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How do I… start investing

Investing is one of the best ways to grow your money. With the right strategy and personalized portfolio, investing can help you reach your goals faster and secure your financial future. To help you cut through the noise and complex terms, let's break it down into five easy steps so that you can get started investing with confidence.

How to start investing in 5 simple steps

Step 1: Understand your goals

Before you start investing, it’s important to understand what you want to do with that money. Are you saving for retirement, to buy a home, to go on that dream vacation or simply for a rainy day? 

If you know what you’re investing for, it helps you gain a clearer picture of things like:

  • Investment options – what type of investments make the most sense for you

  • Time horizon ­– how long you’ll be investing your money before you need it

  • Risk tolerance – how much risk you’re comfortable taking as you begin to invest

Step 2: Choose your investing approach

Getting started on investing can look a little different for each of us. Some of us want to invest for ourselves, some want to set and forget, and others want expert support along the way. It really depends on your personal preference and comfort level with the process.

Here are some of the key ways to start investing:

Investing with professional support

  • Who is this best for? Those who want peace of mind, knowing a professional will guide them throughout the investing process.

  • How does it work? An advisor will review your financial situation, priorities, and goals. They’ll then help you build a personalized portfolio based on your needs, monitoring and managing it for you over time.

  • How to start investing this way? Book a chat with one of our advisors. They can meet you at your local branch or wherever works best for you.

Self-managing investments

  • Who is this best for? Those with confidence in their investment knowledge and the time to monitor the markets themselves.

  • How does it work? You’ll need to open an account with an online brokerage. You’ll then be able to buy and sell investments, such as ETFs, stocks and bonds, to create your own portfolio.

  • How to start investing this way? Try our award-winning, low-fee trading platform, Qtrade Direct Investing™. Getting set up is easy and entirely online.

Automating your investments

  • Who is this best for? Those who want to set and forget their investing, while still enjoying a strong, well-diversified portfolio.

  • How does it work? You’ll need to open an account with a digital investing service. You’ll then tell the system a little about yourself and it’ll recommend a personalized portfolio to fit your needs. Any adjustments are then automated on your behalf.

  • How to start investing this way? Book a chat with one or our advisors or give Qtrade Guided Portfolios® a try. Both options offer automated, low-cost portfolios professionally managed for you.

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Step 3: Explore your investment options

The next step on your journey is deciding where to start investing your money. This is often the part beginning investors find the trickiest. There are a lot of investment options out there. Which ones you choose will really depend on your own goals and comfort with risk. If you’re unsure where to start investing, don’t hesitate to book a chat with one of our advisors. They’ll be happy to help you figure out which options make the most sense for you.

To help you get started, let’s take a look at some of the most common types of investments:  

Term deposits

  • What is a term deposit? A term deposit is a secure, low-risk investment that 100% guarantees the money you put in (known as the principal), while earning interest over a set period of time (known as the term).

  • Why choose it? The key benefit of investing in a term deposit is security. Because your initial investment is protected, you don’t need to concern yourself with the ups and downs of the market.

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Mutual funds*

  • What are mutual funds? A mutual fund is a big pool of money collected from a group of investors. It's managed by professionals who use that money to buy a mix of investments like stocks, bonds, and ETFs.

  • Why choose them? The key benefit of investing in mutual funds is diversification without effort. Each mutual fund holds a range of investments managed for you by specialists.

Learn more

Stocks & bonds*

Stocks and bonds are often talked about together. Both have their place in a well-balanced portfolio, but they’re actually quite different.

  • What are stocks? Stocks (also known as equities or shares) represent partial ownership of a company. When you buy a stock, you’re essentially buying a small piece of that company.

  • Why choose them? Although often considered higher risk, stocks historically have strong long-term returns. This makes them a great option for growing your portfolio.

  • What are bonds? Bonds are like a loan you give to the government or a company. When you buy a bond, you’re basically lending them your money under the promise that they’ll pay it back with interest.
  • Why choose them? Similar to a term deposit, bonds earn fixed interest. So they can provide a predictable income.
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Don’t forget to maximize your tax savings!

You can hold your investments in a number of registered government plans:

  • Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA)

  • First Home Savings Account (FHSA)

  • Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

  • Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF)

  • Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

  • Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)

Each one offers its own special tax benefits designed to help your money grow faster for your goals.

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Step 4: Decide how much to invest

There’s a strong misconception that you need a lot of money to start investing. But that’s really not true. You can begin to invest with any spare money you have. It doesn’t limit your investment options. So don’t let a small initial budget stop you from getting started on investing. The sooner you begin the more time your money has to grow. Try putting in a small amount, say $50, and then setting up a regular, pre-authorized transfer to invest more.

Step 5: Start investing

Now you have a solid idea of your goals, investment options, approach, and budget, it’s time to start investing! Just remember, you’re not alone. We’re here to help.

Have investing questions?

As you begin to invest, you can always get in touch with our advisors. Experienced and accredited, they’ll be happy to help you at any stage of your investing journey.

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Life gets busy, but don't let that stop you achieving your goals. Whether you’ve got $50 or $50,000, we want to help power your possible – and we'll come to you to do it.

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*Mutual funds and other securities are offered through Aviso Wealth, a division of Aviso Financial Inc.

Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Direct Investing, a division of Aviso Financial Inc. Qtrade and Qtrade Direct Investing are trade names and trademarks of Aviso Wealth Inc. and its subsidiaries. Qtrade Guided Portfolios is a division of Aviso Financial Inc.

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Unless otherwise stated, cash balances, mutual funds and other securities are not covered by Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation or by any other government deposit insurer that insures deposits in credit unions. Mutual funds and other securities are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.