How to Buy Stocks in Canada 2021
Are you interested in buying stocks but have no idea where to start? You aren't alone. With the proliferation of online retail investing platforms, Canadians have unprecedented access to directly investing in the stock market themselves. Still, the information on how to do so safely and effectively has not kept up with these platforms.
Fortunately, buying stocks isn't hard, and once you have a little know-how, building your well-balanced portfolio takes only a few minutes. Here's everything you need to know about buying stocks in Canada.
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How to Buy Stocks in Canada
First, let's start with the most obvious question: How do you buy and sell stocks? To buy stock in a company, you'll need to use a brokerage firm or a registered independent broker.
This brokerage firm could be an online company like Wealthsimple, a human stockbroker, or a financial planner. If you are looking to buy stocks yourself, you can do so through an online discount brokerage.
Different Types of Stocks
When you buy a stock in a company, you are purchasing a share of ownership. As an owner, you are entitled to a portion of the company's profits. The more shares you buy, the more significant your stake of ownership is in the company, and the more substantial your share of profits.
Most publicly traded companies have vast numbers of shares, so even if you buy quite a few shares, your overall ownership percentage will still be very small.
There are two primary types of stocks that corporations issue:
Where Should I Keep Stocks?
Before you buy stocks, you'll need to decide where you want to keep them.
As a Canadian, you have the option of investing in two of the registered accounts available: Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) and Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs).
If you're not sure which one is the right choice, here's a quick primer:
Both accounts are tax-sheltered by the government, which means you will not pay taxes on growth in these accounts, whether from dividends, capital gains, or interest.
If you aren't sure whether to start investing in an RRSP or TFSA, a good rule of thumb is that a TFSA is a good option if you have a lower income, while an RRSP makes sense for higher-income earners.
You can also use a non-registered account to invest. Still, you'll have to pay taxes on any growth within this account, which is why experts recommend you use your RRSP or TFSA first until your contribution room is maxed out for each registered account before investing in a non-registered account.
Different Approaches to Buying Stocks
Beyond the different types of stocks, there are several different approaches to purchasing stocks in Canada. Here are some strategies you can use:
Online Brokerages Available in Canada
If you are interested in placing bukfying stocks (also known as placing market orders) yourself, the easiest way to do so is through an online brokerage.
An online brokerage is a platform that lets you buy stocks without having to go through a financial advisor or broker.
The fees associated with an online brokerage account is very low, and you can invest in a variety of stocks within your registered or non-registered accounts.
Typically, online brokerages let you open an account, link your chequing account, make transfers, and then make stock purchases directly from their platform.
Some common online brokerages in Canada are:
Questrade was one of Canada's original online brokerages and allows Canadians to buy and sell Canadian and US stocks and ETFs manually through their platform. The platform is streamlined and easy to use, and Questrade offers many different types of tools to evaluate whether a stock is a good buy or not.
2. Wealthsimple Trade
Wealthsimple Trade is the direct investment arm of Wealthsimple, which is better known for its robo advising service that invests your money on your behalf for low fees. Wealthsimple Trade is a great trading platform to start for beginner investors because it offers you free trading of Canadian and US stocks and ETFs, so you won't have fees eating into your returns. You can make your purchases from a streamlined user interface that connects seamlessly with your bank account. Wealthsimple Trade is also fully functional as a mobile app.
Qtrade is a lesser-known but high-quality online brokerage that allows you to trade stocks using their online trade interface. Qtrade is not the cheapest online brokerage but specializes in giving you the research materials you need to make informed trading decisions. You can purchase stocks, ETFs, and even mutual funds in real-time through this platform.
Our Final ThoughtsInvesting in stocks yourself is an excellent way to lower the fees you pay for investing while still maintaining a diversified portfolio that will help you save for the future. If you are just getting started, it's a good idea to take an index investing approach and invest most of your funds in a mix of ETFs. These funds will help you track the market and achieve consistent returns. A portion of your funds can also be used to purchase individual stocks, but proceed with caution until you become familiar with the process. Try and maintain a diversified portfolio of stocks and avoid allocating a large portion of your portfolio to a single stock.
Frequently Asked Questions
Self-directed investing is the process of investing your money without any oversight from a financial advisor. When you use a self-directed investing strategy, you are calling the shots on your investments.
Passive investing is the process of using ETFs or a robo-advisor to invest, but you don't buy or sell individual stocks regularly. When you are a passive investor, you'll make regular contributions to the same funds and either rebalance your portfolio a few times a year or let a robo advisor do that for you.
If you are entirely new to the world of investing, a robo advisor like Wealthsimple is the right place to start. A robo advisor will give you the guidance you need to set up a diversified portfolio that matches your risk tolerance. You won't find yourself in the position of panicking when your investments drop or selling your investments during a downturn, which can hurt your overall returns. After you become comfortable with market fluctuations and have learned a bit more about the stock market, you can begin investing a portion of your portfolio yourself and eventually move your entire portfolio if you are comfortable.
You can use both accounts to hold stocks, and neither is inherently more suitable for stocks than the other. Which account you should choose depends on your income. If you are earning less than you think you will in retirement, which is common if you are starting in your career, you should invest within your TFSA. If you are a high earner, use your RRSP to invest. The difference here is when your contributions are taxed. TFSAs tax contributions when you make your initial deposit. So as a low earner, you are paying less tax. RRSPs tax contributions at withdrawals, so if you are a high earner, you'll pay fewer taxes when you withdraw your contributions.