In my first investing post, I shared my story. With this post, I hope to sort out how to get yourself set up self-directed investing. From the many hours of research I did about which brokerage to use, I decided Questrade is the best fit for me, so that’s what I’ll use as an example. I get no kickback from them, I just like them 🙂
Open an online brokerage account.
You need a broker, a.k.a. “discount online brokerage” because they act as the middleman who makes the trades happen for you, creates the beautifully easy to use website you’ll use, and takes care of a thousand other details of the investment world. An $4.95 minimum to $9.95 maximum fee for every trade you make is a very fair deal compared to what fund managers take!
The type of account I use and recommend as a Canadian is a TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) because it’s tax-sheltered up to it’s limit of $57,500, as of 2018 (if you have never put money in to it, that is the total).
Via Wikipedia (clickable link to it) “The TFSA is an account in which Canadian residents 18 years and older can save or invest. Income earned on contributions is not taxed. The TFSA account-holder may withdraw money from the account at any time, free of taxes.”
Cool huh? This is significant because it’s not about how much you make, it’s about how much you keep.
Also, that limit gets raised by $5,500 per year. Stephen Harper had it at $10K/year but the Liberals thought that’s just too damn generous, so they lowered it to $5,500. Can’t have us commonfolk getting wealthy! Well, we’ll show them, won’t we 😈 It’s a rare and wonderful thing that our gov’t surprisingly allows. Why not take full advantage of it?
Questrade has a great system for setting up your account, where you can do it one step at a time, leave it and come back when you’re ready for the next step. They have excellent customer service, so if you get confused they’ll help you, via phone or email. That’s right, a really real human on the phone!
The other really sweet thing about them is, the forms have almost completely gone digital…you sign it digitally on your computer via SignNow. The whole thing takes minutes instead of a month! No printing off, signing, scanning, uploading, sending crap. Or worse yet…
Gone are the days of (turtle-speed) mail paperwork to send and wait for, only to find out you made a mistake and it gets sent back to do all…over…again. As was the case when I started with Qtrade. They may have gone digital as well by now, I’m not sure. It was a loooong, painful process back then.
They will need a copy of photo ID but you can actually take a pic of your driver’s license, et cetera and send it electronically as a .jpg or .png file. Fast and easy!
2. Add funds
That’s super easy too, you can just add Questrade as a Payee in your online banking, then add money to your TSFA account the same way you’d pay a bill. You currently need $1000 CDN to start.
One thing to keep in mind, it typically takes 1-2 business days for money transferred from your bank to show up in your account. Which seems archaic in 2018…but cryptocurrency will solve that when it finally overtakes our current fiat money system. It can be transferred worldwide in seconds, not days. How awesome will that be?
3. Start trading!
This is where things get exciting! There’s hundreds of books, thousands of people who offer advice, and of course you can always do your own research or just wing it. (which I definitely don’t recommend!!)
Questrade offers a free practice account that you can sign up for that is fictitious but works the same, follows the markets, and gives you pretend money to play with. It’s great for learning how it all works, and it’s fun! Investopedia does as well.
If you want truly expert guidance on what/when to buy, at what price, email me and I’ll send you info on the company I use and have had superb results with. As in, doubled, tripled, quadrupled my investment.
Of course no one, not even Warren Buffett, wins on every single trade, but with the right guidance, as a self-directed investor you can do VERY well for yourself and ultimately become financially free…so pack your money a lunch, pick it up a cheap suit, get a bus pass…’cause you’re going to send your money off to work for you.
I’m happy to help if you have questions, I know first hand how confusing it can be to start when you’ve had no guidance. I’ve been there!
Fortune favours the bold,
P.S. Disclaimer: The stocks showing on my phone in the featured image are just random, and are NOT a recommendation! Jeesh!😜