One should understand how stocks arise... What is common stock? What is preferred stock? What factors determine the price of a company's stock? What is a dividend? What factors can cause the price of a company's stock to rise? fall? How can you earn money from trading stocks? How likely is it to earn money from trading stocks? How have stocks fared historically? How have they performed over the long term? How about recently? Should you invest in one stock or many stocks? How much are you likely to earn? What's the variability in what you expect will be your return(s). What's the worst case scenario? How much do you lose in the worst case scenario? Can you afford to lose everything?