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For Seniors: Do Your Investing Online

You can perform online investing through most major brokers. Investing online is convenient, and online brokers enable you to place buy or sell orders very quickly and inexpensively. In addition, you can manage investment accounts online.

Before you do any investing online, you should educate yourself on what's involved.

  • Understand the fees. Online brokerage fees are typically lower than working with a full-service broker. However, online broker fees can vary widely. Shop around for a broker you trust with reasonable fees.

  • Buyer beware. Though online banking is protected by most federal governments — including that of the United States — online investment accounts don’t always share similar protections, depending on what country you live in. Consider asking your investment counselor for advice about how protections work in your country.

  • Handle various types of investments. Beyond buying and selling stocks online, you can invest in bonds, deposit to your IRA or other retirement accounts, and more. Companies such as Fidelity give you lots of investment choices.

  • Retain offline access to your account. Remember that one downside to online investing is that if your laptop connection is down or your broker’s server is down, you can’t get to your online brokerage to invest. Keep a phone number handy so you can reach your broker by an alternative method in the case of technical glitches.

  • Check what others have to say. Visit sites such as The Motley Fool for articles and advice on investing.

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