The stock market has gone through a rollercoaster of change in the past few years marked by the magnitude of swings. The market has been hit by shockwaves caused by the Brexit referendum, Trump winning the US presidency, and previously strong businesses suddenly standing on shaky ground. For some, this may be off-putting, especially if they were considering a trading journey that now seems as though even the sturdiest of positions can be inexplicably weakened. CFDs - or contract for differences - provide a solution to this concern in the face of possible changes. But how can CFDs provide a reasonable alternative to trading for those who might want to take a cautious approach?

Contracts for differences refer to the idea that the buyer of the asset will pay the seller the difference between the asset's current value and contract time value. So, usually, the difference is between the opening and closing prices of the asset. The investor doesn't own the underlying asset in a CFD, which could provide an alternative for those who are warier about trading. As a result, the investor would have access to the asset at a cost that would be lower than actually buying the asset.

One of the main benefits of CFD trading is that the initial capital outlay is considerably less. When buying stocks normally, a significant amount of money could be required. A CFD requires far less upfront. Positions can be long or short term and traders have more flexibility. CFDs are touted for being easier to manage than alternatives and provide a comfortable way into trading for those who might be new to trading or who might want to be more prudent.  

Many people are opting to use a CFD broker online to begin their trading journeys. There is a plethora of brokers - some with a wide scope in terms of product portfolio, others with low trading fees, and lower minimum deposits. The particular broker would depend on what specifically a trader was looking to get out of their trading. The key is to ensure that each one is properly regulated and to see what kinds of platforms are offered. Some provide desktop software, while others have mobile alternatives.

CFDs aren't without their limitations, however. The size of the spread of the CFD could work to weaken the investor's initial position. You are still somewhat subject to  stock market movements

The stock market to many is a huge behemoth of algorithms and fast-paced shouting that many feel unable to engage with in any way. The prevalence of online trading and the tools this equips you with have changed that and mean that more people can get involved than before - including in markets previously cut off from them. CFDs provide a way for people to begin trading without as much risk (or as much reward) in order to gain insight into how trading works. In a volatile market, CFDs could help those too cautious to begin to see what trading is about.