Should you invest or trade in the stock market?

Investing in the stock market is a great way to improve your financial freedom. When it comes to generating wealth in the stock market, the two methods used are stock investing and trading. While these are two separate strategies, they essentially lead to the same goal – making money. However, before you approach each strategy, it is best that you learn the basics and how exactly you can make money doing it. 

Deciding whether you invest or trade will essentially come down to your preferences. An investor is someone who holds their assets for the long term for future profit gains. A trader is someone whose assets get affected by fluctuations in the market daily. Let’s dive a little further into these below.

The fundamentals mean the financial records, historical data, and information about the industry. The economy the company is based in also plays a role in how stock prices will be affected in the long term. Just take a look at what happened to Sun Microsystems stocks. Its downfall was proof that stocks that are highly valued do not always mean the company to be performing well. This historical event is a reminder to make rational decisions when choosing stocks to invest in.

What is investing?

As the general term also signifies, investing is a long-term approach. The aim is to build wealth gradually over time through investment strategies (typically 5 years). Unlike trading, investing comes with certain benefits such as interest and dividends paid on the stocks you are holding. 

Additionally, when you hold stocks, you aren’t subject to the same pressures of market fluctuations. If the price of the stocks goes down, you as an investor, don’t have to worry about it as the prices can always go back up again. You can simply hold the stocks until they do. As an investment trader, you will have to pay more attention to how the long-term market works. To help with this, you can use tools such as to manage your investments securely.

What is trading?

Trading is a more dynamic approach to investing where you have to constantly be monitoring the volatile market. This is because you have to focus on making many frequent trades to make profit gains. The nature of trading is to be transactional, so all trades tend to be for the short-term. 

The main advantage that keeps people trading instead of investing is the bigger profit margins. Investors hold their stocks for a long time with the hope of gaining a profit. Traders are able to make multiple transactions in a much shorter period of time and get similar returns. In essence, the higher risk equates to more profits. As a trader, your primary goal should be to buy when the price is low and sell when it is high.

Difference between trading and investing

The most common difference between investing and trading is the amount of time taken to gain a profit. However, there are other differences that could push you in one direction or the other. 

The primary difference between trading and investing is the time frame each activity is undertaken. Traders typically hold their positions for a shorter period of time than investors, and they aim to profit from short-term price fluctuations. On the other hand, investors tend to buy and hold their assets for a longer period of time, and they are more concerned with the underlying fundamentals of the asset.

Investors aim to profit from the long-term appreciation of their assets, while traders seek to profit from short-term price movements. While both investors and traders buy and sell assets, they do so for different reasons. Investors typically buy assets that they believe will increase in value over time, while traders buy and sell assets in an attempt to profit from short-term price movements.

While there is some overlap between the two activities, traders and investors typically have different goals, risk tolerances, and time frames. As a result, they tend to use different strategies and take different approaches to buying and selling assets.


– Buy assets they believe will appreciate in value over time

– Hold assets for long periods of time

– Concerned with underlying fundamentals of asset

– Take a buy-and-hold approach


– Seek to profit from short-term price movements

– Hold assets for shorter periods of time

– Take an active approach to buying and selling assets

– More concerned with technical analysis

How to approach analysis?

Due to how long stocks are held as an investor, the factors you analyze should differ from traders. Daily fluctuations don’t matter, so you should look into the fundamentals of the stocks you are investing in. 

The fundamentals mean the financial records, historical data, and information about the industry. The economy the company is based in also plays a role in how stock prices will be affected in the long term.

Traders, on the other hand, need to monitor trends every day. You will need to study the market and the upticks/downticks to make predictions about the future. This will allow you to buy or sell at the correct time to make a profit.

If you want a more laidback approach, then investing would be more fitting for you. However, if you like analyzing data and have the time to monitor it every day, trading will be beneficial.

Risk assessment?

There is a certain level of risk whether you invest or trade. However, the greatest risk lies with trading. Since you’re making only small profits, one (or a few) bad trades can wipe out all those gains. Some bad trades can even lead to a complete loss of your stocks. An investor, however, is able to simply hold the stock and ride out the bad period. 

If you’re a risk-taker, you have a lot more earning potential in trading in the short term. But, if you have enough money and time to invest, the safer option will always be investing.

The bottom line

Should you invest or trade in the stock market? There is no easy answer, as there are pros and cons to both approaches. Ultimately, it depends on your goals and risk tolerance.

If you are looking to simply make money in the short-term, then trading may be the better option. This is because you can take advantage of price fluctuations in the market and make profits quickly. However, you also face the risk of losses if the market doesn’t move in your favor.

Investing, on the other hand, is a longer-term strategy. You are buying shares of a company with the expectation that its stock price will increase over time. This can provide you with a steadier stream of profits, but it also means that you will have to wait longer to see results.

So, which approach is right for you? It really depends on your individual goals and risk tolerance. If you are willing to take on more risk for the chance of higher rewards, then trading may be the better option. However, if you want a more stable investment with slower but more consistent returns, then investing may be the better choice.


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