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. You can also use The Motley Fool as your stock advisor.
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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