Wall Street Laptop: The Future For Investing Online
The internet has changed nearly everything about our everyday lives, and personal finance is no exception. From the availability of top-notch research, to real-time market data, individuals have more tools for successful saving, trading and investing, than ever before. In fact, vehicles that were once only available to a select few are now an option for many. This opening up of the financial world to more and more people, does not come without risks, but the prudent investor has nothing to fear. Lower fees also play a significant part in this new democratization of the financial markets. Those who would previously not be considered qualified to open an active trading account at a traditional brokerage house, now have many online account options available to them. From Forex trading to Dividend Reinvestment Plans, the internet has altered the environment of personal investing forever. Let’s take a more in depth look at how these changes in technology have affected some of the available vehicles in today’s market:
Forex – foreign currency trading is likely one of the most impacted investment vehicles influenced by technology. The technological advances in this category have centered mainly around the trading platforms themselves.
These software developments have enabled anyone with an online trading account very near the same degree of access to the foreign currency market as well as to macro and micro level economic and global political data that has a swift and intense impact on this segment of the market.
Stock market – the stock market has long been an available investment option for those with a brokerage account. Now, technology has made direct, active stock trading an option for anyone with an internet connection. Online accounts, once a source of confusion and mistrust, have grown to become as ubiquitous as online bill paying. Almost all multi-national banks offer an investment account along with their checking and savings accounts bundle. Online trading of the stock market is enhanced by streamlined and very user friendly platforms that are readily available.
Dividend Reinvestment Plans – known more colloquially as DRIPs, this financial vehicle enables the holder to purchase additional stock shares, usually without a commission, as part of their ownership program. Additionally, investment accounts can be set up to reinvest any cash dividends paid into the account by purchasing additional shares of any stock currently held in that portfolio. These programs benefit both the investor as well as the issuing company and are often utilized by investors looking to maximize their earnings.
Swing Trading – similar to day trading, swing trading is a short-term strategy wherein holdings can last between a couple of days up to a full two week period. This strategy relies heavily on momentum and technical analysis and was probably not a very likely strategy for individual investors prior to the recent advancements in data accessibility necessary to conduct useful technical analysis. Swing trading is named thusly to differentiate it from the concept of day trading. Swings are held overnight, usually from two to six days, while as the name suggests, day trades are closed out by end of business on that same day. The availability of the data necessary to make informed trade, be they swing or day trades, is a direct result of the technological advancements made in the area of personal finance and investing.
Penny Stocks – these stocks are generally traded over the counter (OTC) in a non-regulated environment. Due to their extremely low capitalization levels and reputation for inherent high risk, these stocks were once only available at the institutional level via “pink sheets”. The advent of technology and the greater accessibility of all market vehicles have opened up the exchange to penny stocks to individual investors. According to the Securities Exchange Commission, any stock with a price level below five dollars is classified as a penny stock; which in today’s environment is a bit of a misnomer. There are very few, if any regulations, in the trading of these stocks, and their volatility and the dearth of information available on the issuing firms, make this vehicle suitable for only a small group of investors. Although these are publicly traded stocks, there is a real lack of available information so it is best to proceed with a great deal of caution.
Timothy Sykes demonstrates how to utilize the Internet for Penny Stocks.
Precious Metals – gold and silver have been investment vehicles for millennia and the advent of technological advances has only served to increase the popularity of the trade of these precious metals. Mainly used as a hedge against volatile markets, holdings in silver and gold have remained a constant in every diversified portfolio. The internet has increased the ease of purchase for these instruments as well as provided a lot more information about global trends and forecasts that can alert the savvy investor as to when there may be a need for safe harbor during a financial storm.
Investing and Saving for Retirement – the creation of a healthy nest egg is often the end goal that prompts individual investors to get their start. With the continued increase of life expectancies after the age of retirement, having a personal means of support is always a highly recommended component of any investment portfolio. The advancements in technology have created an environment where successfully managing one’s own financial portfolio is a viable option. The increase in personal, online brokerage accounts is perhaps the most prevalent result of the technological boom in the personal finance sector. The individual investor who is saving for retirement and building a nest egg for the future, now has myriad options available for a robust investment portfolio. In addition to the greater access to trading platforms and market data, the lower fees that are realized at online accounts are demonstrably less than the hefty ones leveraged by traditional brick and mortar firms. This factor is one that needs to be considered when mapping out retirement investing.
Democratized And No Longer Exclusive To The Big Guys & Gals
Technology has advanced many industries, and the improvements in access, functionality, and information availability, in the financial sector have done much to level the playing field. Individual investors now have the opportunity to be nearly as informed and connected as their institutional counterparts, and the personal finance industry will continue to yield benefits for many years to come. Lower fees, top-level trading platforms, and an abundance of technical and historical data, are likely the most impactful changes brought on by technological advancements in the personal finance sector. Today, personal investing and building a nest egg for retirement are in reach to an ever growing segment of the modern world, and these advancements will help many more people create a healthy economic realty for themselves and their families.