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Investing your money is a very unnerving process, especially if you plan on investing in the stock market. There is no rulebook for investing your money that will promise the most profitable results, primarily because the stock market is so unpredictable. We invest because we want our money to grow; since we can’t predict the trajectory of the stock market, there are a few guidelines we can follow to ensure that we are at least investing smartly.

Don’t let your emotions dictate your decisions.

Emotional investing is a guaranteed way to lose money. The illusion of fast money turns people into greedy, irrational investors. Talk of quick wealth leads people to make rash decisions, often resulting in investments done with little to no research or a lack of understanding in where exactly their money is going. While some let greed steer their investments, others let fear rule their decisions. In a moment of panic, some investors will sell their shares at a very low price, thus not allowing adequate time for their money to grow.

Don’t do anything just because everyone else is.

You are not part of a herd so “I did it because everyone else was doing it” should never be a reason for why you invest in a certain stock. That’s not to say that it might never happen that way, but don’t solely base your decision on numbers without doing any additional research first.

Do your research so you can make the most informed decisions.

Like with any big decision, you should do the proper research. One mistake that investors make is basing their investment on industry or company name only. Just because the industry or company is popular at the moment doesn’t mean that your investment will be the most profitable. Do your research and understand the business and industry you are investing in before you make your decision.

Diversify your portfolio.

We all have preferences towards different industries or companies, but part of your strategy should be to diversify your portfolio. While it may be tempting, never invest everything into one business. A more diverse portfolio has the probability of yielding a higher profit!

Set realistic expectations.

Of course, the goal of investing is to be more profitable and it would be unreasonable for you not to hope for the best outcome for your investments. However, setting goals on unrealistic expectations is going to lead you down a very troubling and risky path.

Now that you have some background on how to invest in the stock market, you can be better equipped to strategize for the most profitable path to your financial goals.