If you want to invest in the stock market but don’t know where to start, read on.,A $10,000 S&P 500 index investment 50 years ago would be worth roughly $1.2 million today. When done effectively, stock investing can produce long-term wealth. Here’s how.,Shares: If you have the time and inclination, you can invest in specific equities. If so, we recommend it. Smart, patient investors can beat the market over time. If quarterly earnings reports and moderate math don’t seem attractive, there’s nothing wrong with a passive approach.,You can buy individual equities or index funds that track the S&P 500. We prefer passive funds to actively managed ones (although there are certainly exceptions). Index funds have reduced costs and replicate their underlying indexes’ long-term performance. The S&P 500 has returned around 10% annually, which can generate wealth over time.,Robo-advisors have become popular in recent years. A Robo-advisor invests your money in index funds based on your age, risk tolerance, and investment goals. Many Robo-advisors optimize tax efficiency and make improvements over time.,First, we’ll discuss stock money you shouldn’t invest. You shouldn’t invest money you’ll need within five years in the stock market.,Long-term, the stock market will rise, but short-term stock prices are too unstable — a 20% decrease in a year isn’t unusual. During the COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, the market dropped more than 40% and recovered within months.,Investments.,Let’s speak about investing money you won’t need within five years. Asset allocation involves several criteria. Age, risk tolerance, and investment goals are key factors.,Your age? Stocks grow less desirable as you age. Young people have decades to ride out market ups and downs, but retirees rely on investment income.,Here’s an asset allocation rule of thumb. -110 your age This much of your investable money should be in stocks (this includes mutual funds and ETFs that are stock-based). The rest should be in bonds or high-yield CDs. Depending on your risk tolerance, modify this ratio.,Say you’re 40. This rule proposes investing 70% of your money in equities and 30% in fixed income. If you’re a risk-taker or plan to work into retirement age, adjust this ratio toward stocks. If you don’t like huge portfolio volatility, you may wish to adjust it.,If you can’t buy stocks, all the stock buying advice for beginners is useless. This requires a brokerage account.,eToro, TD365, and others offer these accounts. Opening a brokerage account usually takes minutes. You can fund your brokerage account via EFT, cheque, or wire.,Opening a brokerage account is easy, however, consider these factors before choosing a broker:,Account type.,First, choose a brokerage account. For most beginners, this means deciding between a brokerage account and an IRA (IRA).,Both accounts allow buying equities, mutual funds, and ETFs. Why are you investing in stocks? How easily do you want to access your money?,If you want easy access to your money or wish to invest more than the annual IRA contribution limit, you’ll want a conventional brokerage account.,IRAs are wonderful for building a retirement nest egg. Traditional and Roth IRAs are the two basic categories, although there are also SEP and SIMPLE IRAs for self-employed and small business owners. IRAs are tax-advantaged ways to buy equities, but you can’t withdraw money until you’re older.,Cost-benefit analysis.,Most online stock brokers have abolished trading commissions, thus most (but not all) are cost-equal.,Other differences exist. Some brokers give new investors instructional tools, investment research, and other benefits. Others offer foreign stock trading. And some have physical branch networks, which can be nice if you want face-to-face investment guidance.,The broker’s trading platform is also important. Some are more “clunky” than others; I’ve used many. If you can try a demo version before buying, do so.,Now that you know how to buy stock, here are five beginner-friendly investment choices. I can’t cover everything you should know about selecting and analyzing stocks in a few pages, but here are the basics:,Diversify your portfolio by including a variety of companies. Too much diversity is dangerous. Stick with firms you understand, and if you’re skilled at appraising a certain stock, there’s nothing wrong with having a substantial portion of your portfolio in that industry.,Buying flashy high-growth stocks may seem like a good way to gain wealth (and it may be), but I’d recommend waiting until you’re more experienced. It’s better to build your portfolio on reliable, established companies.,Here’s one of Warren Buffett’s investment secrets. Exceptional results don’t require extraordinary actions. Warren Buffett is the world’s most successful long-term investor and a great source of investment advice.,Buy shares of fantastic companies at reasonable prices and stay on to them as long as they’re great (or until you need the money). You’ll suffer some volatility, but you’ll get good returns over time.