How to Become an Investor: 7 Steps for Beginners

December 28, 2022

To become an investor, individuals should begin by defining their investment goals and researching markets and investments. There are many tools available to learn about one’s best investments. 

Investors can look at different types of assets such as stocks, bonds and alternative investments to build a well-diversified portfolio. New investors can also look at tax-advantaged retirement accounts and work with financial advisors to determine what is best for them.

What is an Investor?

An investor is a person or entity that puts money into a company or asset with the expectation of earning a financial return.

Both individuals and institutions can be investors, able to invest in a wide range of assets, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate and more.

Investors typically aim to earn a profit through the appreciation of the asset’s value over time, or through the receipt of regular income from the asset, such as dividends or interest payments.

Investing carries risks, and it’s important for investors to be aware of these risks and to consult with a financial advisor or professional before making any investment decisions.

Types of Investors

Retail Investors

A retail investor is an individual investor who buys and sells securities for their personal account, rather than for a business or organization. Retail investors are typically small investors who buy and sell securities through a brokerage account, rather than directly through a stock exchange.

Institutional Investors

Institutional investors, on the other hand, are organizations that invest on behalf of their clients or beneficiaries.

These can include pension funds, mutual funds, hedge funds, insurance companies, and endowments.

Institutional investors typically have a lot more money to invest than retail investors, and they often have a professional staff of investment analysts and portfolio managers who make investment decisions on behalf of the organization.

Retail investors and institutional investors may have different investment goals and strategies, and they may be subject to different regulations and legal requirements. This is mostly because retail investors do not have to prove any level of sophistication, meaning financial regulators have added more protections. 

What Can Make a Successful Investor?

A successful investor, by the most common definition, is someone who is able to achieve their investment goals and consistently earn positive returns on their investments. There is no one-size-fits-all definition of success in investing, as different investors have different goals and risk tolerances.

Some common characteristics of successful investors include:

  • A clear understanding of their investment goals and a well-defined investment strategy that aligns with these goals
  • A willingness to educate themselves about investing and to stay up-to-date on market trends and economic conditions
  • The ability to make informed investment decisions based on research and analysis, rather than emotional impulses
  • A diversified portfolio that is balanced in terms of risk and return
  • The ability to control their emotions and avoid making rash or impulsive decisions in response to market fluctuations
  • The discipline to stick to their investment plan and to make adjustments as needed to achieve their long-term goals

It’s important to note that investing carries risks, and even the most successful investors can experience losses. Success in investing often involves a combination of skill, knowledge, and luck.

Make sure you understand this is a long-term journey so that you won’t get tripped up by short-term setbacks; always stay open and learn from your mistakes.

7 Steps to Become an Investor

New investors can find the experience rewarding and fulfilling when financial planning.

It involves committing some of your financial resources to the goal of earning a return on your investment. Here are some steps you can take to become an investor:

1. Set Investment Goals

Before you start investing, it’s important to understand what you want to achieve. Do you want to save for retirement, generate income, or grow your wealth over the long term? Having clear investment goals will help guide your decision-making process and determine the types of investments and asset allocations that are right for you.

An individual’s investment goals should take into consideration their risk tolerance, time horizon and personal goals.

2. Create a Budget and Investment Plan

Before you start investing, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your personal finances. This includes creating a budget to understand your income, net worth, expenses and savings potential.

3. Learn About Financial Markets

It’s important to understand the basics of investing before you start. This includes learning about different types of investments, such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds, and the risks and potential rewards associated with each.

4. Identify Investment Strategies

Some common investment strategies include active vs. passive management, growth vs. value investing and short vs. long-term investing.

Active management is likely of interest to investors who work with experts who can offer investment advice and who want to carry out speculative investment ideas.

An investor with less interest in short-term fluctuations, who wants to let their portfolios sit and grow, is likely to engage in passive management. Many passive investors may invest in funds that have full time financial researchers and portfolio managers to deal with day-to-day management.

5. Open a Brokerage Account

In order to start investing in most products, you’ll need to open a brokerage account. This is an account that allows you to buy and sell securities, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

6. Choose Investments

Once you have a brokerage account, you’ll need to decide what to invest in. There are many different investment options to choose from, including individual stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and more. It’s important to diversify your portfolio, which means investing in a mix of different types of assets to spread out your risk.

Consider exploring different investment opportunities, such as the stock market, mutual funds, Contemporary Art or real estate. Successful investors often diversify their portfolio by investing in a variety of asset classes, which can help mitigate the impact of volatility of other assets on their investments.

If your goal is to achieve financial independence, you may also want to consider investing in real estate or startups. Real estate investors often have years of experience and a deep understanding of the market, so it’s important to do your research and seek out guidance from successful real estate investors.

Once you’ve gained some experience and developed good investing habits, you can start building your investment portfolio by opening a brokerage account and buying individual stocks, ETFs, or index funds. You may also want to consider working with fund managers or financial planners to help you make informed investment decisions.

7. Monitor and Review Your Portfolio

It’s important to regularly review your investment portfolio to make sure it aligns with your goals and risk tolerance. This may involve making adjustments to your investments as market conditions change or your financial situation evolves.

One key to successful investing is diversification, which means spreading your money across a variety of different investments to reduce risk. This could include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, as well as alternative investments

Alternative assets are investments that are non-correlated with traditional markets, meaning they can better protect your assets from a market downturn. Contemporary Art is one alternative asset with some of the lowest correlations to the S&P 500.

The last time inflation was near 2022 levels, Fine Art had an average annual appreciation of 33%, according to the Masterworks All Art Index.  

Masterworks is the first platform offering fractionalized investments in multimillion-dollar works from artists like Banksy, Picasso, Kaws, and more. Masterworks’ industry-leading research and acquisition teams use proprietary data and art market expertise to curate a collection of iconic works of blue-chip Contemporary Art.

The Bottom Line

If you’re new to investing, you may consider subscribing to a podcast to start or, more importantly, seeking financial advice from successful investors or financial institutions. You can also use apps or robo-advisors to help you manage your investment portfolio.

Ultimately, the key to successful investing is to be disciplined, informed, and patient. By developing a solid investment plan and being mindful of your investment decisions, you can work towards financial independence and achieve your investment goals.

This material is provided for educational purposes only. It is not investment advice and should not be the basis of an investment decision.

Masterworks is a fintech company democratizing the art market. Our investors are able to fractionally invest in $1mn+ works of art by some of the world's most famous and sought-after artists.