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

Recently sold our house and now we have 300k sitting in a high interest savings accout. Opened up a TD Waterhouse acct and tsfa accounts. With the volatile markets, I'm scared to make the first move, any suggestions?

[Comment From Gail]

What do you want to use the money for? This will determine what you buy. For short term goals- leave it in the savings account.

[Comment From Brian ]

Hi Gail. I think the volatility in the US market represents a tremendous opportunity to buy at low prices. How would you recommend investors go about taking advantage of this?

[Comment From Gail]

You never know where the market will go. Decide on an investment plan, asset allocation and the price you want to pay for an investment. For stocks, I like to buy the company based on what I think its value is, not whether the market volatility will deliver extra returns

[Comment From Monica Dhar ]

I would like to invest in the recent Gold IPO from the Mint. Could you please tell me how to go about it. I have an online investing account

Darcy Keith - We had an interesting Streetwise blog on this IPO this morning. Click here to see it

[Comment From Gail]

This is an ETF, I believe, so you would buy it like a stock. I am not a gold bug, so I don't know the trading symbol.

[Comment From Bill ]

When buying or selling ETF's with an online broker, are there fees other than the transaction fees, and if so, how much would they be?

[Comment From Gail]

It depends on the broker. The deep discount brokers may charge exchange access fees. I am not sure of the specific costs, but they are generally much lower than the commission. The bank online brokers and Qtrade generally include these fees in the commissions.

[Comment From Andrew Toronto ]

If you are doing more than trading basic stocks, should you be looking at exclusive features? For example, TD e-funds could form the basis of a couch potato portfolio, but TD doesn't provide free ETF purchases.

[Comment From Gail]

I think you should choose the broker that best meets your overall needs. Performance reporting is high on my list of essentials.

[Comment From Elgin ]

I currently have 4 DRIP stocks BCE, BMO, FTS, and TRP. What are your thoughts on dripping? Thanks.

[Comment From Gail]

If you are willing to do the extra paperwork, DRIPS (Dividend Reinvestment Plans) are fine. The easier way is the use the broker synthetic DRIPs which reinvest dividends in whole share.

[Comment From John ]

Hello.I am currently suffering "deer in the headlights syndrome" Have about 30% of my portfolio in cash and am looking for the right time to start nibbling in. How does one overcome this fear?

[Comment From Gail]

Behavioural finance is a growing discipline. Start by not looking at the stock market every hour or every day. Get back to basics - you need an investment plan and you should stick to it.

[Comment From Brendan ]

Hello Gail... I'm mid 20s and doing very well saving - socking away 40% of my salary in RRSP, however I realize I can be a bit riskier with my investments as I'm still young... I decided to open an online account and play around with 10K in savings in my online TFSA... would there be a good ETF you would recommend that might be a bit riskier, but would have a good upside?

[Comment From Gail]

That's a tough question to answer....

[Comment From Gail]

It depends on your goals. I think you should start with edcuting yourself about risk and then tyr to choose. How much are you really willing to lose? 20%, 30% 50%? then, choose an ETF from there. I would stick with Canadian ETF providers to start - iShares, BMO, Horizons and Claymore are the established players.

[Comment From TAMMY ]

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