Trading from home has never been more accessible to the individual investor. Due to advances in technology, calling your broker on the phone is no longer required, as you can trade -- self-directed -- online at anytime. There are risks, though: You can quickly lose money playing the stock market. Trading from home requires four primary steps, and while nothing can guarantee trading success, adhering to the steps will have you prepared and ready to trade.
Equip a home office a desk, chair and computer in a location where you will not be distracted and can focus on research and trading. A relatively new computer capable of handling trading related software and quickly executing your commands is highly beneficial. Use a high-speed Internet connection to assure prompt access to market news and stock price quotes. Keep a trading journal to record the reasons for your trades, your results and your market-related thoughts.
Open an online trading account that provides the services you require, including stock charts, analytical tools and research. Trading from home incurs a commission on each trade, and even though it costs considerably less than it would cost to call a full-service broker to execute the trade, these commissions add up. Each broker may charge additional fees for stock charts, access to price quotes, research or account maintenance. Read the fine print before opening an account.
With the Internet you can research your own stocks and trading strategies, quickly accessing information from multiple sources. Researching the stocks you trade and the strategies you use is the key element to your trading success. Find several financial information sources to conduct your research, such as Yahoo! Finance or Finviz. Fine-tune your market approach before trading real capital. Use a virtual stock simulator to sharpen your research and trading skills until you are trading profitably. A free simulator is available at smartstocks.com.
Tracking results and monitoring performance is crucial to your long-term trading success, providing a record of your results that you can analyze to determine what worked and what didn't. If you don't record why you made a trade and how it worked out, you are more likely to repeat the same mistakes.