What Happens When you Sell a Stock?

Stock markets have become one of the most lucrative options to build wealth. A lot of us have already invested or are planning to invest in stock markets. But how many of us know where the money goes when we invest or buy stocks of a company? Let’s find out!

In this article, we will discuss all stocks such as what they are, why should you own them, where does your money go when you invest in stocks, what happens to your money when the value of your stock drops, what does owning a stock involve, and all about buying and holding stocks that rise and fall. So let’s start:

What is a stock?

Stocks are the general term representing a slice of ownership of one or more companies. Investors buy stock to earn a return on their investment.

Undoubtedly, stocks are how ordinary people can invest in some of the world’s biggest and most successful companies. A lot of people and investors choose this way to build wealth. The chance to earn a good return on investment is one of the main reasons why so many investors choose to invest in stocks.

The investor gets to essentially own a little piece of the company whenever they own a stock. The money goes indirectly to a company, through an investment bank, when the investor purchases that stock as a part of the company’s IPO (Initial Public Offer)

When it comes to the company’s part, stocks are an excellent way to raise capital to fund many new initiatives such as products, innovations, etc.

In layman’s language, stocks can be called mediums through which common people invest in various companies worldwide. It is one of the good ways to create wealth. People invest in stocks in search of getting a good return on their money in the long term.

Owning stock gives you the privilege to own a little part of the company. If you are buying stocks through the IPO (Initial Public Offering), in that case, your money is directly transferred to the company; of course, here, too, there is an intermediary called Investment Bank. Launching an IPO works well for the company to raise capital and fulfill its expansion goals, innovation, new products or services, etc.

What is the difference between a stock and a share?
The difference between a stock and a share is that “stocks” are the general term representing a slice of ownership of one or more companies, and “share” has a specific meaning and represents ownership of a particular company.

Why should one own stocks?

Basically, buying a company’s stock means purchase ownership in a company, as told before. Stocks generally provide a good return on investment, especially in the long run. An investor can expect a return of about 10% on his investment, which, considering inflation, can drop to 8%.

Building a diversified portfolio that involves buying stocks in companies across different countries and industries seems to be a wise decision rather than investing in just one company, considering that not every stock has the same kind of return and fluidity.

Returns on stocks come in many different ways irrespective of the type of company the person decides to invest in. Some of them are: 

When you sell the stock for more than what you paid for, it fetches you a profit because the stock value goes up, i.e., it appreciates over time. 

Stocks can also pay you a dividend, which is basically payments made to shareholders out of its profit. Stocks usually pay monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual dividends, but you have to keep in mind that not all stocks pay dividends.

Importance of Buying Stocks

As stated, when you buy a stock, it makes you one of the company’s owners. In the long run, stocks provide great returns on the investment. On average, the annual return stands at 10 percent, but adding inflation, it becomes around 8 percent.

Even in buying stocks, diversification is essential. So, never invest all your money in just one company. You can buy stocks of any company around the world and from diverse industries. So, could you take advantage of it? Each market, company, and stock have its own volatility and return scenario. So, use your skills and diversify your portfolio.

When you invest in a company of any industry, nation, etc., you earn a stock return, as stated below.

  • The stock price hikes and increases the value of your holding. When you sell the stock at a high price, you earn a profit.
  • A lot of companies pay dividends on the stocks, not all, though. Generally, companies pay dividends for various time frames, varying monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, and yearly. A dividend can be defined as sharing a part of the profit to shareholders for that particular time period.

What happens when you buy a stock?

Where does the money go when you buy a stock?
When traders buy stocks, the money from the trading account goes to the broker’s pool account. Then the money from the broker’s pool account goes to the clearing corporation. Finally, the money will reach the seller of the stock at the price the trader bought.

So now that we have a basic idea of what stocks are and why one should own them, it’s time that we take a deeper look at where one’s money goes when one invests in a stock. 

Typically, a company decides to sell shares when they need money for their business. They can invest in various enterprises or initiatives such as funding new products or portfolios, expanding production, or spending on other things such as marketing or research.

