For many Americans, the only financial goal as of late has been staying afloat.

As many as 78% of Americans report they earn just enough money to pay their bills each month.

So how does one get off the hamster wheel? You start looking for other financial opportunities like investing. 

Investing isn't complicated. But I'm not going to sugarcoat it and tell  you that by reading one story you'll be ready to buy your first stock –  although you could.

For new investors and those thinking about joining the market alike, it  would be in their best interest to sit down with a professional to set  some goals. Here are some steps to set yourself up on a good investment  path:

1. What should I look for in a financial planner or investment adviser?

2. What investment terms should I know?

3. How much money should I be investing?

4. How many stocks should I own?

5. When does my portfolio start making money?

6. How does investing affect my taxes?