence and experience.
2. Diversify your portfolio
It’s really important that you diversify your portfolio. Do not invest all in just one stock. Buy stocks from companies in different industries.
For example, two stocks of Apollo Tyres and JK Tyres in your portfolio won’t be called a diversified portfolio. Although the companies are different, however, both companies belong to the same industry. If there is a recession/crisis in tyre sector, then your entire portfolio might be in RED.
A diversified portfolio can be something like Apollo tyres and Hindustan Unilever stocks in your portfolio. Here, Apollo Tyres is from Tyre industry and Hindustan Unilever is from FMCG industry. Both the stocks are from different industry in this portfolio and hence is diversified.
3. Invest in blue-chip stocks (for beginners)
Blue chips are the stocks of those reputed companies who are in the market for a very long time, financially strong and have a good track record of consistent growth and returns in the past many years.
For example- HDFC banks (leader in the banking sector), Larsen and turbo (leader in the construction sector), TCS (leader in the software company), etc. A few other examples of blue-chip stocks are Reliance Industries, Sun Pharma, State bank of India, etc.
4. Never invest in ‘FREE’ tips/advice
This is the biggest reason why people lose money in the stock market. They do not carry enough research on the stocks and blindly follow their friends/colleague’s tips and advice.
The stock market is very dynamic and it’s stock price and circumstances change every second. Maybe your friend has bought that stock when it was underpriced, however now it’s trading at a higher price range. Maybe, your friend has a different exit strategy than yours. There are a number of factors involved here, which may end up with you losing the money.
Avoid investing in tips/advice and do your own study.
5. Avoid blindly following the crowd
I know a number of people who have lost money by blindly following the crowd. One of my colleagues invested in a stock just because the stock has given a double return to another of my college in 3 months. He ended up losing Rs 20,000 in the market just because of his blind investing.
6. Invest in what you know and understand
Will you buy ABC company which produces Vinyl sulphone easter and dye intermediates even though you have zero knowledge of the chemical industry?
If you will, then it’s like giving some stranger a one lakh rupee and expecting him to return the money with interests. If you are lending money to someone, you ask a number of questions like what he does, what is his salary, what is his background, etc. However, while investing Rs one lakh in a company that people do not understand, they forget this common logic.
7. Know what to expect from the market
Do not set unrealistic expectations for the stock market. If you want to make your money double in one month, from the stock market, then you have set your expectations wrong. Have a logical expectation from the market.
People are happy with 4% simple interest from the savings account, but a return of 20% in a year sounds underperformance for them.
8. Have discipline and follow your plan/strategy
Do not get distracted if your portfolio starts performing too well or too bad in the first few months of investing. Many people increase their investment amount just in few weeks if they see their stock doing too well, and end up losing in the long run.
Similarly, many people exit the market soon and are not able to get profits when their stocks start performing. Have discipline and follow your strategy.
9. Invest regularly and continuously increase your investment amount
The stock investment gives the best returns when you invest for the long term. Do not invest in lump sump at just one time and wait for the next 10 years to see how much returns you got. Invest regularly whenever you get a good opportunity. Further, increase the investment amount as your savings increase.
10. Continue your education
Keep learning and keep growing. The stock market is a dynamic place and changes continuously. You can only keep up with the stock market if you also continue your education.