How Stocks Work: Explanation for Everyone Who Wants to Try Investing In It

If you’re new to the world of investing, understanding how stocks work can be a bit overwhelming. But fear not, as this guide will give you a complete rundown on what stocks are, how they work, and why they’re important.

What are Stocks?

At its most basic level, a stock represents ownership in a company. When you buy a share of a stock, you’re essentially buying a small piece of that company. Companies issue stocks to raise capital, which can then be used to fund their operations, research and development, and other expenses.

How Stocks Work

Stocks, also known as shares or equities, represent ownership in a company. When you buy a stock, you are essentially buying a small piece of that company, which means you have a claim on its assets and earnings.

Stocks are traded on stock exchanges, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ, where buyers and sellers come together to exchange stocks. These exchanges provide a platform for investors to buy and sell shares of publicly traded companies.

When a company wants to raise money, it may issue stocks to the public through an initial public offering (IPO). This allows the company to raise funds from investors who buy the shares. Once a stock is publicly traded, its price is determined by supply and demand on the open market.

Stock prices can fluctuate rapidly and are influenced by a variety of factors, including company performance, economic indicators, news events, and investor sentiment. When a company performs well and is expected to continue to do so, its stock price may rise. Conversely, when a company’s performance is poor, its stock price may fall.

Types of Stocks

There are two main types of stocks: common stocks and preferred stocks.

Common Stocks

Common stocks are the most common type of stock that you’ll come across. They represent ownership in a company and entitle the shareholder to vote at shareholder meetings and receive dividends if the company chooses to pay them.

Preferred Stocks

Preferred stocks, on the other hand, are a bit different. They typically don’t give shareholders voting rights, but they do entitle the shareholder to receive dividends before common stockholders. Preferred stocks are often seen as a less risky investment than common stocks, as they offer a fixed dividend payment.

There are several different types of preferred stock, including:

  • Cumulative preferred stock: This type of preferred stock allows unpaid dividends to accumulate and be paid out at a later date.
  • Convertible preferred stock: This type of preferred stock can be converted into a certain number of common shares at a predetermined price.
  • Participating preferred stock: This type of preferred stock allows preferred stockholders to receive additional dividends if the company’s earnings exceed a certain level.
  • Callable preferred stock: This type of preferred stock can be redeemed by the company at a certain price after a certain date.

It’s important to note that not all companies issue preferred stock, and some companies may issue multiple classes of common stock with different voting rights or dividend payouts.

As an investor, it’s important to understand the different types of stocks and their associated risks and benefits before making any investment decisions.

Why Stocks are Important

Stocks play an important role in the economy as a whole. Companies use the capital raised from issuing stocks to fund their operations and expand their businesses, which can create jobs and drive economic growth.

From an individual investor’s perspective, stocks can be an important part of a diversified investment portfolio. While they can be risky, they also offer the potential for high returns over the long term.

Tips for Investing in Stocks

If you’re interested in investing in stocks, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Do your research: Before investing in a stock, make sure to do your due diligence and research the company thoroughly.
  2. Diversify your portfolio: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversifying your portfolio can help reduce risk.
  3. Invest for the long term: Stocks can be volatile in the short term, but historically they’ve provided strong returns over the long term.
  4. Consider working with a financial advisor: A financial advisor can help you create a personalized investment strategy and provide guidance on investing in stocks.


Understanding how stocks work is an important part of becoming a successful investor. While there’s certainly a lot to learn, hopefully, this guide has given you a solid foundation to build upon.

Remember to do your research, diversify your portfolio, and invest for the long term, and you’ll be well on your way to building wealth through investing in stocks.