How to Invest Online

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How to Invest Online. More and more, people are turning to online investing to manage their portfolios, find and act upon new investment opportunities and bypass the fees and charges levied by traditional brokerages and investment banks. However, it can be risky to invest online, particularly because Internet scam artists lure millions of dollars away from unsuspecting investors every year.

Things You'll Need

  • Online investment training
  • Start-up capital

Bank or borrow some start-up capital and take stock of your investment goals. Do you want to get involved with high-risk, high-reward investing, or would you rather play conservatively and go after slower but steadier profits? Remember that it's always a good idea to have a diversified investment portfolio.

Read up on the type of investment markets you're interested in. Since you choose your investments yourself when you invest online, learn all you can about the stock market, mutual funds, commodities trading, options and whatever other investing opportunities you want to pursue.

Do some background checking on the various online brokers that you might choose to do business with. Remember that independent panels rank and rate online brokerages, assigning them a score that can help you evaluate how good a fit they'll be for the kind of investing you plan to do.

Do some "pretend" investing of your own if you're a novice. Simply assign yourself a (modest) fictional amount of money, decide how to invest it and see how you would have made out in the real world. Learn and adjust accordingly.

Open an account with the online brokerage of your choice. Remember that your investing costs may not always be predictable. In general, you will probably want to do business with the online brokerage that offers you access to the widest variety of markets at the best rates.

Start out playing small. Make modest investments reaching for modest profits. Don't put all your eggs in one basket, and get comfortable with the world of online investing before you get more aggressive.

Keep your portfolio diverse, and know when to get out of an investment. Sometimes it's best to cut your losses, other times it's best to sell before the bubble bursts. Stick to your plan, and remember that there's always a learning curve.

Avoid online investing scams. Ask to see a company's financial statements, check into any claims about the company that you might hear and make some calls of your own if you're in any doubt. Be wary of "hot tips" and "stock alerts" you see posted in online investing forums or that you receive in your email inbox.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use the resources at the Investing Online Resource Center to help get you started (see Resources below).
  • Never trust email stock tips or commit money to online investing opportunities that you have any doubts at all about. The Web is, unfortunately, full of scams. Always do your due diligence, and report any scam artists to authorities.

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