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(I'm like the guy asking that question "Shares; are they really only for the rich/investors?":)

I would like to invest £50 (or $50) here and there from time to time. (I choose the companies I like.) I don't want to get involved in trading chasing immediate profit.

Where do I go to do this? To a bank? To the company?

Can I do this online?

Can the company I'm investing to be abroad?

Will I be subject to some fees I must care about after I buy a stock?

(Now I'm in Russia, that's the country I'm primarily interested about, but I'm also interested in answers about the U.K., the Netherlands, Germany and U.S.)

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    I'm sorry that I mislead some people by using the pound sign initially in the question. I don't want to ask specifically about the U.K., I want to to collect a broad range of information about different countries. (Now I'm in Russia, but I may move soon to another country.) – imz -- Ivan Zakharyaschev Jan 30 '11 at 17:08
  • On my motiviation for investing: not only to become richer and richer. I'd prefer to devote myself to scientific research, but I also feel an urge to make the practical world better. But I see I can't run a practical business myself and do scientific research because this would require 2 lifes. So I could at least invest in companies who do technical innovations, and in a sense delegate the practical work that I feel an urge for to the IT or other kind of interesting companies. – imz -- Ivan Zakharyaschev Jan 30 '11 at 17:33
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    Where you are investing from (i.e. your country) is a salient point to address when you include "Where can I go to do this?" in your question. More often than not you'll need to invest through a broker in your country. That is why I inferred U.K. (sorry!) from the currency, but if it's Russia instead, I strongly suggest you state so in your question & tag accordingly. Otherwise, this question will be all over the map (literally) and useful to nobody in particular. We prefer specific questions, not overly broad ones. – Chris W. Rea Jan 30 '11 at 17:44
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I don't want to get involved in trading chasing immediate profit

That is the best part. There is an answer in the other question, where a guy only invested in small amounts and had a big sum by the time he retired. There is good logic in the answer. If you put in lump sum in a single stroke you will get at a single price. But if you distribute it over a time, you will get opportunities to buy at favorable prices, because that is an inherent behavior of stocks. They inherently go up and down, don't remain stable.

Stock markets are for everybody rich or poor as long as you have money, doesn't matter in millions or hundreds, to invest and you select stocks with proper research and with a long term view. Investment should always start in small amounts before you graduate to investing in bigger amounts. Gives you ample time to learn.

Where do I go to do this ? To a bank ? To the company, most probably a brokerage firm.

Any place to your liking. Check how much they charge for brokerage, annual charges and what all services they provide. Compare them online on what services you require, not what they provide ? Ask friends and colleagues and get their opinions. It is better to get firsthand knowledge about the products.

Can the company I'm investing to be abroad?

At the moment stay away from it, unless you are sure about it because you are starting. Can try buying ADRs, like in US. This is an option in UK. But they come with inherent risk. How much do you know about the country where the company does its business ?

Will I be subject to some fees I must care about after I buy a stock?

Yes, capital gains tax will be levied and stamp duties and all.

  • Re "abroad": If I'm now in Russia, and I'm interested in IT companies' stocks, say, Nokia, which is in Norway. Are there any obstackles to buying Nokia's stocks? Even if I move from Russia, say, to the U.K., again the question remains valid. I'm not asking about the specifics of Russia or whatever country, I'll be able to find out the local info myself; but is it generally more difficult to buy stocks of foreign companies? – imz -- Ivan Zakharyaschev Jan 30 '11 at 17:18
  • Thank you for the answer, it's encouraging (stocks are not only for the very rich)! – imz -- Ivan Zakharyaschev Jan 30 '11 at 17:19
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    is it generally more difficult to buy stocks of foreign companies The answer is probably no, but the inherent risk is more. If they don't trade/listed in your country, they aren't bound by your country's laws. If something happens, who would try to save your money. Either yourself or you have to depend on some third party to recover it. Too much hassles are involved in these sort of procedures. And trading in foreign markets are costlier than trading in your own country markets. And you aren't sure when the other country markets may crash/government may fall etc. – DumbCoder Jan 30 '11 at 20:17
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I'd look into ShareBuilder. You can buy stocks for as low as $2 each, and there is no minimum funding level.

You have to be carefull about selling though, as they will charge you $10 each time you want to sell a stock, regardless of how much of it you want to sell.

  • Is there a canadian equivalent to Sharebuilder? – blueberryfields Feb 1 '11 at 15:51
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    @blueberryfields: Perhaps you'll get more good answers if you post it as a full-blown question. – imz -- Ivan Zakharyaschev Feb 1 '11 at 16:33
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    With $50 invested and costs of $10+$2 to earn a single dollar the stock has to rise by 26%. Unless you make a very good pick a savings account is likely to produce more revenue. This might be different with a stock savings plan if you can increase your invest over time see other answers) – johannes Dec 21 '15 at 14:49
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There's a few options you may want to look into. First, I'm writing from an US point of view, I do not know if these are available in Russia. First look into DRIPS (Dividend Reinvestment Plans). These seem tailor made for your request. They are plans set up by companies that pay dividends. If you own at least one share (costing no more than say $100 often less), then these companies will take the dividends paid on these shares and automatically buy more shares as the income from the dividends pile up. This is a low cost of entry way of getting in on many high quality stocks. Stalwart stocks such as GE and many utility and real estate stocks (REITs) offer this. Check out these links:

Secondly you can look at brokerages that specialize in buying smaller amount of stocks on a regular basis to simulate a DRIP, ShareBuilder will allow you to invest say $50 or $100 a month into one or more stocks. However, at smaller amounts, their commission fees can eat in to your returns.

Folio investing does the same thing as Sharebuilder. It's worth looking at them both and comparing their commissions and other features

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Your question has 2 components: a trading platform, and a strategy.

Online trading platforms are everywhere and a Google search will turn up lots and lots of them. I'm in Canada and I use www.questrade.com. Trades are $4.95 minimum, changing to $0.01/stock in quantity. Banks can offer online trading platforms, some of which offer reduced fees if you maintain a a minimum balance.

Now for the strategy part. I like simple strategies that work. The Globe and Mail yesterday ran an article on the strategy "Buy the Dog" with respect to Canadian Banking stocks. In January, get the price charts for last year for each of the Big Banks. Determine the one with the lowest price in December and buy it. Next year sell, perform the same analysis, and Buy the Dog again. The annual performance laggard is great at coming out at the top dog next year. This strategy works 60% of the time, and returns 20% annually (price + dividends) over the past 10 years. You can perform this type of analysis from any market analysis tool for any country.

By this method you can sock away cash into a trading account and make only 2 trades/year leaving you with profit and free time. If you want to try and time the market, wait until the news outlets announce the latest market crash and move your money into the dog at that time. Market corrections typically occur every 10 months according to Tony Robbins' book, "Unshakeable".

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Use robinhood, it's completely free

https://www.robinhood.com/

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