Invest online and make your life easier. Here’s how.

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There's a lot of chatter on digital solutions making life much easier for us today. Paying for purchases has become more efficient, keeping in touch with each other has gotten easier, and even areas like education and healthcare access have benefited a great deal from digital and online solutions.

Investing is no different.

Gone are the days when investing in the stock market or in real estate involved cumbersome in-person visits, tedious paperwork, and a lot of time set aside just to get your investment in order. Today, everything is only a few clicks away.

In short, investing online has made life a whole lot easier. Want to know more about the many simple ways in which you can invest online? Or the assets that support online investments? Check out all the details below.

Easy ways to invest online

To invest online, you don't really need much. With just a couple of things, you're generally good to do. Here's what you'll need to get started.

  • A stable internet connection
  • A device connected to the internet

Simple, right? You can invest in a wide range of assets with any of the following devices.

  • Your personal computer:

    You can generally invest online through your laptop or your desktop. To do this, you'll need to visit the website of the bank or the financial institution that offers investment opportunities in the asset of your choice.

  • Your smartphone:

    Today, there are also many apps that have been developed to make online investments much easier and quicker. If there's an app available to help you invest in the asset of your choice, you can simply download it on your smartphone and get started.

Where do you go to make your online investments?

Okay. So, you know what devices you need to invest online. But where do you go to make your investments? As it turns out, there are quite a few options available to you. Check them out here.

  • The website of the asset-issuing body

    For most assets, you can simply head to the website of the entity that issues the asset or runs the investment scheme, and make your investments through their portal. For instance, if you want to invest in the National Pension Scheme, you can head to the NPS website to become a subscriber.

  • Aggregator marketplaces

    There are also many aggregator websites or apps that can help you invest in the scheme or asset of your choice. For example, there are marketplaces that aggregate FDs, insurance policies and even mutual funds. The upside to this alternative is that you can compare your options before making your investment online.

  • Third-party apps or websites

    There are also third-party sites or apps that help you invest in certain assets. Take equity, for instance. You can invest in the equity market through stockbrokers' apps or web portals. There are also third-party websites to help you invest in real estate, gold, and other assets/schemes.

What can you invest in online?

You can invest in a wide range of options online. No matter what your risk tolerance may be, you'll find some alternatives that fit right into your investment portfolio. Here's a preview of some of the most popular online investments.

  • Equity stocks
    You can invest in stocks via the many apps and web trading platforms built by various stockbrokers in the market today. You just need a demat account and a trading account to get started.

  • Mutual funds
    Mutual funds pool together investor funds and invest them in different asset classes like equity, debt, money market instruments and more. You can invest in mutual funds online through the websites of the respective mutual fund houses.

  • Index funds
    Index funds are essentially mutual funds that track the price movements of market indices like NIFTY 50 or BSE Sensex. And just like how you can invest in mutual funds online, you can also add index funds to your portfolio with just a few clicks.

  • Bonds
    Bonds are ideal for conservative investors. Earlier, the process of investing in these debt instruments was cumbersome and paper-intensive. Now, however, you can add to the debt component of your portfolio easily through online solutions.

  • Insurance
    Insurance not only gives you a life cover, but also helps you save for your long-term life goals or invest in various market-linked assets to aid in wealth creation. There are different types of insurance plans available today, ranging from term insurance to ULIPs and retirement plans.

    Today, you can easily buy insurance through the website of insurance providers, thanks to the digital revolution in the insurance sector. And it's not just the purchase process that has made the transition. Now, policy issuance, policy servicing, claim raising and claim settlement - all of this happens online.

  • Real estate
    REITs or Real Estate Investment Trusts have made it easier to invest in real estate digitally. You can even invest small amounts in regular instalments - and that's something that physical real estate does not really support.

  • Fixed deposits
    With most banks now offering digital and easy online services, it's possible to open a fixed deposit online, from the comfort of your home itself. You can even submit the KYC documents online and get your account opened without any hassle.

Things to keep in mind when you invest through online channels

You now know what your options are. But before you go ahead and invest in any asset or scheme online, there are some things that you need to be aware of, or consider. Here's a quick guide to help you with this.

  • Compare service providers
    If there's more than one portal or app that allows you to invest in the asset/scheme you're considering, make sure you compare your options and choose the most user-friendly service provider.

  • Be aware of your budget
    Just like your offline investments, your online investments also need to adhere to a budget. That way, you can plan your finances easily and ensure that you don't invest beyond your means.

  • Keep one eye on your goals
    Investments work best when they are in line with your goals. So, ensure that the investment you choose through online channels are capable of helping you achieve your goals.

  • Look out for any hidden charges
    Online investment channels come with their own fees and charges. Make sure you are well aware of the exact costs before you make your investments.

  • Safeguard your passwords
    Your login credentials are extremely important. Keep them safe, and do not share them with anyone. It's best if you use a strong password and enhance that with another layer of protection like an OTP requirement or a two-factor authentication, if available.

So, that sums up the fundamentals of investing online. All things considered, online investments are easier, faster, more cost-efficient and more user-friendly. Before you make your next investment online, check if there's an online alternative and take that route to make life easier!

Read next: YEARLY INVESTMENT REVIEW: A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

Online investing isn't a one-time exercise. You need to constantly go back and review your investments at periodic intervals. Our blog on yearly investment reviews can help you with this.

Read it here

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