5 Steps for Stock Market Success Has your cautious nature kept you from investing in the stock market? If so, you’re not alone. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 52% of Americans own stocks. That figure matches the lowest ownership rate in the Gallup’s 19-year trend! If you’ve thought about jumping in, here are a few practical ideas as you begin: Create a savings account before you invest Develop a six-month emergency fund to gain peace of mind and invest with confidence. If you aren’t already in the habit of setting aside a small sum each month, this will help you develop that practice. Take baby steps Unsure if the stock market is for you? Use an online brokerage with a low minimum (or none at all) to give you a taste for the process. Take the Warren Buffett approach and invest in what you know. It doesn’t take a ton of research. Just look at your daily life—what products or services do you use consistently? Or, you could start with an index fund. This is basically a package of stocks that follow a certain index—like the Dow Jones or S&P 500. Start with a Certificate of Deposit (CD) A CD is simply a sum of money that the investor stores at a financial institution at a determined interest rate for a fixed amount of time. A CD differs from a savings account in that a significant sum is deposited up front, usually for a higher rate of interest than a standard account, and the investor agrees not to withdraw that sum until the specified time. The longer the term, the higher the interest rate. Try mutual funds Mutual funds are a great low-stress investment. Simply stated, a mutual fund is a pool of money created by several investors (could be individuals or companies) that is then invested by a professional fund manager who constantly monitors all of the stocks and bonds in the group’s portfolio. This takes the decision-making stress off of the individual investor. Consult an expert You don’t have to go it alone. A financial advisor can personally review your accounts and help find a comfortable investment option that fits your life and goals. The skilled advisors at Mountain America Credit Union offer a free consultation to get you started.