How to choose your first online investment platform—It’s easier than you think

Financial Well-being

Choosing where you want to invest your money can be a daunting decision. Especially if it’s your first time doing it. Even though it’s a decision you shouldn’t make lightly, in this guide, we’ll show you that it’s not as scary as it seems. Still not convinced? Read through this article and see for yourself.

Becoming an investor is easier than you think
Becoming an investor is easier than you think

Congratulations, you’re becoming an investor

If you’re on the hunt for an online investment platform, that means you’ve made the decision to make your money work for you in the best way possible, and that deserves a pat on the back. (Seriously, give yourself a pat on the back, or a self-five if that’s more your style 👏) You’ve already done the most challenging part. The first step towards becoming an investor is deciding to work on the financial future of your dreams. And you’ve already done that. Next up:

What are your investment goals?

Choosing the right platform requires that you know what you want to achieve with it. Do you want to build up money for an emergency fund to be available whenever you need it? Or do you want to invest money and not make any withdrawals to maximize your long-term gains? By determining what you want out of your investment, you’ll be able to decide which platform will best suit your needs and help you achieve your financial goals.

Writing down your financial goals will help you choose an investment platform
Writing down your financial goals will help you choose an investment platform.

Research is key

Okay, so you’re becoming an investor, and you know what you want out of your investment. Fantastic! But where, how, who? You want to invest your money where you know it will be safe, where you’ll get the best return on investment, and with a company that you deem trustworthy and sustainable. The only way to determine that is through research.

And yes, reading this blog article counts as research. By reading, researching, and gaining more knowledge about the world of investing, you can better equip yourself to make smarter decisions. Watch YouTube videos done by investment platforms and esteemed influencers, read financial blogs, ask money-savvy family and friends for their input, read reviews about companies you’re interested in, and don’t be afraid to contact a financial advisor.

Not all online investment platforms are equal

Most online investment platforms are 100% online, meaning you don’t have to sit in a queue; they’re accessible 24/7, more inclusive, and easy to use. It’s also why online investment options are generally great for beginners. But not all online investment platforms are equal.

Here are some guiding questions you should ask yourself to see how different platforms compare:

  • Investment options – Is there a product/service that suits your needs?
  • Return rates on investments – How much will you be getting out of your assets?
  • Fees – Are there any fees for deposits, withdrawals, or account management?
  • Limitations – Are there limits that don’t suit your investment style? E.g. Will you be unable to withdraw money for at least two years?
  • Referral programs – Do you get rewards for referring friends to the platform?
  • Withdrawal waiting periods – Is your money available instantly, or is there a waiting period when you withdraw your money?
  • The company – Is the company established and trustworthy?

There are many more questions you can ask yourself when comparing different investment platforms and products, but these guiding questions should help you identify at least three suitable candidates.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Okay, you’ve done your research and found three possible investment options. Now you must decide where you want to invest. Remember that list you made at the beginning of what you want out of your investment? Use that list to determine which of the three possible investment platforms will work best for you.

Narrow it down to top 3
Having various options make it seem difficult to choose. Narrow it down to top 3.

You’re almost there

Once you’ve selected the platform and product/service most suitable to your needs, you’re nearly there! Now all that remains is to open the account and make your first investment.

Once you’ve opened your account, set up automatic payments to help grow your investment. By setting up automatic transfers, you’re making your investment a priority, and this will help ensure that you stay committed to reaching your financial goals.

Keep an eye on your investment

This part is essential. Even if you’re not planning on withdrawing money from your investment, you want to make sure that your money is working for you. So, check-in once a month or once every quarter to see how your investment is doing. By seeing your investment grow, it will motivate you to stick to your financial strategy.

If you see that your investment isn’t performing as it should, you could review your plan and change it, if necessary. But be wary of changing your strategy on a whim. If you have a long-term strategy, don’t make decisions on impulse or emotional reactions.

And remember: Just because you already have an investment with one platform doesn’t mean you can’t have more than one. It’s good to diversify your investments, and it’s an easy way to see how different products stack up to one another.

And that’s all there is to it

Congratulations, you made it. See? As promised, it’s not as scary as it seems. The important things to determine is what you want out of your investment, do your research, keep emotions out of the equation, and make sensible decisions.

Are you making one of the six beginner investing mistakes? Check to see if you are here.