When it comes to investing, the absolute best things you can have in your arsenal are a solid financial education and good research tools. In fact, the most dangerous thing you can do is start investing without fully understanding what you're doing.
You're already a mile ahead of most would-be investors with your subscription to Wealth Daily, but there are even more resources out there that are almost as good at giving you a leg-up on the competition (i.e. Wall Street).
The Paralysis of Analysis
One of the biggest problems facing retail investors isn't a lack of information, but the exact opposite: an overload. Trust me, I understand. If you search for "investment advice" on Google, literally millions of results pop up. Some are great resources, some are just trying to get your money, and some are downright terrible. Trying to sort through all of that and find the valuable information could take a lifetime.
So, what happens? You might get so overloaded with information that you can't even make a move. Either you're confronted by contradictory advice, or you're stuck sifting through page upon page of analysis until you finally give up. It's true that you never fail if you never try, but it's also true that you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
I've been working in the financial world since I left the U.S. Army, and I can sometimes get caught up in the whirlwind of opinions, data, and analysis. Through years of practice, I've learned how to separate the good from the bad and break through the paralysis. I learned a lot in school when I got my finance and economics degrees, but I also picked up some tricks along the way as I worked my way up from sales assistant to senior analyst.
I also found some great resources for furthering my education as I climbed the corporate ladder and some equally amazing tools for pinpointing the best investments. And to help you become the smartest investor on the block, I'm going to share the five best resources and tools I've found (and use myself). These will help you break the paralysis of analysis and find the best investments for your trading portfolio.
My Five Top Financial Resources:
Resource #5 – Wikinvest.com
Here's a site that compiles news stories and analysis articles that you can filter by just about anything.
Break them down by company to find everything on a particular stock. Filter by industry to see what's going on with all the companies in it. Sort stories by funds and indices, commodity, currency, geographic region, and even topic.
If you're interested in only seeing stories about China, or green investments, or government policies around the world, you can get all of that here. But that's not all. You can link your brokerage account and import your portfolio so you can track it and any relevant news. And you can get some great tips on personal finance, how to invest, trading stock options, and even definitions of some common financial terms.
You'll have to sign up to access the information, but there's no charge whatsoever for all of that incredibly useful data.
Resource #4 – StockTwits.com
StockTwits is the Twitter of investing. Sure, there's a lot of investment advice on Twitter — I'm on there @AllBeingsEqual, and so are all of my fellow editors here at Wealth Daily (and you should definitely follow us) — but, unlike Twitter, StockTwits is a community made up entirely of people trading stocks and sharing ideas.
By getting involved, you'll be able to see exactly what both experts and retail investors are up to in the markets. What's possibly the best part of all that is seeing where others are investing, getting different opinions and views you might not have considered, and seeing what stocks are trending (and whether it’s a positive or negative trend).
You can use that information to spot big moves before they happen or even challenge the status quo and go against the current. Whether you're a contrarian or find comfort investing with others, you'll find some great information here.
Resource #3 – Finviz.com
This site offers a lot of really cool information and analysis. You can keep up to date on all of the latest news related to finance and economics.
There's a tab that will let you research futures trading — something very few sites offer. You can backtest some stock ideas to see how your investment strategies would have performed in the past. But the absolute best part is the stock screener tool it offers.
I use it all the time to narrow down a huge universe into a manageable list. You can choose what kinds of criteria you want in an investment, and the screener will pull up all of the stocks that match what you're looking for. Select from technical indicators like recent performance, moving averages, even patterns like head and shoulders, wedge up, or double bottom.
Or you can use fundamental criteria — choose from all of the different valuation ratios, any type of margin, even insider activity. And you can select from descriptive criteria like exchange, country of origin, sector or industry, market cap, and dividend yield.
Once you've got all of your criteria selected, the screener will give you a list of all the stocks that match. Then you know you're not wasting any time researching companies that wouldn't fit into your investing strategy.
Resource #2 – PortfolioVisualizer.com
This is an incredibly cool site! You can do some ridiculously complex analysis here. I mean anything from running factor analysis to checking asset correlations to running a Monte Carlo simulation, if that's your thing.
You can even run timing models to check investing strategies and analyze portfolios to find efficient frontiers (comparing risk vs. reward to find the optimal portfolio for your own personal risk appetite).
But what's probably the best (and most useful) tool on the site is the portfolio backtester. If you've got an idea about an industry or a particular allocation strategy, you can input the stocks and allocations here (along with the dates you want to check). Then you submit the portfolio and, within a few seconds, get the performance of your portfolio in comparison to the market.
You can even see how it would do with regular contributions, dividend reinvestments, and scheduled rebalancing. It's the best free backtesting service I've ever come across, and it's amazingly simple to use. I love it!
Resource #1 – Investopedia.com
This is probably my personal favorite resource out there (other than my fellow editors here at Wealth Daily, of course). The site offers stock and forex simulators, news links, guides, and even exam study tips for the CFA.
But the part that makes it my number one resource is the free tutorials it offers. If there's ever a financial term or concept you're unsure of, it's explained in beautifully simplistic detail here. You'll increase your financial lexicon by at least 100% when you start using this site.
Even pros need a refresher sometimes. When there's a model I haven't used in a while that would be the best way to analyze a company, I head straight over here. And the world of investing is chockfull of complex ideas, concepts, and terminology that, if you don't use them all the time, can be intimidating and downright confusing as all get out.
I mentioned Monte Carlo simulations above. That's something many people aren't familiar with. "Efficient frontiers" is a term that might intimidate if you're just getting started. But once you've got a simple-to-understand explanation, you'll use them to become an even better investor.
Like I said, the absolute best thing all investors can do for themselves is learn more. Education doesn't ever stop, and this site is a great place to expand your knowledge.
Bonus Resource – Wealth Daily
Those resources are really great. They're honestly my five favorites, and I use them a lot myself. But, now you’ve got the best free resource on the web with your subscription to Wealth Daily.
You can search our archives and find articles on just about any topic you’re interested in. You can send feedback to ask us to write about something we haven’t already. You can even take advantage of our excellent premium investing and trading services and get all of the hottest investment ideas from some of the brightest minds in finance.
When you combine what you get from the experts here at Wealth Daily with the five resources I listed above, there's practically no limit to the success you'll have investing. So get rid of that analysis paralysis and get your money working for you. There's no better way to secure a comfortable future and true financial freedom than investing.
To investing with integrity (and all the best resources),
Editor - Wealth Daily