Stocks don't have to be risky, it just takes time and effort, and more importantly, the right mindset that allows a capacity for risk, but the knowledge to minimize that risk so that profits instead of deficits can be produced.
Thankfully for the beginner investor, there are many ways to improve your financially knowledge without spending a dime, firstly it is very important to realize that there are many markets in which one can trade on, for example there is NASDAQ, TSX, and many more depending on where you live. There are also many free resources out there that you can exploit to gain a better financial knowledge and begin your journey out of the rat race and onto the fast track.
Yahoofinance, MSNmoney, googlefinance, are some of the sites that a beginner should try and browse through before entering any market. The information is free and should be sufficient to increase your knowledge immensely if you just have the right mindset and put forth the effort. Anyone can do it, if you just put the effort into it.