The stock market has changed hugely in recent years, and it's now accessible to everyone, not just professional traders. Gone are the days when you needed a full-service broker to invest, a process that was too intimidating and expensive for amateur investors thinking about trading for the first time.
A range of services and apps are now available, which mean that anyone can trade on the stock market from the comfort of their own home. And even better, these apps recognize that many people getting started might need a helping hand, so they include specific features to point you in the right direction. Here's a look at some of the best apps out there, which include useful extras for new investors.
The performance of your investment in the stock market will be strongly linked to world events. The exact nature of what influences your portfolio and by how much depends on the type of investment you have and the sector.
Motif Explorer provides access to useful technology and guides when learning about spread betting, forex and more. Investigating key trends and building motifs (portfolios) from related stocks add real value for the new investor.
You'll need to have at least $250 and be willing to pay a commission of $9.95 in return for 30 ETFs and stocks. The app allows you to review performance, hunt for new ideas and create lists of favorites.
The Stock Market Simulator
If you're keen to trade but don't feel ready just yet, the Stock market Simulator will give you confidence. This app allows you to experience what it's like to invest in the stock market without any risk of losing money.
In a complete simulation, you will have $10,000 in your dummy account, and your performance will track the real-life US market. This means you can see how your investments would have performed, giving you the chance to tweak and refine your skills without emptying your bank balance while you're still learning.
This isn't a trading app, but it's one that every investor should have. Warren Buffet famously said that every investor should read five newspapers a day to ensure success. In practical terms, that can be difficult, but this app helps you make a good start.
Full of stock charts and market quotes, breaking news and access to CNBC programs, it offers a real-time tour of everything you need to know in the business and financial news. Easy to use and with a simple interface, this app is one that you’ll want to keep as you advance.
For a low-impact way to invest, which removes the need to decide which stocks to choose, Acorns offers an alternative. Linking it up to your credit and debit card, you can round up your spare change from regular purchases and invest it in the stock market. The destination is a wide-ranging portfolio of index funds that have been selected by economist, Harry Markowitz, Nobel Prize winner.
Acorns allows new investors to get a foothold on the stock market in a way that's easy and automatic. Once you've set up the rules around transferring spare change, you can just forget about it. There is a small charge every month which is based on a percentage of your account balance. For this reason, it's not recommended to use it as a one-off because even if the portfolio performs well, your balance will gradually be eaten up. Regularly transferring small sums will enable you to grow the funds you have.