Here is another post where I will give some more very basic info on the world of trading.
The most basic question that can be asked other than what a stock is would be how to buy them.
There are two primary ways to purchase stocks: A stock brokerage company and DRIPs & DIPs (which is, btw, what we also call stock brokers that are morons, hahaha!).
A stock brokerage is a company that purchases stocks on behalf of their customers. There are two types of stock brokerages: full service and discount.
A full service will (in theory) offer advice on what and when to purchase, as well as paying attention to trends and staying in communication with you on a regular basis as it pertains to where you stand and opportunities that might be appealing. These types of brokerages tend to be expensive, but offer expertise that you probably don’t have as well as keeping an eye on your investments for you so you can concentrate on other things. Like golf.
With the advent of the internet came the ability of everyone to be a stock broker, and so the discount brokerage or independent agent was created. The benefits of going with a discount broker or brokerage is that they are much cheaper than a full service firm (thus the name “discount”). The downside is that they are typically less knowledgeable and less likely to offer continual support the way that a full service brokerage will do.