Andy Fleming writing on financial freedom

Do you ever dream of joining the ranks of investors who make enough passive income to support themselves? Knowing how and when to invest your money can be tricky when there’s so many options. You could always hire a financial advisor to help you navigate the field, but that means paying an extra fee and trusting someone else to responsibly handle your money.

There are plenty of tools and options for getting you started and making investing easy to understand. You’d be wise to check out some of these sites to help you hit the ground running and make wise decisions when it comes to investing your hard-earned income.

Trading Tutorial Sites

Investopedia

Before you actually start throwing real money around, why not get some practice with practice portfolios? Investopedia is a great resource when it comes to learning the ins and outs of investing. They offer free tutorials that will take you from beginner to pro if you put the time in. The site also features a simulated stock market so that you can experiment with investing without actually spending real money.

The Motley Fool

Once you brush up on the basics, you might want to get some advanced help from The Motley Fool. This site has been around since 1994 and features a sizeable community of experts you can talk to. The Motley Fool is often used by experts, who may not be as tolerant of questions from “beginners”; but if you’ve spent some time learning the basics you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Hollywood Stock Exchange

If you want more practice before you dive into the deep end, there’s plenty of virtual stock markets to engage with while you build your investment confidence. The Virtual Stock Exchange is set up as if it were a “game”. It functions just like a regular trading site, except you’re competing with other investors to see who can make the most money. If you’re interested in the entertainment industry you can play around with the Hollywood Stock Exchange. This pretend stock market lets you invest in artists and films instead of companies.

Zero commission sites

Robinhood

Once you’re ready to invest for real, you can start off doing some commission-free trading with a site like Robinhood. The site allows you access to over 5,000 equities and ETFs; they charge zero for trades and have no account minimum, so you can take things slow if you wish. Robinhood is also available as an app, so you can manage investments on the go and you can set up your phone to alert you when you’re going to receive earnings or dividends.

Loyal3

Another fee-free option is Loyal3. They have a more limited lineup, but feature well-known industry giants like Apple and Disney. Loyal3 also takes no commission from trades and has no account minimum. They also offer the option to purchase fractions of shares for as little as $10.

Promotional deals

Options House

If you’re getting serious and want to pay for a platform with some more robust options, you can get some extra mileage by signing up for a service with a good promotional offer. OptionsHouse takes a $4.95 trade commission, but has no account minimum and will give you 60 days of commission-free trading for signing up. TradeKing has the same commission fee, but will give you $100 in free commissions for a $1 deposit, and $1,000 for a $5,000 deposit. Check their promotions page for more details.

Other Options

Propser

One of the best ways to get started with low-risk investing is through peer-to-peer lending. This is sort of a “sharing economy” approach to trading, as you’re lending money to another person as opposed to investing in a company’s future. As long as you screen your investments properly, and only lend to people with a good rating, peer-to-peer investments can give you a return of about 5% in a short time. Currently, the two best sites for this type of investment are LendingClub and Prosper.

Image: ©iStock.com/Ridofranz 

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