Choose Where to Shop
After figuring out where you want to invest, all you need to is shop.
But where do you shop? You could visit WholeFoods or Loblaws, or order online from Amazon or Walmart to get the exactly same products. Whatever you do, the prices can be significantly different. Not surprisingly, buying investments online through discount brokerages tend to be a lot cheaper.
Not all brokerages offer the same funds or ETFs, and they all have their own strengths and weaknesses. Do some research to check their reputation since we are all busy or lazy, and likely to stick to our first choice for years.
Tips for Choosing a Brokerage
- Reputation: Find how experts or 3rd party research firms rate the brokerages. Make sure you are getting the latest information since brokerage services get updated quite often.
- Annual account & trading fees: Online brokerages charge different fees for trading and transactions. Some charge annual accounting fees for small accounts.
- Convenience: Check how easy it is to set up fund transfers between your bank account and the discount brokerage.
- More to consider: Customer service, market data, usability of the platform can be good or bad
Other Places to Buy
If you decided to go with banks or full-service brokerages, they will recommend all the products you need. Just be aware that you will be paying for their service through high MER, sales fees, or accounting fees.
- Banks or credit unions: While individual branches sell mutual funds, wealth management departments offer a variety of services for those with money.
- Full-service brokerages: Besides buying and selling transactions for investors, they provide customized research and investment suggestions, but could charge high fees for their services.