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How a rookie investor got started in the stock market

Alex Parent, 28, always wanted to invest in stocks but was too “scared” of the volatility and possibility of losing money.

Alex Parent

Occupation

Youth and child worker

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The portfolio

Includes shares in Shopify Inc., Cascades Inc., B2Gold Corp. and Apple Inc.

The investor

Alex Parent, 28, always wanted to invest in stocks but was too "scared" of the volatility and possibility of losing money. Then an investor friend managed to allay his fears, and helped him get going. "I was shocked how easy it was," Mr. Parent says.

How he invests

"Before starting with real money, I went with a stock-market simulator," he says. As his comfort level grew, he went to a bank and put money into a real account with its online discount brokerage.

His only caution is that the bank "will try to pressure you into getting a financial adviser." Mr. Parent is happy to invest on his own because he can get the information he needs online.

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He is discovering that it's better to buy and hold stocks such as Shopify Inc., rather than trade in and out of them.

His portfolio is earning 5 per cent to 15 per cent a month, he says.

True, the economy and stocks can go down a lot, too. But studies show if you stay invested and ride out the downturns (or even buy more stocks), you'll come out ahead in the long run.

Best move

The price of his Shopify stock has gone up more than 75 per cent since he bought in early February.

Worst move

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He got a scare when he bought a security and sold it within a day or two. As it takes three days for a transaction to settle in a brokerage account, he didn't put up any capital for the stock purchase. This kind of "free-riding" can result in a cash account being frozen.

Advice

"For my generation, having a stable job with a pension plan is very hard," Mr. Parent adds. "I personally think that the stock market is a way out of this frustrating problem."

Want to be in Me and My Money? Contact Larry MacDonald at mccolumn@yahoo.com

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