Ready for digital investing? These 2 tools are your gateway

For those interested in upping their investing game, the digital world offers new opportunities to grow wealth — some of which can be relatively quick, easy and even at a lower cost than traditional methods.

But investing online can still seem intimidating. The key is finding the right tool for the right person.

Who should make use of new automated investments?

Automated investment services tend to have strategies that adjust and optimize so that they’re better suited for most investors. This can be a good way to dip your toes into the investment waters.

It’s a fairly new concept and relatively popular with younger generations,” says Justin McMahon, Wealth Advisor with ACU and Credential Asset Management Inc.

Justin McMahon, Wealth Advisor

Yet despite age, digital investing appeals to anyone who wants to manage their own investment portfolio, their own way.While some investment models are entirely automated, others still offer access to human advisors along with a high level of customer service to assist new investors through the process.

Online investment platforms provide easy access to professional asset management, but with autonomy, control and — perhaps most importantly — lower fees. Anyonecan start investing with just $2,000, and those new to digital investing can save toward making an investment with a pre-authorized contribution (PAC) for as little as $25 per paycheque.

Starting at the right comfort level, you can then grow your financial skills — and your wealth. For members interested in digital investing, ACU has partnered with Aviso Wealth who offers a couple of good options:

  1. Assisted digital investing: For those with little time or knowledge of the markets
  2. Self-directed digital investing: For those with some knowledge of financial markets

1. Assisted digital investing: What is VirtualWealth®?

If you don’t have much knowledge of financial markets, VirtualWealth® is designed for you.This may also be the perfect platform to get started if you don’t have the time (or inclination) to research stock trades and meet up with a financial advisor.

As part of Aviso Wealth, VirtualWealth is a fully automated service that offers a range of professionally managed portfolios with high-quality investments. What’s more, those investments are diversified across geographies, sectors and industries, including responsible investing (RI) options. For new or seasoned investors, there are many options to fit your risk tolerance, personal ideals and strategic preferences.

This ‘bridges the gap’ between self-directed digital investing options and going the traditional route with a financial advisor, according to Justin.

You don’t need to stay on top of the markets,” he says. “But VirtualWealth has goal tracking tools, so it grows your wealth while you get on with your life. You set it and forget it.”

It’s easy to set up an account. After answering a series of questions, you’ll be matched with the appropriate portfolio. A team of experts then provides continuous oversight and regular rebalancing directly in the platform.

Core portfolios — from low-risk to high-risk and everything in between — track the performance of Canadian, U.S. and global stocks and bonds. Online investors also have the option of RI portfolios, which incorporate an analysis of a company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance into the investment decision-making process, helping to make a positive impact beyond the financial return.

2. Self-directed digital investing: What is Qtrade Investor?

On the other hand, if you’re fairly comfortable with investing and are looking to try your hand at managing your own online portfolio, you may want to take a slightly different approach.

ACU has partnered with Qtrade Investor, which offers quick, easy access to investing resources for those with some knowledge of the markets. As one of Canada’s top-ranked online brokerages, Qtrade has been recognized for its fund performance and management quality with awards from Morningstar and Fundata Canada.

With Qtrade, online investors have a range of options to choose from, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, GICs and options, plus new issues/IPOs — all with low trading commissions. Stock trades cost $8.75, regardless of account value, or $6.95 for more active traders. Online investors also receive 100 free ETFs and can trade mutual funds commission-free.

Qtrade has powerful tools, outstanding options and outstanding service,” Justin explains, adding that Qtrade provides all the essentials, plus plenty of extras so you get access to valuable information to inform your investing decisions. This includes real-time quotes, analysts’ recommendations, market news, investment screening tools, model portfolios and technical data. There are even tools to help online investors set goals and evaluate investing ideas.

Is Qtrade for you?

It really depends on the person,” Justin answers. “It’s ideal for individuals who have the time and knowledge to take control of their own investing.” Qtrade doesn’t provide investment advice, but knowledgeable investment representatives are ready to help open a new account, transfer funds or place a trade.

Easy access with digital investing

To make your investing a snap, these online accounts are also easy to set up and can be managed on the go. Account holders can login whenever it’s convenient, 24 hours a day.

With Qtrade Mobile for iPhone and Android, for example, it’s possible to invest, monitor portfolio positions and access market information from a smartphone. VirtualWealth also has mobile apps for tracking investments.

And the different options allow you to get started quickly — then develop your skills and comfort with the investment world. “With VirtualWealth, you could have zero financial knowledge and still start creating wealth,” Justin continues, describing how you can move to the platform when ready. “Qtrade is for individuals who have more than basic knowledge — you’re your own financial advisor.”

In the end, there’s no cookie-cutter approach to investing, and you may want to use both Qtrade and VirtualWealth, while still working with a financial advisor. “The majority of people aren’t going to roll the dice on their pension,” as Justin explains, “so you could work with a financial advisor and start trying out online platforms on the side.”

Help us re-tree Winnipeg after the devastating October, 2019 storm.

With every contribution to a wealth product in 2020, ACU will donate $25 towards planting new trees in Winnipeg, up to a maximum of $15,000.

To find out how Qtrade Investor and VirtualWealth can help you reach your financial goals, talk to an ACU financial advisor today.

VirtualWealth is a trade name of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Online brokerage services are offered through Qtrade Investor, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. Mutual funds are offered through Credential Asset Management Inc.

About Vawn Himmelsbach

Vawn Himmelsbach is a freelance writer and editor. She has covered technology and travel for 15 years, for media outlets such as, The Globe & Mail, Metro News, ITBusiness, PCworld Canada and Computerworld Canada. She also spent three years living abroad and working as an Asian correspondent.

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