When you buy a share, you own a small unit of a public company. So, if you buy a share in Apple, for example, you become a part-owner of Apple. If it performs well, you'll benefit from its success. If it doesn't perform well, you may lose some money. Companies issue shares to raise money to fund their activities. People invest in shares to benefit from the successes of companies they believe in. You may also come across the word, stock or equity. In most situations, stocks, equities and shares refer to the same thing. Stocks could also mean all your shares in one or more companies.
When it comes to investing, there are no guarantees. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Your investments can go down and up in value, so you could get back less than you put in. It is generally recommended that you hang on to your investments for at least five years, to give your investments the best chance of providing the returns you’re hoping for. Even if you wait five years, you might still get back less than you put in. It would help if you were comfortable with this before you begin.
Yes. You enjoy tax benefits when you hold your investments in an ISA or pension. This tax year (2020 - 21), you can invest up to £20,000 in a Stocks & Shares ISA tax-free. If you choose to invest in a general investment account (non-ISA), you are allowed to make £12,300 of gains tax-free. Additionally, the first £2,000 you receive in dividend is tax-free. Read our Stocks and Shares ISA Guide for more information.
We've put together a list of share-dealing platforms that score high on affordability, service quality or both. We've listed only five platforms here, but there are quite a number of them out there. For all providers listed here, your money is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means you could get your money back up to £85,000 if any of the companies goes bust.
View full price comparison table here.
We are not regulated to give you financial advice, so we kindly ask that you not take the information on our website, online community or social media pages as advice. If you think you will need someone qualified to help you make financial decisions such as what to invest in, we strongly recommend you seek advice from a suitably qualified financial adviser. There are a few websites where you can find advisers. Have a look at Unbiased or VouchedFor.