While everyone loves getting free stuff it is also smart to try out a product or service in a trial setting, particularly when there is a risk involved in losing and you are someone who is learning the ropes. Given their potential high-risk nature, the saying really couldn’t be truer for the two activities below:
With the BoC base rate at a historically low rate of 1 percent and no sign that it will rise in the short term bank savings accounts give ordinary investors little to get excited about. Even though inflation has come down in recent months, the chances are that the money you hold in a savings account is actually losing its value year on year. One alternative is of course online share trading, perhaps through an ISA or your local stockbroker.
Picking stocks can be a minefield for the uninitiated. Values go up and down and the array of options to choose from is bewildering. Are you investing for growth or income? Do you want access to international shares or just the Canadian market? It is enough to scare anyone off taking a crack at the whole world of online share trading. But, there is a way you can dip your toe in the water. Some online trading platforms, like Selftrade, offer virtual accounts where you can play around with different types of shares and see how your portfolio does in the real market but without actually risking any money. It is a great way of trying out your investment system in a safe environment before you are ready to invest for real. Virtually investing like this is free and can allow you to make your mistakes upfront, hopefully avoiding some of the more costly beginner’s errors.
As a word of caution, when you are ready to start investing, look into the fees your provider will be charging. Fees are one of the biggest drains on your investment fund and can hobble it if you aren’t careful. For further information on this can be found here.
Gambling (online poker)
There are thousands of sites for budding card players to choose from and plenty of different ways to lose your money, as well as different forms of gambling such as online slot games. Online poker play is quite different from the real life version. For one thing it is played at a much higher speed than real life poker and it is common to see several thousand hands an hour being played. Other players can also often see each other’s stats so new fish can be at a disadvantage. Even if you are a pretty good player you will be at a disadvantage when you first start playing online. Fortunately there are sites where you can try playing for free before putting up a stake. Do you play aggressively and aim to scare other players into folding? Or do you play it more cagey and suss out other players’ strategy before raising the stakes? For players starting off there are sites available where you can test your strategy before putting skin in the game. Learn how the format works and play a few hands before buying your chips.