I'm new to this. Can I sell or buy stock by myself?
In order to buy stocks, you need the assistance of a stock broker since you cannot just phone up a company and ask to buy their shares yourself. For inexperienced investors, there are two basic categories of brokers to choose from - a full-service broker or a online/discount broker.
Full-service brokers are what most people visualize when they think about investing - well-dressed, friendly business people sitting in an office chatting with clients. These are the traditional stock brokers who will take the time to get to know you personally and financially. They will look at factors such as: marital status, lifestyle, personality, risk tolerance, age (time horizon), income, assets, debts, etc. By getting to know as much about you as they can, these full-service brokers can then help you develop a long-term financial plan.
Not only can these brokers help you with your investment needs, but they can also provide assistance with estate planning, tax advice, retirement planning, budgeting and any other type of financial advice, hence the term "full-service". They can help you manage all of your financial needs now and long into the future and are for investors who want everything in one package. In terms of fees, full-service brokers are more expensive than discount brokers but the value in having a professional investment advisor by your side can be well worth the additional costs - accounts can be set up with as little as $1,000. Most people, especially beginners, would fall under this category in terms of what type of broker they require.
Online/discount brokers, on the other hand, do not provide any investment advice and are basically just order takers. They are much less expensive than full-service brokers since there is typically no office to visit and no certified investment advisors to help you. Cost is usually based on a per-transaction basis and you can typically open an account over the internet with little or no money. Once you have an account with an online broker, you can usually just log on to its website and into your account and be able to buy and sell stocks instantly.
Just remember, since these types of brokers provide absolutely no investment advice, stock tips or any type of investment help, you're on your own to manage your investments. The only assistance you will usually receive is technical support. Online (discount) brokers do offer investment-related links, research and resources that can be useful. If you feel you are knowledgeable enough to take on the responsibilities of managing your own investments or you don't know anything about investing but want to teach yourself, then this is the way to go.
The bottom line is that your choice of broker should be based on your individual needs. Full-service brokers are great for those who are willing to pay a premium for someone else to look after their finances. Online/discount brokers, on the other hand, are great for people with little start-up money and who would like to take on the risks and rewards of investing upon themselves, without any professional assistance.
For more on what brokers do and what to consider when choosing one, see 10 Things To Consider Before Selecting An Online Broker and our Brokers and Online Trading Tutorial.
Yes, you can sell or buy stock by yourself. You simply open an account online with a company like Charles Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, Scottrade, E-trade (these are just examples, not recommendations, there are many other places to open a brokerage account.) After opening your account, you will deposit money usually by linking your checking account, and then you're ready to use that money to buy the stock you want.
However, do not equate the ease of opening an account with the ease of making good investment decisions. The fact that you are "new to this" is a huge red flag. I highly recommend you speak to a qualified advisor before making your first investment purchase.
Also, if there was only one book I could recommend to a new investor it would be The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.
Smart investing can be highly satisfying so take it slow, do your research, and seek out an advisor that has your best interest in mind.
Hope that helps, and happy investing!
Everyone's new to investing in stocks at some point - good for you to ask this very basic but important question right up front!
The short answer is, yes you can. However, there is also the question of should you buy stocks in individual companies, which I'll cover later.
In terms of buying a stock yourself, the easiest way to do so is to open up a brokerage account with a discount provider such as Charles Schwab or Scottrade. Once your account is open and funded, you can login and buy and sell shares of stocks as often as you'd like. Most discount brokerage providers charge about $8 or $9 per trade.
Make sure you look up the correct stock symbol and do your trading during the hours when the market is open rather than after hours when bid/ask spreads tend to widen and you could end up paying a premium for shares. For thinly traded shares (small companies that average few shares traded per day), consider putting a Limit Order in place to make sure you don't pay a premium. Here's a link that talks about what Limit Orders are:
However, rather than buying stocks in individual companies, you may want to consider investing in low cost ETF's (Exchange Traded Funds) that track major market indices such as the S&P 500. By buying shares in the ETF, you are effectively buying stock in dozens, if not hundreds of different companies and spreading out your risk rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket.
I personally no longer buy shares of individual stock for this very reason and recommend the same to all of my clients. If for some reason you still feel the need to buy stocks in individual companies, consider limiting this to no more than 5-10% of your total portfolio.
Good luck with getting started!
With Kind Regards,
Yes, you can absolutely do that, investing and managing on your own. Before I became a financial professional, I used to be a DIY investor myself. It’s both exciting and nervous because you know you can do the trades by click a button but you are not sure if you made the right one.
There are many things to consider when you invest on your own: 1) What’s your goal--generating a great investment return, income, or both? Your specific goal will direct you in selecting what kind of stocks you need to own. 2) What’s the investment vehicle, taxable, tax-deferred, or tax exempt to hold your investment? Depending on where you invest, the dividends and capital gains can either be taxed or not at all. If you’re already in a high-tax bracket, you may accidently have to pay an extra 3.8% net investment income surtax should you chose the wrong vehicle to invest. 3) Are you diversified enough, or are you putting all the money in one basket? Until you have the time to study the investment journal, how can you be sure you have the most diversification to reduce the investment risks?
Those are just some initial questions for you to consider. There’s nothing wrong to be a DIY investor, but sometimes a professional’s second opinion is worth more the cost for that conversion. Best!
You can always buy or sell stock without a brokers assistance. This is why there are discount brokers so you can place trades at a minimal cost and skip the broker advice and commissions. The real question you need to answer is "do I want and feel comfortable to go it alone?" Trading is pretty easy, but is trading by your self the right course for you? Buying and selling a stock is not rocket science, but you need to know the rules and expectations of you and your trade.
Before signing up with a discount broker, I suggest you understand your objectives, risk tolerance, time horizon, have a buy and sell strategy and understand what you want from the on line broker (Research, charts, company info, execution needs, exact costs and payment terms) as well as assistance/ help if you have questions or problems, and many other items besides costs. There are a number of big companies that are well know that make it pretty easy to open, fund an account and start trading. Usual costs are $5 to $20 per trade, with most somewhere around $8. Comparison shop a few of the firms and narrow down the selection to one that you feel comfortable and matches your needs. Some let you take their platform for a free trial.
Also, if you want to buy a mutual fund looking at one of the bigger companies (Vanguard, Fidelity etc,.) allow you to trade many of their funds or Exchange traded funds for no cost.
Great question for Investopedia!
You can certainly give the instruction to buy or sell a given stock on your behalf. Share of publicly traded companies are generally traded on exchanges such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Your cash and any shares you own are generally held by a custodian such as Charles Schwab, Scottrade, TD Ameritrade, etc. ou simply give the instruction to buy or sell to the custodian. Visit one or more of those sites and open a practice account--no real money is needed! Try out the system for yourself. Once you become comfortable and after you do plenty of research, you may want to buy and sell. I hope that helps. Good luck!