Stock trading is friendlier with two people. Or two hundred. Most of the time, when we get into something that has a high learning curve, the best way to dig in is to find a group of friends who already know the ropes, and who will help you out without taking advantage of you. The social aspect is very important because it keeps us from giving up. If you don’t feel like you are lost and completely alone in something–like a lost puppy in the middle lane of the freeway–, you will be more focused on the important bits that can make it all worthwhile.
In the post about the Google stock, I explained that I have never done any trading in the stocks and bonds arena, but have known people who were very much into it, and I went into some detail there about the information available freely on websites, making some observations on how user-friendly they are/aren’t, and could be.
There is a site called MyWallSt.net where you can set up an account and meet other investors, both hobbyist and professional. You can learn the ropes of stock trading, create and track a portfolio (using pretend dollars, but you could also win real dollars), and get into the game with all of the members who are already there. This is one of the best ways of etching out a good strategy, and testing it before doing anything with real money, and even after you start investing.
You also get a profile page, like any other social network, and you can view weekly standings. Another cool thing is that you are able to view the picks of other members in the “Rookie Challenge”. So if someone is doing a spectacular job in the rankings, you can see what stocks they have chosen, which might help you to build your portfolio as well.
The fantasy trading on this site is based on the real markets, plus a short delay.
If you think you can pick stocks well enough to make money, you should get a profile at mywallst and meet others who do!