If you’ve heard all about investing in stocks, and you want to get started but aren’t sure how, Google Finance might be the perfect baby step for which you’ve been looking.
Google? Finance? Yes, you’ve heard of all of Google’s other tools, from Gmail to Android, but Google Finance is a somewhat hidden gem that needs to be on your radar if you’re interested in the stock market.
It looks simple when you see it for the first time, but don’t be fooled. It’s the perfect starter kit for wanna-be investors.
Here’s how it works
Google Finance’s portfolio tool is the best way to build a mock stock portfolio without investing any of your own money, and track that portfolio over time.
Instead of contributing real dollars, you can start by adding (fake) “cash” to your account. Unlike adding cash to your real-life bank account, adding money to your Google Finance account is as easy as choosing a number, clicking “Deposit” and presto, you’ve got that amount of money ready to invest in real-life stocks.
Then, find the stock tickers – aka those abbreviations you see in the newspaper or in the ticker on CNBC – and use those to add a certain amount of stocks to your portfolio. When you go to add them, you can select the amount of stocks you want to buy, and the date you want to buy them, and Google Finance will take care of the rest, including adding in the price you bought it at, based on the date.
There’s even a handy “Deduct from cash” checkbox, so that each of your stock buys comes out of the total amount you wanted to add in as your investment money. Keeping tabs on that number is how you’ll know that OK, you put in $5,000 and turned it into…