How to Invest in Stocks

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1 Minute Summary

  • You need an online low-cost broker to invest in stocks
  • Always save money and choose the broker with the lowest fees
  • Ally Invest has the lowest stock trading fees in 2018 out of every broker with 24/7 customer service
  • Opening an account takes 5 minutes and there are no minimum requirements or maintenance fees
  • If you have any questions about investing, Ally Invest has 24/7 investing support via phone & live chat
  • Consider diversifying your portfolio by purchasing multiple stocks
  • Keep it simple: consider investing in stocks of public companies you know and love
START INVESTINGopen an account on Ally Invest’s secure Site

Why Invest in Stocks?

Investing in stocks is one of the ways the rich keep getting richer (it’s also a lot easier to invest in stocks than you might think. Regardless of the amount of cash you have saved, if you’re not putting your cash to work by investing it, history proves you’ll miss out over time.

Investing is an essential component to financial freedom.

To put it simply, investing in stocks offers a way to earn income without working. This concept sounds strange at first, but, when you think about it, money is a tool. At a certain point, when you accumulate enough money, you no longer have to trade your time for money. You can trade your money for more money.

This is the “secret” to building serious wealth. Don’t believe me? Just ask Warren Buffett, a man who has made $89 billion from investing his money over the course of his life. If you have a long-term time horizon, and aren’t worried about short-term price fluctuations, investing enables you to grow your assets…sometimes exponentially. For example, if you buy $10,000 worth of Starbucks stock, and Starbucks moves 30% higher, you’ll make $3,000 by doing nothing.

Step #1: Opening an Account

The first step to investing and buying stocks is to open an online brokerage account, which takes about 5 minutes.

To buy shares of a public company in the U.S. (called stock), you need to use an online broker to facilitate the transaction. It sounds complicated, but it’s actually never been easier and cheaper in history to invest.

Ally Invest walks you through the investing process, has free investing tools and education, and has some of the lowest fees in the industry. Simply put, Ally Invest is the best online broker for investing in stocks in 2018.

  • $4.95 per trade, among the lowest fees in entire industry
  • No inactivity or hidden fees with any Ally Invest or bank accounts
  • Free trading platforms, education, and tools
  • 24/7 knowledgeable investing support via phone and live chat
  • Millions of satisfied clients

Step #2: Doing the Research

Once your account is opened (takes 5 mins), the next step is to navigate to the “Trade” tab on Ally’s online trading platform.

For this example, I’m going to use Starbucks (ticker symbol: SBUX). Starbucks is the most popular retail coffee shop franchise in the world, and a lot of customers and veteran investment bankers see serious value in the company.

When you sign into your Ally Invest account, the page will look like this:

Enter the name of the stock you want to buy in the box on the left.

Step #3: Making the Trades

Once you’ve entered the company name into Ally’s platform, real-time prices and buttons to buy and sell the stock will appear.

Once you’ve selected a stock to invest in, the next decision to make is how many shares to purchase. The exact number of shares to purchase is entirely up to you. You can buy 1 share or 1,000,000 shares. You’re only limited by the funds you have available. Ally’s system, thankfully, won’t let you accidentally purchase too many shares relative to your account value. As a general rule of thumb, most investors never put more than 10% of their available funds into a single stock. So if you have $1,000 and a stock is $50 per share, you might want to only buy a few shares.

When it comes to placing orders, we always prefer to use limit orders, because you get to decide what price you want to buy or sell at. A market order will execute your order at the current market price. This is sort of like buying a house without looking at the offering price; for stocks, market orders are only useful if you don’t care about the short-term price movements and just want to own the stock. After submitting your order, you’ll receive a confirmation of your investment and you’ll officially be an investor!

If you want to sell your investment and close out your position, all you have to do is click on your position in your Ally Invest account and click “sell”. Of course, if you need help with anything in this process, customer service is ready to help you 24/7.

9 Popular Stocks to Invest In

Starbucks is a very well-known stock to invest in, but here are 9 other companies that you might have heard of that are also popular investments. All of these stocks are great for beginners, since these are well established, name-brand companies that have been around for decades.

CompanyStock Ticker
Snap, Inc.SNAP
Alphabet, Inc.GOOG
Netflix, Inc.NFLX
The Home Depot, Inc.HD
American Airlines, Inc.AA
McDonald’s, Corp.MCD
Ferrari, NVRACE
Ford Motor CompanyF
Johnson & Johnson, Inc.JNJ

Final Thoughts

In the world of finance, investing is always considered somewhat risky, but it’s also highly lucrative. As the old saying goes, “fortunes favor the bold.”

At the end of the day, buying stocks and investing is planning for your financial future. Regardless of the amount of cash you have in your bank account, if it’s just sitting there, it’s not doing anything for you. Savvy investors don’t work for money, they make money work for them, and investing in stocks is one of the only ways to do that.

What You’ll Need to Open a Brokerage Account

Opening an Account

It takes about 5 minutes to open an account with Ally Invest. There is no fee to open or maintain.

Verifying Yourself

You’ll probably have to answer questions about your current income and employment status.

What You’ll Need

US licensed stock brokers are required to have each client’s Social Security Number for tax purposes.

What is Options Bro?

Options Bro is an online financial information site dedicated to providing independent, informative, and objective reviews, comparisons, and tutorials on all things finance.

Collectively, we’ve spent hundreds of hours examining the most popular financial products and tools. Bottom line, we simplify and explain the myriad of consumer financial options available today, so you can make smarter financial decisions.

Updated: December 1, 2018

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