Buying stocks is a great way to grow your money over time, but the world of investing can be daunting and confusing for beginners. When you invest in stocks, you buy a part of them or a share of a company; the more stocks you own, the more potential your money has to grow – or disappear.
If you’re new to the world of personal finance and need advice on investing in the stock market , here are four steps to get you started.
Step 1: Determine your financial goals
Before you buy stocks, ask yourself some key questions about your future investment goals and risk profile. Are you looking for short-term gains or long-term growth? If you start young and save for retirement, you’ll have a longer investment journey and can afford to take on more risk.
If you’re saving for an upcoming expense like a down payment or a child’s education—or you’re worried about stock market fluctuations—focus on low-risk, low-volatility assets.
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Step 2: Decide how you want to buy stocks
When considering buying stocks in Canada, there are three main ways to invest your money. The approach you take will depend on whether you want to take a hands-on role in managing your money or prefer to work with an expert.
Self-directed investing: If you’re wondering how to buy stocks in Canada without a broker, self-directed trading sites are a popular option for individuals who want to buy and trade assets on their own. User-friendly online brokerage platforms offer low fees, but require investors to operate independently and conduct their own research on market trends. Many large banks also operate their own online brokerage platforms for do-it-yourself investors.
Robo-advisors: not ready to run the show on your own? Robo-advisors are another option for buying stocks without using the personalized services of a broker. Available from some major banks and third-party platforms, automated robo-advisors manage your portfolio on your behalf based on your risk tolerance, investment goals and time horizon.
Financial Advisors: If you want a professional to help you buy stocks and manage your money, it’s best to work with a financial advisor. These qualified experts can help you with a full range of financial services and products – including retirement planning, funds for education and life insurance.
Step 3: Diversify your investments to reduce your risk
The stock market can be volatile, so diversifying your portfolio by investing in a range of assets across a wide variety of industries is a good way to reduce your risk. Instead of buying individual stocks, opt for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or mutual funds, which are professionally managed portfolios of stocks, bonds and/or commodities invested in diverse and strategic way.
Step 4: Start investing regularly
It’s never too early to take control of your financial future and no amount of money is too small to invest. Set up automatic contributions for your investment accounts on a monthly basis to ensure you build your portfolio.The sooner you start to master how to buy stocks – either on your own or with the help of a financial planner – the more your money can grow over time.