How To Buy Shares Online: A Beginners Guide

Ah, I can recall distinctly that first heady day that I bought shares online. Things were less complicated back then. Dogs were dogs and cats were cats. None of this exotic animal bullshit. Less global warming. The seas teemed with fish.

That's how it was back then, one week ago. That's the day I first bought shares online. Me, online finance guru. I've held financial assets, of course, just not the electronic way. The old fashioned way -- with a human broker and a million fees.

Unless you're new to all of this, you understand what I'm writing about. Nevermind that. See, I'm just saying that I haven't yet forgotten any of this. It's all fresh. I'm experienced with what you need to watch out for.

All of this in easy-to-scan, list formatting.

Buying Shares Online Gotchas


Wall Street isn't about investing. It makes sense. I think a lot of people are making this mistake. You always see the traders on the floor on television. They purchase financial assets, right?

Wall Street looks that way from the outside, if you don't look too hard, but that's not how it works. Wall Street is a financial facillitator-- they don't buy and hold assets. They help connect buyers and sellers.

Theoretically speakinging, that's far from the worst thing in the world. But you know what happens when theory meets reality: fees . It's about charging way too much for way too little. You know, taking from the poor and giving to themselves.

There's some book that everyone references at this point--something like, "Where are the customer's yachts?" An insight that's at least 70 years old. You'd think people would get with it by now.

There's this idea of fiduciary duty--this notion that people like financial advisors need to put their own interests aside and, first and foremost, they need to be looking out for their clients. And it's the law. Our lawmakers require it. (Brokers aren't, though.)

Except that's a total dream, lunacy. Consider communism. I'm sure that it was firing-squad level frowned upon in the Soviet Union to put your own interests ahead of others. That whole greatest good for the greatest number thing.

How did that work out for them? Not too well. It's because people can't override their self-interest, and Wall Street is no different. I'm not trying to say that Wall Street runs on corporate greed and avarice. And maybe that's so, but I think human nature is a simpler explanation, and hence more likely to be accurate. The simpler explanation is the correct explanation.

So the major point I'm getting at here, in case you're unable to tell, is that 1. no one cares about your money except you and 2. Wall Street is all about the fees.

So there are two things that you need to do. You need to educate yourself on how money and investing works--or risk getting taken advantage of--oh, and you've gotta minimize fees.

Fees are the worst thing in the world. It's hard for me to overstate my hatred of fees. They start small and, with time, they grow into monsters. This becomes very readily apparent when you consider what you had to forgo to pay these fees. The opportunity of fees across your lifetime is probably in excess of a million dollars.

Plus, buying stocks online is a commodity service! The ideal choice is the one that has the least overhead. Each is providing the same service, so what else are you going to compare on? Whether or not they have a mobile app?

Watch out for fees! This is largely the same conclusion that this article on how to buy shares online came to. Recommended.

Alright, this is getting more ranty and longer than I wanted, so I'll have to continue it in part 2.