Are you a first time investor? If you want to invest in the stock market, but lack the knowledge of how to do it yourself, then hiring a stockbroker is your best bet. A stockbroker manages your investments and makes trades on the stock market for you. They also help educate you about investing so that even if they are not available, you can still make informed decisions on your own.
Remember that hiring a stockbroker is an important decision and like all professionals, you should shop around to find the best one for your needs. While it may be daunting at first, understanding what questions to ask and how to work with your chosen pro will make the process much easier.
How Much Money Should You Set Aside Each Month for Investing?
The answer to this question largely depends on how comfortable you are with risk. Generally, it is recommended that you invest 10-15% of your net worth into the stock market. However, if you are a beginner or uncomfortable with risk, then start out by investing a smaller percentage (5-10%) and work your way up as you become more comfortable.
Once you figure out an amount that you can safely invest each month without putting yourself in a stressful financial position, it is time to find the right broker for you!
Full-Service Broker vs. Discount Broker
First off, consider if you want a full-service broker or a discount broker. Full-service brokers offer more comprehensive services but will charge you higher fees. Discount brokers offer bare-bones service but at a fraction of the cost. As a rule of thumb, ask yourself how much research you want to do and what resources you have available. If you are well-versed in the market and have a lot of free time, then it will be worth it to pay for a full-service broker as they can provide more guidance and insight into your investments. However, if you just want a simple plan with minimal hassle, then a discount broker is the way to go.
Online Stockbroker vs. Brick-and-Mortar Stockbroker
Once you’ve decided on a type of broker, it’s time to look at the pros and cons of online stockbrokers versus brick-and-mortar stockbrokers. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but depending on your situation one may be better for you than the other. Online stockbrokers typically have a low minimum account balance and therefore lower fees, but they also tend to have fewer investment options available. If you have a large sum of money then this option will be better for you as it is much easier to invest heavily in one sector with an online broker than it is to do so at a brick-and-mortar. Brick-and-mortar brokers, on the other hand, offer more personalized service but come with a higher minimum account balance and may be more difficult to work with if you don’t live near one.
Questions You Should Ask your Potential Stockbrokers
Now that you know what type of broker to look for, it’s time to ask some questions. Below are some key things to consider when interviewing stockbrokers:
-Experience: How long have they been working in the industry and what is their experience with the type of investments you are interested in?
-Fees: What are the fees for the services they offer? Do you have other options with lower fees?
-Investment philosophy: How do their investment choices fit into your personal goals and risk tolerance?
-Personal interaction: Does this broker seem friendly, approachable, and knowledgeable? Ask about existing customers to see if they were happy with the service.
Before You Sign Anything with Any Broker
Before you apply, there are a few more things to consider:
-Check the stockbroker’s license. This information can be found easily online by going to FINRA BrokerCheck . Make sure they have a clean record and no complaints filed against them.
-Are they a member of the National Futures Association (NFA)? This is not mandatory, but can be a sign that the broker is committed to adhering to high industry standards.
-Review their policies and procedures. This will give you an idea of what to expect if something goes wrong.
-Get everything in writing. This includes the services they offer, their fees, and any other important information.
-Ask for referrals from friends or family who have worked with this broker before.
Doing your due diligence before signing a contract with a broker can be the difference between a healthy investment portfolio and massive investment losses. There are structures in place to protect you as an investor, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. By taking the time to ask the right questions and do your research, you can feel confident that you are making a sound investment decision and prevent yourself from having to a file a complaints or report fraud to the SEC.
Related Read: How to Know Your Stock Broker is the Real Deal
It’s Your Decision When You Want to Start
Working with a stockbroker can be a great way to get started in the stock market without all the hassle. By taking the time to ask the right questions and do your homework, you will easily find the best stockbroker to meet your needs.
In the end, remember that it is your money and you get to decide when you want to start investing. Do your research, know your options, and take control of your financial future!