The company first issues shares via an IPO (initial public offering), which the investors can buy or sell once they’re available on the market. 

The shares can be exchanged between buyers and sellers after they’ve been issued on the market. This is known as a secondary market where the money goes to another investor selling their shares. 
The investor receives money from a buyer via an intermediary, generally known as a broker when they want to sell their shares. 


We buy and sell financial assets from various platforms to gain wealth or make a short-term profit, but have you ever thought about where the money goes? It is obvious to have a lot of questions if you are a novice. It also comes in handy to understand this realm well if you raise questions and find their answers. Well, here is your answer to this question.

When you purchase a stock, the money goes to the individual selling you the stock, but there is an intermediary that looks after this settlement, and in most cases, it is the broker. The seller here can be the company of whom you are buying the stock (in case of initial public offering), or it can be another investor or trader as well.

If you don’t know where the money goes when you buy a stock, it’s alright and common. And we are here to guide you to that path as smoothly as possible. Consider this as your basic guide for stocks.

What happens when you sell a stock?

When traders sell stocks, the money from the trading account goes to the broker’s pool account. Then the money from the broker’s pool account goes to the clearing corporation. There is an actual buyer who will purchase these stocks, and the trading house absorbs the sale and reimburses you at the current market price.

So when traders buy stocks, they are not buying them from the company; they buy them from other existing shareholders. When traders sell their stocks, they do not sell them back to the company because they sell them to some other investor.

What happens to the money when the value of a stock drops?

Let’s take a simple example to support the statement.

So two people want to trade stocks: x and y 

Let’s say that x bought a share from y for 20 rupees. After a certain amount of time, the share’s value started to drop, and x sold it back to y for 10 rupees. So in this transaction, x lost 5 rupees, but y made 10 rupees. 

Unlike this example, the stock market is much more complicated. There are a lot of stocks and a lot of participants.  Different people have different cost bases.


The stock market, like derivatives, isn’t a ‘zero-sum game.’ A lot of people buy stocks keeping in mind that someday another party will pay more for it. And this thought process works as there is no expiration date for the stock market. 

The interesting part is that people are always either winning or losing trade to a certain degree. So the answer to this simple question is that the money is with the person who sold you the stock. 

What involves owning a stock?

A majority of people invest their money in common stock, which also comes with voting rights and includes dividends. 

Other types of stock work differently, such as preferred stock. One should remember that owning a stock and owning a share in its profits or losses are two sides of the same coin. That means that the owner doesn’t have a say in the company’s managerial decisions, and they also won’t be provided a desk at the company’s headquarters.

Stocks have a good history of providing excellent returns to investors, but they come with a risk. An investor owns stock with a goal that the company’s value (also, the stock) should go up as long they own such a stock. However, the investor should also keep in mind that the value can again go down in value due to the market being very volatile or specific conditions or mishaps in the company. This is one of the main reasons why the investor needs to pay a good amount of attention to the market and its activities. Even the most minor issues such as a crisis or wrong communication can affect its stock value. 

Generally, a lot of investors prefer to go long-term for the stocks they invest in. The result is that the overall value of that portfolio would go up over time. Many long-term investors also prefer going for Mutual Funds, through which they can indirectly own stocks. The benefit? Mutual Funds tend to offer pool investment funds that ensure diversification to a certain level. 

What about buying stocks that rise and fall?

With all the following information, you must’ve come to know that the stock market is not as simple as one thinks. One should always be on their toes to be successful in trading stocks and should always be aware of the market conditions and the strategies of the companies they invest in. This helps the investors to make better decisions, resulting in a higher return on investments.


Now that you have an idea about the stock market, it’s time to go out there and start investing!!



Igor has been a trader since 2007. Currently, Igor works for several prop trading companies. He is an expert in financial niche, long-term trading, and weekly technical levels. The primary field of Igor's research is the application of machine learning in algorithmic trading. Education: Computer Engineering and Ph.D. in machine learning. Igor regularly publishes trading-related videos on the Fxigor Youtube channel. To contact Igor write on: igor@forex.in.rs

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