Investment Online

Do-it-yourself investment tips

Over the past decade, the Internet has become a lucrative a platform for making money. Using the Internet for investing is a great alternative to traditional investment options, particularly because you can do it all from the comfort of your own home. Here are 10 useful tips for investing money on the web:

Safe bets

For cautious investors who wish to see slow and steady returns on their money, traditional bank-based products such as mutual funds and GICs are available online at all major banks.

Trading

If you feel you want to grab the bull by the horns and have direct control over your investments, there are hundreds of options on the Internet that will allow you to play the stock market.

Where to go

Independent online brokerages are the most popular option for investing online. For a list of the top-ranked online brokerage firms, visit SmartMoney.com.

Fees

All online brokerage firms charge fees for performing transactions, such as buying and selling stocks. Be sure to shop around for the lowest transaction fees.

User interface

With the wide variety of online brokerage firms also comes a wide variety of user interfaces. Factor into your decision the ease of use and comfort of each brokerage firm's website interface.

Double check all transactions

The Internet is a fairly stable platform, but glitches do occur from time to time, and sometimes online brokerages experience processing delays. Double check every transaction to make sure it has been executed properly before you proceed with any new transactions.

Diversify

The age-old investment principle of diversifying your holdings applies equally to online investing. You should never put all your eggs in one basket.

Bigger is better

It's usually a good idea to go with a brokerage firm that is large and well established. The larger firms have access to more experienced investors, customer service is usually better, user confidentiality is more assured and the possibility of fraud is greatly reduced.

E-mail scams

Pay no attention to e-mails advertising a hot investment or stock that is about to skyrocket. These e-mails are very common and are always phony.

"Off-Shore" Investments

Be cautious of "off-shore" investment opportunities. Though you should not totally avoid investing outside of North America, some fraudsters overseas take advantage of time zone differences and regulatory differences to steal your money.