There is plenty of information on this site, and others, about DIY investing. From basic to advanced. However, many people still find the actual process scary or confusing. That will quickly go away when you do it a few times and realize how easy it is. However, you may need a guide and some morale support or mentorship to get there.
I built this DIY investing guide to help you on your journey. There are a series of decisions to make for your DIY investing plan. There are also specific actions to take to operationalize your plan. This guide page is just the intro to the interactive guide to start DIY investing that I have built. The Interactive Guide links the decisions and actions in tandem. Step-by-step instructions for each action step are coupled to the relevant decision-making aids and information.
If you use this guide to start DIY investing but still get stuck, have questions or need some mentorship. Then, contact me. I am not a financial advisor – you need to learn, make your own decisions, and execute your plan. However, I am committed to help empower as many people as possible to take control of their finances. My main limiter is time.
What To Expect
A hands-on detailed description of how to do this.
There will be lots of screenshots to make it easy to navigate and see what I am talking about. Explanation of options for parts of the forms or process that I have noticed that people get stuck on. Don’t get annoyed if it seems a bit pedantic in some parts. Trust me, I have helped exceptionally smart people who get stuck on what may be simple things for others. Uncertainty causes people to freeze up. Especially when dealing with finances. I aim to cut through all of that and have even asked many embarrassingly simple questions myself to build these pages.
Getting started with DIY investing is an upfront time investment. You will find that the first account you open takes you an hour or so. When you have done it a few times, 15-20 minutes. Learning about your risk tolerance, asset allocation, and considering what to use to invest can take several hours if you keep it simple. Infinity, if you want to get fancy.
Go simple to start. It is much more important to have more time in the market with a good plan than to miss out making a perfect plan (there isn’t one). Buying your first ETF may take you 15 minutes to triple check, overcome your fear, and click submit. After that, it is usually 5 minutes.
If you accept that fees are a major factor in net investment return, then this can pay more per hour than performing brain surgery. Without being a brain surgeon. If you do decide to use an advisor or use more complex approaches later, then this experience will put you on a much stronger footing to be an educated client. You may even decide to get the best of both worlds by DIY investing and using a fee-only (advice-only) financial advisor for planning and coaching. Learning to DIY invest is time well spent either way.
Typically, there will be a time lag of a few days to open the account. Funding the account can take 1-2 days if putting cash in from a bank or several weeks if transferring funds from another brokerage (it depends on the sending brokerage). You can use that time to consider your risk tolerance, asset allocation, and what to buy. Don’t worry, you will learn what all that means in the Interactive Guide section of my site.
An in-depth risk tolerance assessment section
The process on this site is more than a simple questionnaire or maybe even what your advisor did with you. This step of investing is crucial, but don’t let it scare you. You don’t need to be perfect or precise. However, you should think about it from multiple angles and adapt as you gain experience.
Simple should be the default. Optional advanced education & tools.
I recommend choosing “simple” as you move through this process. However, I won’t patronize you by telling you that it is the only way, end of discussion. I also provide you with the option to consider more advanced approaches. They do have merit in the right circumstances.
Using a simple approach to get started with a plan you can execute is the most important thing. Regardless of income or assets. However, high-income professionals face some unique issues when they build a larger, more complex portfolio, and face a larger tax burden. I also know that professionals are also smart people and may be reluctant to take action if they think that they are missing something. That paralysis is bad because time in the market is what matters most. Learn and decide for yourself.
As you gain experience and assets, the correct answer for you may still be simple. However, that should be a deliberate decision after considering the options. I still think simple is best to get started. For the experienced, I have made material and tools to help take it to the next level if that suits you.
I use Qtrade for all of this, but much of it is generalizable.
I use Qtrade Direct Investing personally because it is a good platform and has excellent customer service. Just to be clear, Qtrade is not Questrade. They have similar names but are actually competitors. I have experience using multiple discount brokerages, but no personal experience using Questrade.
More recently, I became a Qtrade Partner. That aligns well with my mission, and it helps me to do a better job helping you in multiple ways. Using any of my affiliate Qtrade links/logos on my site to open a new Qtrade account leads you to information on Qtrade’s best campaigns and promotions (often not available publicly), and Loonie Doctor also gets a small referral fee. The current promo is up to $2000 cash back (available only via partners currently).
If you open a Qtrade account using another method, you can become affiliated with me by putting “The Loonie Doctor” as your referral on the application. It is a great way to support what I am doing here at no cost to you. However, everything on my site should be extrapolatable to other platforms. I built all of this to help people take control, not to make money per se.
Disclaimer: This series of DIY guide pages are on my site. So, they are not Qtrade-endorsed. You need to use the Qtrade platform to actually open accounts and DIY invest. Qtrade acts as your broker and also has a bunch of educational material on their site. Plus, excellent customer support. Also, I am not a financial advisor. I provide free education and mentorship, but you are responsible to learn about, decide upon, and execute your own plan.
Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Direct Investing, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Qtrade and Qtrade Direct Investing are trade names and/or trademarks of Aviso Wealth Inc. and its subsidiaries.
Two Maps To Carry With You On Your Journey
It is easy to get lost. We will go step by step, but I suggest that you print out these two reference cards to keep the big picture in mind. The first map has the major decision points in making a DIY investing plan. The second has the steps to execute the plan, which are in a different order. This Interactive Guide is built to help you to implement your plan. So, it follows the execution sequence with relevant information and tools for decision making linked at each step.