7. How to Invest
a. Investing on your own
Check out this short video about the risks and potential benefits of investing money.
It is important to understand the companies that you are buying stocks in. Thanks to the internet, you can do lots of research electronically. You can pay for research done by financial information companies such as Reuters, Standard and Poors (S&P), Argus or Morningstar. Or you can use free stock-tracking tools at websites such as Yahoo!, CBS Marketwatch, Smart Money and CNNfn. These sites combine recent news and long-term price tracking information with the price quote of the stock of the moment. This combination of information often reveals the reasons behind the rise or fall of a stock’s price.
You can also get copies of the company’s annual report, press releases, and regulatory filing information easily by going to the company website or the Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) website at http://www.sec.gov/investor.shtml.
When does it make the most sense to “do it yourself?”
- If you want to purchase a mutual fund from one fund family, you can go directly to the fund family and establish an account.
- If you want to purchase individual stocks, bonds and mutual funds from different fund families, you can set up your own account at a brokerage firm. Discount brokers place orders to buy and sell securities at an investor’s request. They generally do not recommend specific investment products or strategies. There are also people who can help you set up an account and who can answer questions about what is happening with your account. For investors who understand the market and do their own investment research, a discount broker who only executes transactions may be the best option. Fees are lower and most services can be done online.