Learn how in the Forum Introduction Guide. Grabbit Shop don't drop Freebies Competitions. Join s of MoneySavers in the Forum's many discussion boards. This guide tells you everything you need to know about buying, holding and selling shares.
Plus the cheapest way to buy them and some tips for those who are new to investing. Plus the cheapest way to buy them and some tips for those that who new to investing. A share is simply a divided-up unit of the value of a company. Those shares can and do go up and down in value for various reasons. There are two options when buying shares, you can either:.
For first-time investors pooling your money is a slightly safer option as you're not putting all your eggs in one basket as you're not just investing in one company and it means you can ride out any bumps in the market. For more information on funds see our Fund need-to-knows.
As a rule of thumb, you should invest for at least five years. This allows enough time to ride out any bumps in the market that might see you make a loss on your money. If you know you're going to need access to your money in this time, then perhaps investing isn't the right route for you. If that company gets into difficulty then you could lose some or all of your money.
Instead, spread your risk by buying shares in a variety of companies. It's also tempting to try to time the market, but it's almost impossible and even the most experienced investors get it wrong. By pulling out of the market as soon as a share dips or trying to second-guess when a share will reach its peak, you could lose out on sharp recoveries or see the price go down again.
This will give you an added benefit of something called 'pound cost averaging'. Most platforms will let you do this and it's a great way to reap tax benefits at the same time as investing your money. See more on this below. If you're contacted out of the blue by someone inviting you to invest in shares, say 'no'.
It is almost certainly a share scam, often referred to as a 'boiler room' scam. Here fraudsters will cold-call investors offering them worthless, overpriced or even non-existent shares. While they promise high returns, those who invest usually end up losing their money. And remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The greater return you want, the more risk you'll usually have to accept. It's normally wise to take on more risk the younger you are where you have more time to make up any dips in the market.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Try to diversify as much as you can to lower your risk exposure, ie, invest in different companies, industries and regions. If you're saving over the short-term, it's wise not to take too much of a risk.
It's recommended you invest for at least five years. If you can't, it's often best to steer clear of investing and leave your money in a savings account. A fund might be a dud or you might not be willing to take as many risks as you did before. If you don't review your portfolio regularly, you could end up with a fund account which loses money.
Investments can go down as well as up. Don't be tempted to sell or buy funds just because everyone else is. The easiest and cheapest way to buy shares is online from what's called a 'share dealing platform'. These platforms allow you to buy shares from any company listed on the stock exchange and various overseas exchanges. Then there's the Alternative Investment Market AIM , which lists smaller developing companies that you may not have heard of.
So the basic principle is, if the company is listed on an exchange, you can buy a share in it. You'll always be able to buy and sell shares trading on the stock market. Even if you know the exact share you want to buy, you'll still have to set up a trading account and make sure there is enough money in it before you can buy the share. Once you've done this, you can log into your account and search for the share you want to buy. Once you've selected how you want to trade a price will be quoted, once you've accepted the price the shares will then show in your portfolio.
Before things moved online, all shares were traded through paper certificates. Trading in paper shares is a more expensive and cumbersome option.
Online trading is quicker and easier for not only you but also the stockbroker. As time is money, if you still want to trade in paper share certificates you'll be penalised for this by the broker who'll have to spend more of his time and therefore your money on the trade. So if you still have paper shares, your best option is to convert these to online shares. Most platforms will allow you to do this at no cost, you'll just have to fill in a form and it will take a few days to convert them to online shares.
One of the biggest things to take into consideration when buying and selling shares is how much it'll cost you in charges. The main ones to look out for are:. Platforms may charge a monthly, quarterly or annual account fee, but in some cases this is waived if you make a minimum number of trades, or your account is of a certain size. An inactivity fee may be charged unless you make a certain number of trades within a set period.
However, these days most platforms don't charge this as a bonus to lure you in. The fee you pay each time you buy or sell shares. You'll often find discounts for frequent traders. When purchasing UK shares expect to pay 0. If you're worried about diving straight in at the deep end with investing, but you're serious about doing it, then dummy portfolios let you build up your confidence first.
A lot of the platforms these days have 'dummy' or 'virtual' portfolios you can practise with. You trade exactly as you would if it were real, except you're not actually exchanging any money or buying any real shares, so if you do make a mistake, there's no harm done. You have to be an existing investing customer with some companies first before they allow you to set up virtual portfolios alongside your real ones.
While investments should be chosen for their potential to hopefully make you some money, shareholder perks can be a welcome bonus. These are no longer automatically given as they were when people held paper certificates, but some platforms still pass them on through the accounts. Aside from charges and what impact these will have on your share dealing, a few things to look out for when you're picking your platform are:.
Even the most experienced investors will benefit from share tips and helpdesk support, while everyone will want an easy-to-use website. Take some time to look around the platform's website and look at the information it provides before you sign up, it could save you time and money in the long run. If the shares are held in a nominee account then you'll need to contact the platform on which the shares are held. The shares are valued from the date of death of the person who held them.
Paper share certificates are slightly more difficult to sort out and will probably cost more, but if you approach a platform it will probably be able to help you value them and help with the administration. If you decide to trade your shares online, then the easiest thing to do is open what's called a 'nominee account'. This allows you to own shares without becoming involved in any of the paperwork.
A platform will set up the nominee account and hold the shares on your behalf. While you're holding your shares, it's important that you don't forget about them.
When you're new to investing, the excitement of it all may mean that you keep an avid eye on how your shares are performing. However, as you build your portfolio up and invest in more shares it's easy to let things slide, so make sure you keep a track of everything you've got by reviewing your portfolio regularly.
This is possible, but be aware that you will pay for the privilege and not all platforms offer this service.
For your name to be on the share register, you'll need to become a personal member of CREST, the electronic settlement service. Once a special nominee account has been set up within CREST, you'll then receive information directly from the company and you can attend and vote at company meetings and receive shareholder perks, such as discounts on products sold by the company.
This is usually something that few first-time small investors embark on and is reserved for fairly active investors with a large number of shares. The sale and repurchase are done immediately after each other to limit any exposure to the market. Selling shares is just as easy as buying them. Each platform's website will work slightly differently, but the principle is the same for each.
If you have set up a nominee account as explained above , as you don't hold the share certificates, you have to sell the shares through the platform you bought them from. However, if you want to sell the full holding ie, all the shares you have in that company , you'll have to select number of shares.
Once you place the deal you will be shown a quoted price for the sale of the shares. You normally have a limited time period to decide eg, 15 seconds , and the price quoted will not necessarily be as high as the price you bought them for. If you accept, then any money you have made from the sale will show in the account. Don't be emotional when it comes to shares, they are an investment.
People tend to give the market all kinds of properties it shouldn't really have. The value of this investment has now plummeted. Should I sell it or hold on? Don't consider it as an amount lost. The big problem is that many people then think "how do I recoup my losses?
There is no "what goes down must come up" rule. Forget whatever it was worth and make the decision on this alone. So considering it to be a fresh investment is the only way to go.
When it comes to investing in shares, which platform you choose for your share dealing will depend on a number of different factors, such as how experienced you are and how often you want to trade.More...