Investing requires you to put your own hard-earned money on the line without any guaranteed return.
Understandably, most new investors become overwhelmed with self-doubt and hesitancy. This is called imposter syndrome, and trust me – we’ve all been there.
Practice makes perfect, however, and there are many solutions to help beginner investors overcome their fears and reach their investment goals.
Keep reading for a top-tier list of simulators, games, and apps to help you succeed.
How can I become a more confident investor?
Everyone has to start somewhere, and no one becomes an expert overnight – so give yourself a break when you need it.
2. Find a community
Investing can feel isolating. Find a community of like-minded people who have been where you are and can help you progress.
3. Take back control with knowledge
A great way to get started is by consuming plenty of books and resources on investing. We’ve compiled our favourites here:
4. Get help from the professionals
Crux Investor members receive a recommended stock that has been curated by industry experts. Our analysts are equipped with the tools and experience to help you proactively build your financial future and invest with quiet confidence.
5. Practise makes perfect
Stock market simulators provide stock market practice without any of the daunting real-world implications. They allow you to test the waters in a pressure-free environment before investing any real cash.
The downside? There are loads to choose from.
To help you choose, we’ve compiled all of the best stock market simulator trading platforms available as of December 2021.
What are stock market games or virtual trading & investing simulators?
What are they: Stock market games (aka virtual trading or investing simulators) offer users a way to practice stock trading with fake money on a fake stock market.
The appeal: Simulators allow first-time investors to practice their investing skills with no real-world, financial consequences. Novice users can gain confidence before putting their money on the line.
How they work: By imitating real-life stock markets, simulated markets require users to trade virtual money and buy pretend stocks based on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq, and the American Stock Exchange (AMEX).
Why use one?
- The experience is designed to be as real as possible
- Fake broker fees and commissioning are included to show realistic impacts on your bottom line
- Zero-pressure practice
- Great way to learn financial trading basics and lingo
Stock market sims have proven so effective that they’ve become increasingly popular in the classroom. Students compete for the highest gains whilst practicing their trading techniques and investment strategies.
Who are stock market simulators for?
Amateur traders can start trading without any of the fears of losing real money. If you make a bad call or pull out of your investment too soon, it doesn't matter!
Stock market simulators are a great way to test out some riskier investing strategies and see what could work in the real world.
How to choose the best stock simulator?
So, what should you be looking for in a stock simulator?
The best stock simulator mobile apps and virtual stock exchange games have a few things in common:
You’ll want your stock simulator to harness data that covers years’ worth of stock market information – not just a few weeks or months – to improve the accuracy of your backtesting.
Without sufficient data being updated daily, your simulation won’t offer you an accurate representation of the real trading environment.
Some virtual trading apps will only show users limited information, like value and buying/selling options, but this is not sufficient to properly simulate the market.
Look for a market simulator that provides technical analysis and a charting engine on top of these basic functions.
And, if trading isn’t your 9 to 5 job, make sure your chosen sim offers 24-hour simulation and trading practice.
5 best trading simulators and investing games to practice trading stocks in 2021
There are tons of stock trading simulations to choose from, but as they are all slightly different, finding the best match for your needs can be tricky.
Don’t fret – we’ve scoured the market and whittled the options down to our five best stock market games.
Simulator # 1 – NinjaTrader
Founded in the US in 2003, NinjaTrader is a trading simulator with all the tools you could ever want.
The platform comes with low trading fees and a fully decked-out desktop platform, as well as educational resources for novice traders.
The main advantages:
- Allows users to take their existing trading strategy and map it onto historical data
- Users can assess their strategies relative to past and present market conditions
- Comes with helpful tools – intuitive charts, a comprehensive set of indicators, trading algorithms, stock screeners, and crypto trading
Average rating: 4.4 out of 5 on BrokerChooser
Cost: Free advanced charting, strategy backtesting, and trade simulation. Leasing and buying options are also available for more advanced features.
Simulator # 2 - How the Market Works
How The Market Works is a free online stock market game where you can create an account, decide how much money you want to start with, and get trading right from the get-go.
You’ll be able to set up trading games with friends and learn along the way with all the supplementary educations materials on offer.
The main advantages:
- Ideal for the classroom or a bit of friendly competition
- Fun and compelling introduction to the stock market
- Specifically designed for the ‘new trader’ – highly accessible
- Offers market analysis function and plenty of learning materials
Note: How The Market Works only trades in stocks and exchange-traded funds (or ETFs).
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5 on Sitejabber
If you’re after a platform that really turns trading into a game, then this is the one for you.
Simulator # 3 – Market Watch
Market Watch users can trade stocks, make money, and compete against friends to earn a place on the leaderboard.
You’ll be able to trade stocks from your virtual portfolio and strategize in real-time with other members in the discussion groups provided for your game.
The main advantages:
- Test your skills against peers, co-workers, and friends
- Comes with tools for charting, indicators, analysis, advanced trading, custom gameplay, watchlists, and news
- Use the dedicated stock screener to screen the market before and after hours
Average rating: 3.5 out of 5 on TradingKart
Simulator # 4 – Warrior Trading
The Warrior Trading Paper Trading Simulator is a great resource for students who want to practice trading with virtual currency.
Users can trade USA Equities Markets and the US Options Market without the risk of real-world financial losses.
The main advantages:
- Get a feel for the real trading experience
- Assess your overall trading strategy with a detailed reporting feature
- Track your progress with targeted analytics
- See what your current strategy would do in the real trading environment
- Option for group trader mentoring
Warrior Trading is extremely versatile and is great for traders of all abilities – particularly newcomers to the world of trading.
Average rating: 4.9 out of 5 on Trustpilot
Cost: Free introductory course which can be followed up with one of two membership programs – Warrior Starter or Warrior Pro.
Simulator # 5 – Bear Bull Traders Simulator
This trading simulator takes you through everything you need to know to become a successful real-world market trader with educational resources, classes, and the virtual simulator itself.
The main advantages:
- Fully customizable – adapt the experience to your level of experience
- Try out different tools including charting and a comprehensive set of indicators
- Grow your confidence with educational classes
Average rating: 3.4 out of 5 on Trading Reviewers
Cost: 7-day test drive for $39
Key takeaways & further reading
So, there we have it – the very best stock trading simulators to help you practice and perfect your investment skills.
Stock market simulator games and investment simulators offer students and novice investors a fantastic way to hone their skills before taking the leap.
Still looking to hone your skills?
- How to Invest in Stocks: A Simple & Clear 7-Step Guide
- Investing in Bonds
- Investing in Index Funds & ETFs
Or check out our list of resources: