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So, you would like to start investing or trading, but you've no idea where to begin?

Well, great news. You are in the right place. We’ll aim to give you the confidence to take your investments into your own hands, saving you hundreds of pounds in the process. The best news? You’re already here, and motivated to start. So let’s get to it.

We've got 3 simple steps for you to follow

Read on and we’ll take you through each step

#1. Discover the markets

The financial markets can differ widely in terms of risk and volatility. Read on to find out how they tick and what will work best alongside your investment objectives

#2. Find your product

Your choice of financial product will depend partly on where you live, your level of experience and the amount you wish to risk. Read on to find out what is available.

#3. Choose your broker

Choosing a broker to suit your needs is crucial to your financial success. Read on to find out how to access in-depth reviews and opinion on a range of high quality, regulated brokers

"You have to be the owner of capital, you have to ensure the money works for you and nobody else."Crispin Odey

Discover the markets

The financial markets fall into five areas, Stocks and Shares, Indices, CurrenciesCommodities and Property. Whether you decide on a long term diversified investing plan in an ISA or SIPP or a short term trading strategy, the underlying markets you have access to will remain the same.

Some markets, like Indices and Stocks and Shares lend themselves to longer term strategies where growth and dividends may offer substantial returns over a period of 5 years or more while other markets like Commodities and Currencies offer greater volatility and opportunities for intra-day or weekly trading.

Learn about the markets that interest you.
Identify underlying economic factors that present opportunities for growth over the long term. Take a look at our Insight and Analysis section for ideas
Look for trends and find out what kind of events trigger price movements for short-term trading
Diversifying your investments across a range of geographical locations will help reduce your risk. Committing your money to a small number of investments increases the chances of losing a larger proportion of it over a short period of time
While history suggests the financial markets tend to outperform interest rates over any given ten year period, you must be prepared for the value of your investments to go down as well us up

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"Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing." Warren Buffett

Find your product

UK investors have a choice of products to gain access to their chosen markets. The product(s) you choose will depend on the markets you are interested in and your attitude to risk.

As a first port of call, many investors choose an stocks and shares isa or SIPP through a Stockbroker where they can choose from a range of Stocks and Shares, Exchange Traded Funds and Managed Funds.

For those interested in short term strategies, a Spread Betting, Contracts for difference or Forex account will provide access to many of the same markets but with stakes magnified to enable larger profits (or losses) to be generated  over a short period of time.

All of the products we highlight on The Armchair Trader carry a degree of risk. Make sure you are aware of the risks before you start investing.
Costs can vary from one product to another. Stocks and Shares tend to be charged on a transaction basis while Exchange Traded Funds and Managed Funds charge an ongoing fee. Spread Betting, Contracts for difference and Forex are commission based.
Spread Betting, Contracts for difference and Forex are all margined products. Make sure you understand how this magnifies your exposure to risk. We’ll take you through this in detail in our product guides

We'll help you find out which product(s) are best suited to you

Answer six simple questions and our risk analysis tool will match the products to your appetite for risk

"I'm only rich because I know when I'm wrong." George Soros

Choose your broker

Choosing the right broker is an essential part of any successful investment strategy. Having the right tools available to research and analyse your decisions is an important component.

Your broker will need to provide access to the markets you wish to trade. Fees should be competitive and not erode any profits unnecessarily. If you would like access to your investments on the move, is there an iOS or Android app for you to download?

Most importantly, your broker should be authorised and regulated by an internationally renowned regulatory body. This will ensure that your money is secure and your broker is maintaining high standards in its operations.

Ensure your preferred broker provides access to your chosen markets
Compare fees, including how much you would be charged per transaction and any annual administration and custody fees that might apply
Does the technology provide you with access to your account at the times you’ll need it? Check for mobile compatibility if this is something you will need
What kind of education support does the broker offer?
Is there an opportunity to test out the platform of your preferred broker before you commit funds? Vital for margined products like Spread Betting, Contracts for difference and Forex
Make sure your preferred broker is authorised and regulated by a world renowned regulatory body like the Financial Conduct Authority or FCA in the UK

Choose your broker

Once you have worked out which markets you would like to access and the products you wish to use, take a look at our broker comparison tables which feature a great range of FCA regulated providers

Thanks to our Partners

Our partners are established, regulated businesses and we are grateful for their support.

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