The best stock simulators allow the user to hone their investment techniques. Regardless of your level of proficiency with money management and making investments, dealing with the stock market is still always a bit of a gamble. Before the age of the internet, old-school traders, brokers, and certified public accountants (CPAs) used pen and paper for drawing charts and entering orders. (Back in the day when stock market orders were written on paper and then rushed from a brokerage firm’s order desk to the appropriate floor trader, appropriately named stock market “runners” were hired at least partially based on how fast they could run.) The difficulties with the traditional paper trading were endless, posing a variety of hazards that included being unable to read whatever someone scribbled or, at the end of the day, being unable to find all the scraps of paper that document the day’s trading.
Enter the present day and the advantages offered by high-speed computers, software, the internet and all its associated technology. One of the major advances – and a boon for money managers, brokers, and financial advisors of any type – made possible by the development of sophisticated computer programs is the ability to create the best stock simulators, or trading simulators.
Anyone who is either in the business, or interested in the business, of serving clients involved in stock market investing, wants to take advantage of the best possible tools available that will help them serve clients better. Individual investors seek out the best software programs that will guide them to becoming better investors. The choice of the best stock simulator will depend largely on how well a given simulator meets your specific individual needs.
There is no one stock market simulator that we would point to and declare as “THE best”, for all users in all situations. However, the three examined below are, at the very least, “among the best”, and have consistently received high marks from both users and reviewers. We urge you to examine them in more depth, and from the perspective of your own specific needs and wants in regard to such a program.
A good, solid stock market simulator serves as an excellent practice tool for making actual investments and trying out various trading strategies. Additionally, it offers the opportunity to learn and master finance and investing basics, such as factoring in commissions and fees, shorting stocks, and utilizing popular analytical tools such as financial ratios like price/earnings and debt/equity. Simulation trading can also make it easier to perceive how the larger economic picture and business-related news affect markets and cause price movements in stocks.
Investopedia is a staple source of information within the financial community and is known for offering an extensive library of articles and information about trading and investing. However, you may be surprised to learn that the website also has its own stock simulator game. At the outset of using this investing tool, this simulator prompts you to indicate your level of proficiency as an investor, and then sets up an entire account for you based on your beginner, intermediate, or advanced status. The stock simulator game stakes you with $100,000 in virtual cash, making it easy to test your trading skills and prowess, and even compete with thousands of other traders, all without actually risking any of your own investment capital.
By providing access to interact with other traders, the program offers the opportunity to learn from a variety of skilled traders with diversified backgrounds and trading strategies. In the end, Investopedia’s simulator can be an excellent platform to help you build up your investing muscles.
Wall Street Survivor is a tried and true stock market simulator that has been “in the game” for quite a while. Part of the appeal of this site and simulator is that it offers a wealth of personal finance and investment knowledge for you to take in and absorb at your own speed. While you’re practicing and becoming more proficient at trading, you can also effectively be earning a graduate degree in investing.
Articles, videos, and other source materials are updated and added on a daily basis, so you’ll never want for information. To assess your skills or knowledge, or to test what you’ve learned, you can take one of the hundreds of tailored quizzes designed to help you digest and integrate information that you’ve studied.
From there, move right on to using the stock market simulator and the play money it provides to trade your way to the uppermost tier of investors playing the game. As you trade and put into practice the investing skills you’ve learned, you can earn additional virtual cash, badges of achievement, and prizes that include eBooks, subscriptions, and even real cash (so Wall Street Survivor might be a good choice if you want to try to earn some extra investment capital while you’re learning).
Another veteran entry in the world of stock market simulators, HowTheMarketWorks is at the head of the pack when it comes to free simulators tailored for the beginning investor. This simulator is a streaming stock market game played in real time and used by nearly half a million investors, financial professionals, high school, and middle school classes every year. HowTheMarketWorks, just as its name indicates, is ideal for beginners because it offers all of the educational materials and tools needed to obtain a firm, basic understanding of how the stock market works.
This simulator isn’t just for beginners though. It offers sophisticated trading and investing simulations with the ability to practice trading global stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, options, and even commodity futures.
As soon as you sign up, you are instantly offered access to thousands of articles, quotes, charts, Wall Street analyst ratings, news, and financial statements from publicly-traded companies. An extremely complete package, HowTheMarketWorks provides users with tools such as financial calculators, lesson plan rubrics for teachers, and hours of informative and entertaining videos.
This simulator is noteworthy because of its suitability for the classroom, and it has consequently gained a wide following among educators. The gaming features include the opportunity to create customized, private competitions for individual classes, grades, or other groups. You can design competitions or tailor-made investing scenarios with specialized rules such as specific commission rates, trading competition time frames suited to the term of a class, and varied initial cash balances.
Trading stock markets is a tricky business and there is rarely a single investor – beginner or otherwise – who becomes hugely successful right out of the gate. It’s a simple fact that, as is the case with learning and developing any new skill, practicing at stock trading can become a very valuable aid in becoming a super-successful investor. Using a stock market simulator allows you to practice the art of trading while you’re learning the real life game of investing, and ideally will help you ultimately become a more skilled and successful investor in real life.