Anyone with an Internet connection and a bank account can trade stocks. Easy access encourages newcomers to explore investing for themselves, rather than depending on mutual funds or money managers. But it’s important to avoid mistakes that are common among first-time investors.Number 1: Don’t jump in headfirst. Learning how to buy low and sell high requires some homework. You’ll need to understand basic metrics, such as dividend yield or the price-to-earnings ratio. You can test your conclusions using virtual money in a stock simulator. 2: Finding solid information on penny stocks is difficult, and they’re a poor choice for a new investor. Penny stocks are very vulnerable to manipulation and illiquidity. What seems like a great idea at one moment can crash the next. 3: Going all in with one investment is a bad idea. It’s better to risk a little bit of capital at a time. 4: Leveraging your money by borrowing more in order to increase returns can be much worse than going all in. Controlling your capital at risk takes practice, but it’s well worth your time. 5: Don’t invest all of your cash. Investing is a long-term business, and staying in business requires money held in reserve in case of an emergency or opportunity. Even professional investors refuse to invest their every dime. And 6: Chasing news can force you to jump from investment to investment until you give up. The ideal first investments are in companies you know and understand. New investors should start small and only take risks with money they’re prepared to lose. Once they gain confidence and learn to read the market and stocks, they can think bigger.