Step 1: Open an online brokerage account
Wondering where to buy stock? Movies like to show screaming traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, but very few stock trades these days. Today, the easiest option is to buy stock online through an online stockbroker.
Setting up an online brokerage account is as easy as setting up a bank account: you complete an account application, provide proof of identity and choose how you want to fund the account. You can fund your account by matching checks or transferring funds electronically. (We have a complete guide to opening a brokerage account.)
How do you find a broker who is worthy of your flour? When opening an account to buy stocks, note two things:
- Cost of commission: Commission is the fee that a broker charges each time you buy or sell a stock. Finding a broker who charges little or no commission will be of paramount importance for active traders – typically, those who trade 10 or more per month. (Learn more about the ins and outs of stock trading. Commissions can be added quickly if you are trading regularly.
But all investors should consider the cost, as they account for your investment returns. In our analysis, we found that two brokers come out on top for commission-free trades:
- E-Trade offers commission-free trading of stocks, exchange-traded funds and options. Read our full review of E-Trade.
TD Ameritrade was our choice for early investors, and also offers commission-free trading of stocks, ETFs and options. Read our full review of TD Americred.
- How much support do you need. Consider the use of broker educational tools, investment guidance, stock-trading research, and phone, email, online chat, or branch offices for real, living humans. This is especially important for beginner investors, as you want a knowledgeable customer service representative available to answer your questions.
In our research, Merrill Edge stood out for investor resources and customer service: the broker offers investors a large selection of research about stocks and other investments, and its website is stocked with educational videos, courses and webinars is. (Read our full review of Meryl Edge.)
To compare all your brokerage options, review NerdWallet’s complete list of the best brokers for stock trading, or use the search tool below to find the right match for your investment style. (The article continues below the tool.)
Get the best search results for you by choosing your ancestors
Step 2: Select the stocks you want to buy
Once you set up and fund your brokerage account, it is time to dive into the business of taking stock. A good place to start is researching companies you already know from your experiences as a consumer.
As you do your research, you do not let data and real-time market gimmicks dominate you. Keep the objective simple: You are looking for companies in which you want to own a share.
Warren Buffett famously said, “Buy in a company because you want to make it yourself, not because you want the stock to go up.” He did very well for himself by following that rule.
Start with the company’s annual report – especially the management’s annual letter to shareholders. The letter will give you a general narrative of what is happening with the business and provide references for the numbers in the report.
After that, most of the information and analytical tools you need to evaluate the business will be available on your broker’s website, such as SEC filings, conference call transcripts, quarterly income updates and recent news. Most online brokers offer tutorials on how to use their tools, and even basic seminars for taking shares.
To learn more about valuing companies for your portfolio, see NerdWallet’s specialty on how to research stocks.
Step 3: Decide how many shares to buy
You should not feel pressured to buy a certain number of shares or fill your entire portfolio with one share at a time. Consider starting small – really small – only to buy one stock to feel what it’s like for individual stocks and whether you need to go through a rough patch with minimal gold loss Good luck riding it. You can add to your position over time as you master shareholder swagger.
Step 4: Select your stock order type
All those numbers and redundant word combinations on your broker’s online order page will not be closed. Refer to this cheat letter:
Basic Stock Trading Terms
There are a lot of fancy trading tricks and complicated order types. Don’t bother now – or maybe ever. Investors have built successful careers in buying stocks with only two order types: market orders and limit orders.
With a market order, you are indicating that you will buy or sell shares at the best price available in the market. Because a marketplace does not place any price parameters on an order trade, unless you are trying to buy one million shares and takeover coup, your order will be filled immediately and completely.
If you don’t get the price you give – if you’re selling – or get, that’s not the exact price you quoted a few seconds ago. Bid and ask prices fluctuate continuously throughout the day. This is why market orders are best used when buying a stock that, unlike smaller, more volatile companies, does not experience broader price swings – larger, stable blue-chip stocks.
good to know:
- Market-order is best for buying and keeping investors, for whom small differences in price are no less important than ensuring that the business is fully executed.
- If you make a market order trade “after hours”, when the market is closed for the day, your order will be placed at the prevailing price when the next open for exchange trading.
- Check your broker’s trade performance disclaimer. Some low-cost brokers bundle all client trade requests to be executed at once at the prevailing price, either at the end of the trading day or at a specific time or day of the week.
A limit order gives you more control over the price at which your trade is executed. If XYZ stock is trading at $ 100 per share and you feel that the price of $ 95 per share is higher than the company’s price, your limit order tells your broker to hold tight and execute your order. Is when the asking price falls level. On the sell side, a limit order asks your broker to part with the shares when the bid rises to the level you set.
A limit order is a good tool for investors to buy and sell small company shares, which experience a wide spread based on investor activity. They are also good for investing during periods of short-term stock market volatility or when stock prices are more important than order fulfillment.
There are additional conditions that you can place on a limited order to control how long the order will remain open. An “all or none” (AON) order will be executed only if all the shares you wish to trade are available at your price range. The “Good for the Day” (GFD) order will expire at the end of the trading day, even if the order is not fully filled. The “good until canceled” (GTC) order lasts until the customer pulls the plug or the order expires; That is anywhere from 60 to 120 days or more.
good to know:
- While a limit order guarantees you the price you receive if the order is executed, there is no guarantee that the order will be fully, partially or even filled at all . Limit orders are placed on a first-come, first-served basis, and only after that market orders are filled, and only when the stock remains within your set parameters when the broker is high enough to execute the trade.
- Limit orders can cost investors more in commissions than market orders. A limit order that cannot be fulfilled at one time or during the same business day can be filled in subsequent days, in which the transaction costs are made one trade each day. If the stock never reaches the level of your limit order by the time it expires, the trade will not be executed.
Step 5: Optimize your stock portfolio
We hope that your first stock purchase will be the start of a lifelong journey of successful investment. But if things get difficult, remember that every investor – even Warren Buffett – goes through a rough patch. The key to coming forward in the long term is to keep your perspective and focus on the things that you can control. There is no market understanding between them. what can you do:
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