Mike Milligan

Mike Milligan

After a stunning rout in March, U.S. stocks have risen sharply in the past four months, defying expectations and establishing one of the strongest upswings in recent market history.

Michael Milligan, full-time lecturer in Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College Department of Finance, says the stock market is a lucrative opportunity for everyone, if investing is done correctly.

“The stock market is not some coded conspiracy to keep the rich rich and the poor poor. Anyone can learn how to make money in the markets,” he says. “The first step is to learn the rules of the game. Many investors and traders just don’t know these rules or how the markets function. After you learn the rules, the next step is having strategies that work. Not all strategies work in all markets and economic environments, this is why you will need multiple strategies.”

Milligan, who teaches investing fundamentals on his Instagram account, says that while Wall Street consultants work overtime to convince the public that they are needed for investors to make smart decisions, their goal is the 1% to 2% in management fees they offer, and there are many ways to make money in the market.

“I recommend that investors become avid readers of different strategies and investment books,” says Milligan. “Some will make sense and some will not. Some will not make sense for several years, and some will never make sense at all, but you will be growing, learning and honing your skillset.”

Among the keys to long-term market success Milligan calls for: know the rules of the markets you are trading in, hone your skill set, keep a journal of your trading activity, and have a sell strategy. And above all, avoid overconfidence, the nemesis of investors.

Read more of Milligan’s advice in his piece in My Life Essentials magazine.