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How to begin investing

Some things are hard to start. Old cars, or tax returns, for example. But it might not be as hard to start investing as you think.

And you may not need as much money as you’d think either. If you’ve got your finances in shape and your head around the basics of investing, this guide tells you how to get started.

How much do you need to get started?

The short answer is not much. If you bank with HSBC[@hsbc-definition], there’s no minimum to open a brokerage account, and you can begin investing in certain products with as little as you feel comfortable with.

While that’s a nice gentle way to begin, you may want to invest more depending on your risk tolerance. The more you contribute to your investment, the higher the potential earnings will be in the long run.

The longer you invest, the more time your money has to potentially grow and recover from any losses due to market fluctuations. But there are no guarantees.

The value of your investment could fall as well as rise, which means you could get back less than you invest.

Can you access your money if you need to?

Life doesn’t always go to plan. We get that. If you need to access your money quickly, then depending on the type of investment you may be able to sell your investments and the cash will be available within several days. However, it is important to be aware that while you may be able to gain access to your money, there may be potential tax implications for such sales.

Before you invest, we recommend having an emergency cash fund available to cover 3 to 6 months’ worth of expenses.

An emergency fund can give you peace of mind that if any unexpected costs occurred you’d have money available, without needing to dip into your investments.

How do you choose what to invest in?

As we covered in Investing for beginners, there’s no shortage of possibilities. But there’s also no need to feel overwhelmed – the hard work is done for you.

For example, based on how long you plan to leave your money invested and how much risk you’re willing to take, you could choose a mutual fund that offers a ready-made portfolio of investments to get started. That way, your money would be invested in a wide range of assets – including stocks and bonds – and be managed on your behalf by the fund company.

And if you’re still unsure how much risk is too much, you can work with one of our Wealth Relationship Managers to explore investment solutions.

Are you clear on the costs?

There will be costs involved whichever way you decide to invest.

Some investments, such as stocks and Exchange Traded Funds, will charge a commission on each transaction. Mutual funds may charge a fee when you buy or sell your investment. And our investment advisory solutions charge an annual advisory fee based on the amount you invest.

Some of these solutions may also be subject to ongoing charges from the investment manager to cover their costs, known as an expense ratio.

Offering Documents are available for most products and outline the costs associated with a particular investment. You should read them carefully before investing as fees will impact your overall returns.

Fees will vary for self-directed trading – see the HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. Commission and Fee Schedulefor specific charges. 

How do you actually start investing?

With HSBC, it’s simple – you need to be an HSBC Premier client and at least 18 years old.

Then you can explore our range of investment products that could help you achieve your financial goals.

If you’re unsure what level of risk is right for you, consider getting personalized advice. Speak with an HSBC Wealth Relationship Manager and they will recommend an investment product that is in your best interest and suits your needs.

Takeaway tips

  1. Save an emergency fund of 3 to 6 months’ worth of living costs before you invest
  2. Be prepared to invest for the long term
  3. Consider starting small and setting up regular contributions
  4. Consider getting advice to help you decide what’s right for you.

Explore more

Find out what the differences are between savings and investments, and how they can help you grow your money.
Explore the risks and potential rewards you might want to consider before investing.
This simple guide to investing offers insights into some different investment solutions.
Additional information


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