Economic Concepts

Investing in the financial markets is no easy task, but learning the basics can move you ahead and make you feel confident about where you decide to put your money.

We're going to help you be more active in your investing life! Mutual funds, stocks, bonds and options -- how you invest and where you invest is paramount to finding financial success. Read on to see how you might approach investing from a wider view.

Understanding the lingo

First you'll need to familiarize yourself with investing topics and language. Probably the best way to do this is to spend time clicking around various financial news Web sites like CBS.MarketWatch.com. Make the Net your investing buddy, since it's the only place to find a wide variety of timely information -- and most of it is FREE.

Also try picking up a newspaper or two, such as the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily or Barron's. Other than the news and feature articles, learn to read the tables in the back of the newspapers.

Read up on it

There are tons of books about investing and personal finance. If you have a local bookstore or library nearby, make use of it, and also search online book sellers.

Magazines like Business Week, Forbes and Fortune also are good places to find information on companies. Many times, they have breaking company news and insight from chief executives, despite their weekly or biweekly formats.

Find news, learn tools

Once you've found several financial information pipelines, check out news stories that have investing angles. What is an investing angle? It's when a story goes beyond the daily announcement and tells you why the company might do something that could affect its stock price, for example.

Play around with investing tools on Web sites or look up a few stocks. Once you familiarize yourself with investing topics and lingo, you'll be more comfortable making decisions about your own money and where to put it.

Know thyself

Also, spend time getting to know yourself and your relationship with money. Yes, relationship. Are you comfortable taking risk? Do you respect money? Why do you want to invest in stocks, bonds or options? No doubt money brings all kinds of emotional security, but you should try to understand what that security means to you. (After all, money can't buy everything.)

Age is obviously a major factor that can determine where you put your money. When you're young, you can afford to take more risks when investing. When you're older, you may be looking for a steady income and need to know your nest egg will be there day-in and day-out.

Opportunity cost

Just because someone else is investing your money for you doesn't mean knowing more about the subject can't help you. Find out what your money or fund manager is doing and why. Read your statements and ask questions.

The bottom line? Get involved and understand risk. If you only do those two things, you're already ahead of many others in the investing game.