Common shares represent ownership in a company and a claim (dividends) on a portion of profits. Investors get one vote per share to elect the board members, who oversee the major decisions.
Over the long term, common stock, by means of capital growth, yields higher returns than almost every other investment. If a company goes bankrupt and liquidates, the common shareholders will not receive money until the creditors, bondholders and preferred shareholders are paid. Research stocks that fit within your strategy and invest in stocks that have the potential to help you meet your specific goals.