Shares of stock are not just pieces of paper. Instead, they represent part-ownership of a company. When you purchase stock, you are in fact purchasing a portion of a business. While new technology (such as online brokerages) makes the act of purchasing stock quicker and easier than ever, the process of understanding, researching, and selecting an investment may be more complex than ever, thanks to plentiful options and new ways of buying stock (like exchange-traded funds).
Understanding the tools available and how to use them to structure an execution strategy may save you thousands of dollars in opportunity costs.