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Earlier Discussion

How to become a better do-it-yourself investor Add to ...

Thinking about taking the plunge into direct investing - or want to become better doing it? Gail Bebee joined us to answer your questions.

Gail Bebee is a personal finance and investing writer and is dedicated to helping Canadians better manage their money. She has just published the second edition of No Hype – The Straight Goods on Investing Your Money, her popular book on investing basics for Canadians from the viewpoint of a savvy financial industry outsider. An honours graduate of the Canadian Securities Course, she also teaches courses on investment planning and speaks frequently on personal finance topics.

A full transcript of the live discussion follows:

Darcy Keith - Good morning everyone and welcome to this live discussion with Gail Bebee on using online brokers. I’m Darcy Keith, web editor with Globe Investor. We look forward to an informative discussion for all.

Darcy Keith - This live discussion is part of our 2011 Online Broker Rankings, which we revealed to the world last week. Click here to see the entire package.

Darcy Keith - Good morning Gail

[Comment From Gail ]

Hi Darcy.

Darcy Keith - Just to start off Gail, I have a few questions. For those thinking of switching to an online broker, especially one that may be cheaper than their current one, how much is it going to cost? Does somebody have to sell each stock and investment they own to do that and then repurchase? That would mean a huge hit in one-time fees I would have to pay.

[Comment From Gail]

For most investments, there is no need to sell. Along with the online brokerage account application form, you fill in a form that authorizes your old broker to transfer all the investments in your old account to your new online broker.

Darcy Keith -

For those worried about hackers and privacy, what do they need to know? Are these concerns overblown?

[Comment From Gail]

No security system is perfect, but online brokers have a number of ways to protect you. •Web browser encryption - look for 128-bit encryption like the banks and online shopping sites •Firewalls •Ongoing Monitoring of their web site •Sophisticated logins – verification questions only you can answer You can help by: •creating strong passwords and verification questions – don’t use your Mother’s maiden name •Using up-to-date anti-virus/anti-spyware software and a firewall •Reviewing your statements and reporting any errors or suspicious activity. CIBC advertises an online security guarantee if someone gains unauthorized access to your accounts through CIBC online services - 100% reimbursement of the money lost if you followed their requirements.

Darcy Keith - Thanks Gail, that's useful information. Now, here's Ryan with our first question from our readers:

[Comment From Ryan ]

Like many I have a pretty good general knowledge of the financial market. However, with working my regular job I find I don't have the time needed to properly research stocks and manage my portfolio. Are there any tips or investment stratiges you can suggest. I am in my late 20's.

[Comment From Gail]

Online brokers offer "canned portfolios" and some rebalance these regularly. There are what I call all-in-one portfolios you could buy ...

[Comment From Gail]

Claymore Balanced Income CorePortfolio™ ETF, bnak monthly income funds, Mawer RSP mutual fund

[Comment From Rose ]

Im 60, semi-retired and have 60K in a LIRA. Can u advise a better way to invest it rather than A GIC which does not pay much interest.

[Comment From Gail]

Ah the risk reward conundrum. I have a LIRA with about $35000 and I put it in the Mawer Canadian Balanced Retirement Savings Fund. This is riskier than a GIC, but still conservative and it should deliver a higher return than the GIC over the long haul.

[Comment From ]

Are options something that a DIY investor should consider in trading? Especially if they are NOT day traders?

[Comment From Gail]

I am not an options person and I don't think they make sense for the average investor. The brokers make lots of money on them!

[Comment From Gordana ]

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