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Buying stocks is a way for individuals to own stock in a publicly traded company – and ideally build wealth over time.
For those who are new to the world of investing, buying stocks may seem like a complicated process, but it’s actually quite straightforward.
Here are four steps to buying a company’s stock, as well as what to consider before selling your stock.
Step 1: Choose a broker and fund your account
Before you can start buying stocks, you need to select a brokerage account to do so. You can choose to go with a trading platform offered by a traditional financial company like Fidelity, Schwab or Vanguard, or you can turn to online brokers like Ally or Robinhood.
Consider the variety of investment vehicles offered by the broker in addition to stock trading, such as retirement savings through IRA accounts. You’ll also want to take note of the maintenance fees, account minimums, and commissions the broker charges for executing trades.
Setting up your brokerage account only takes about 15 minutes and will require you to provide basic personal and financial information. For faster market access, you can choose to transfer funds to your account electronically from a linked bank account.
In order to continue to grow your investments and build up real assets, set up an automatic transfer to your brokerage account in order to contribute regularly over time. Remember that the money you invest in individual stocks should be money you can afford to lose, as there is always some risk involved.
Step 2: Do your research on which stocks to buy
Buying stocks through your broker’s website can be done in minutes. Since almost anyone can buy stocks in a short period of time, the barrier to entry is low, which is all the more reason to understand your risk tolerance and do your research beforehand. Choosing individual stocks requires a lot more education than investing in diversified assets like index funds because stocks carry more risk.
Before buying shares in a company, understand what that company does, the product (s) it offers, its business model, how it makes money, and its historical performance. You can also reference credible investment sites like Morningstar, a reputable resource for research and stock ratings.
When choosing stocks, it’s not a bad idea to stick with Warren Buffett’s mindset that you are going to buy and hold these stocks for years, if not decades, to come.
Step 3: Calculate the number of shares you want
A share represents your participation in a public company. Part of deciding how many stocks to buy will depend on how much money you need to invest.
Stock prices vary by company and go up and down constantly, but, for example, if you have $ 600 that you are willing to invest and the stock price is $ 60, you can buy 10 stocks. Some brokers have tools that allow you to see how many stocks you can afford to buy.
If this is your first time buying individual stocks, you may want to start by buying a single stock so you get a taste of the market before committing more money.
Some brokers even offer the option of buying fractions of shares or parts of a single share instead of the entire share. This allows investors to buy expensive stocks in companies like Amazon, which have a share price above $ 3,000 at the time of writing.
Charles Schwab allows investors to buy a fraction of a share of any stock listed in the S&P 500 through his program called Schwab Stock Slices ™. You can buy a single tranche (fractional share) or up to 30 tranches (30 fractional shares) for as little as $ 5 per tranche. Fractions of shares at Schwab are traded online without a commission, in the same way as ordinary shares.
SoFi Invest® is another broker option that offers fractional shares without any trading commission. Investors can start with just $ 5 and access over 4,000 stocks and ETFs.
Step 4: place your trade
To enter your order on your broker’s platform, use the stock’s three- or four-letter ticker symbol. You will have the option of choosing between a market order or a limit order.
A market order means that you buy the shares at the best current market price available when you place the order. Market orders are best when you buy a few stocks or buy large, blue-chip stocks that don’t move drastically.
A limit order means you buy the shares at your specified price or better, giving you more control over what you pay for. With a limit order, the trade may not go through if the price does not reach where you want it to be. Limit orders are best if you are trading a large number of stocks or for smaller stocks with more volatile prices.
What to watch out for before selling your shares
When you follow your stocks as well as the performance of the companies in which you have invested, beware of withdrawals too early.
The money you invest in individual stocks should be money that you are comfortable holding for at least the next five years. To maximize your returns, your best bet is to hold for the long term, especially in times of volatility.
In fact, not giving your investments time to grow is one of the biggest investing mistakes experts say you should avoid.
Ready to start?
To determine which $ 0 trading platform offers the best services to consumers, Select narrowed down the offers to a list of 10 initial platforms. We then analyzed and compared each based on the following factors:
- Minimum Account
- Account types
- Account and advisory fees
- Customer service
- Available investment expenditure ratios
- Selection of investments
- Trading fees
- Technology available, including mobile platforms
- Educational tools and resources
After reviewing the above features, we based our recommendations on platforms offering the widest range of investment options, robust educational tools and resources, user-friendly technology, and fees and expense ratios. the lowest. We also looked at each company’s customer support structure, available lines of communication, and application reviews.
Note that with all trading platforms there is no guarantee that you will get a certain rate of return or that current investment options will always be available. To determine the best approach for your specific investment goals, it is recommended that you speak with a reputable fiduciary investment advisor.
Editorial note: Any opinions, analysis, criticism or recommendations expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.