If you like the sheer thrill and adrenaline of shuffling stocks and making trades the old-fashioned way with phone and broker in tow, you may find the Internet a non-stop rollercoaster of financial fun, too. For one thing, if you don't need a financial advisor to guide you in your buying-and-selling adventures, you can trade stocks online for as little as $7 per deal.
The Web is full of tools that let you research companies you might want to invest in. You can keep tabs on your portfolio, get instant share prices, and keep the current state of major market indicators like the Dow Jones, NAS-DAQ, and the S&P 500 onscreen all day long.
All of the big portal sites mentioned in Chapter 2—Yahoo, AOL, Google, and MSN—have financial areas where you can go to read up on the day's markets and important news, see charts and stock quotes, and track your investments. For beginning investors, these sites have a big batch of " Investing 101"-type articles and features intended to get you acquainted with the stock market, help you understand mutual funds and bonds, and learn how to develop an investment strategy that suits you.
If you're not so much a buy-and-hold investor as a buy-and-obsess investor, how'd you like to know how your portfolio is doing at any given moment with the press of one key? The trick is to harness the power of tiny, single-purpose mini-programs called desktop widgets. If you have Mac OS X (10.4 or later), ...