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Going for Broke: Things to Consider When Investing Without a Broker

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Most investors work with a broker to help them find and purchase the right stocks for their portfolio. However, you can go it alone if you prefer. When investing without a broker, there are a few things you need to consider to ensure your money is as safe as possible and make it work hard for you.

Understand How to Buy Stocks Through a Direct Stock Purchase Plan

Many companies listed on the stock exchange allow you to buy shares directly from their transfer agent, without using a broker. This process cuts out the middleman and can lead to you saving a lot of money in broker’s fees. However, not all companies listed on the stock exchange offer a direct stock purchase plan. To find out whether a company you want to invest in allows investors to buy shares in this way, go to the company website and look for a section titled “investor relations“.

Consider the Direct Stock Purchase Plan Fees

The fees you have to pay to open and use a direct stock purchase plan depend on the company you want to invest in. In general, most direct purchase plans carry a fee for setting up the account, which is usually between $5 and $20. You can also expect to pay transaction fees ranging from roughly $0.03 to $0.10 per share when buying shares and $15 plus $0.12 per share when selling shares.

Decide How Much You Can Afford to Invest and Over What Time Period

Investing in stocks can be a good way to grow your wealth, but it’s important not to overstretch yourself by investing more money than you can afford to lose. Remember that the value of shares can go down as well as up, so you must not assume that you can pull your money out of stock market investments whenever you need the cash. Keep an emergency fund in an instant access bank account so you always have enough money on hand to meet unexpected costs. Next, decide whether you want to invest over the long or short term. Investing over the long term can be a lot more efficient, as you only have to pay fees when you buy or sell shares, not while you are holding them.

Decide How You Want to Make the Payments

Direct stock purchase plans typically accept payments by automatic bank debit or check. Consider how you will make the payments, while ensuring that you always retain enough cash in your bank account to cover your regular outgoing bills, and check that the direct purchasing plan you want to use accepts your preferred method of payment.

Consider Scheduling Your Purchases

One method of investing, which is known as dollar-cost averaging, involves purchasing a small number of shares on a regular basis, such as every week or every month, rather than buying all the shares you want to own at once. This method of purchasing shares can reduce the risk of losing money, as your initial investment is spread over several months, so there is a much lower risk of buying shares while their price is at a high point. Many people regard this to be a much safer method of investing than trying to guess when the share price is at a low point and schedule your buying to coincide with it. Many direct stock purchase plans allow you to automatically schedule your share purchases for every month or week.

Get Advice on Your Investments

Being a successful investor relies on choosing the right shares to invest in. Making the right decision can be the hardest part of investing, so you need to seek out and listen to expert advice. A good starting place is to get advice from Money Morning, which offers regularly updated tips on the best stocks to buy. Follow industry news to find out which companies are predicted to grow, so you can decide which ones offer the most attractive shares.

Conclusion

Investing without a broker can be very financially rewarding, but it also presents risks that you need to take into account. Always plan your investment budgets and schedules carefully and get advice so you don’t make the wrong decisions. When you know which companies you want to buy shares from, check their websites to see whether they offer direct stock purchase plans. Although these plans usually charge small fees, they can be a much less expensive option than purchasing shares through a broker, giving you the opportunity to make more money from your investment activities.

Peter Berry is knowledgeable in trading stocks and shares and enjoys helping others when it comes to investments. He regularly writes about investing, small/startup businesses and technology.

 

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Investments…part 1

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I forgot to look at my 401K while I was at work today so these numbers are just some random investments I have from rollover accounts from a prior employer.  I’m very comfortable with the growth and management of the amount in mutual funds.  The $8,812.43 is sitting in cash for the moment with an investment group that I have moved my money out of.  I had a good contact there but he left the industry for health reasons I believe and the person my accounts passed to just didn’t impress me.  So I transferred the bulk (the $18K) and then hit some road bumps on the remainder.  I have such limited knowledge on this stuff but I’m doing research and trying to learn.  I’ve got to call and move that money sitting in cash this week!  The other moves were made at the beginning of this year.  I moved my money to USAA which has a great reputation and performance history.

The 529 College Fund is for my two children.  They each have 75 hours of an undergraduate degree paid for due to their father’s military service (a perk of being a Texas veteran that served during wartime) but we aren’t putting all of our eggs in that basket.  My ex and I were on a pretty regular deposit schedule until the divorce.  It isn’t that we agreed to stop investing…we just didn’t cover it like we should have when we divorced.   The oldest (12 years old) knows how to log on and check the balance AND has made a few deposits of birthday money and such.  I want to get on some sort of schedule again.  Oh and their paternal grandparents are very generous (read: too generous) with birthday and holiday dollar amounts and I’ve asked that they consider depositing a portion of that directly into the 529 but…since it was my idea, apparently it was a bad one!  LOL!  So, I’ve recently put my energy into teaching the kids about how to split up that $ and put some away.  That’s better anyway.

Tomorrow I will provide our current 401K balances.  If I am not mistaken…we figured out a few months back that together we have $80,000 total (that is the below AND the 401K accounts).  I am not currently adding to the below accounts but I am putting 8% (4% with a match) in my 401K.

 

$18,818.55 in Mutual Funds

$8,812.43 that I need to move from its current location.

$10,481.22 529 College Fund

$1,000.00 in an IRA


Over Budget…

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Confession time…

We went over budget by $90 this weekend.

I wish I could say it was on something important like an investment, a donation to the cancer society, or giving to help a military family but…

The $90 was spent on 5 flats of chicken thighs, 3 bags of charcoal, 4 fruit pies, green salad… and a round of golf.

My husband threw two hefty BBQ’s this weekend and went golfing with his brothers.

Fortunately, we both worked extra hours last week so we didn’t fall behind – in fact, we still came out ahead. Sometimes, inviting friends over to enjoy smoked chicken and homemade pies is worth it – especially when your BBQ is interrupted by an unexpected 20 minute fireworks show.

We sang Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Joni while playing Rock Band late into the night.

I’ve been wonderfully budget conscious for months; I hope you can forgive this exception.

How was your holiday? Any budget hiccups?