Over the last few months, the stock market has been steadily rising. However, the other day there was a sharp dip and people panicked a bit. While sudden decreases in the stock market can be concerning, there’s a lot more at play than simple rising and falling. Most people do not have a deep understanding of the stock market and aren’t able to follow it closely every single day; that’s why there are people whose entire careers involve managing others’ stocks. Here are some basic tips on taking advantage of the stock market and getting the most of your investments, even if you do not have a deep understanding of the stock market.

Educate yourself

The first step you need to take when getting involved in the stock market is educating yourself. The stock market is a mystery to most people, which is why many are wary to invest in it. However, when stocks are doing well, it can be a sign to get started with investments and try your hand at creating wealth. There are plenty of resources out there to help you learn about the stock market and investing, so take advantage of them.

Contribute to retirement

If you’re working at an established company or have in the past, you likely have a retirement fund already started. Most companies offer employees some kind of retirement plan, such as a 401(k). If you can contribute to retirement through your employer, take advantage of this opportunity. Often, retirement contributions can be made before taxes and lots of employers offer a matching amount up to a certain percentage, which is basically free money.

Open an IRA

If you already have a retirement account with your work, open an IRA on your own. You can get either a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA and contribute a set amount of money to these each year in addition to your other retirement account. Figure out which type is best for you and then maximize your contributions while the market is doing well.

Invest in stocks

Most people do not have much knowledge about investing in stocks and are wary to do so out of fear the stock market will crash and they’ll lose their money. This issue is why it’s so important to educate yourself! Take the time to learn about the stock market and what stocks are doing well, what predictions are being made, and some basic tips to improve your investing. Even when the stock market dips, it usually recovers, so stay focused on long-term investment goals instead of a quick increase.

Stay informed

After you invest, it’s important to regularly do so and stay informed about the market changes. Be aware of what’s happening and what you can do to protect your interests. You do not have to be an expert on financial matters or the stock market; simply following a blog or podcast and reading up on the current investment news can go a long way toward helping secure your financial future.