How to buy shares

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Shares, or equities, as they're sometimes known, can offer a good return on your money. Done right and you can earn a regular income from the dividends (the sum of money paid regularly, typically annually, by a company to their shareholders).

You can also make some money from selling the shares – assuming, that is, that they're worth more than when you bought them - but there's no guarantee of this.

Shares are a long-term investment and most experts recommend that you keep them for a minimum of about five years to take into account the cost of buying and selling them as well as smoothing out any rises and falls in their value.

If you haven't bought shares before then you'll have to decide whether to own the individual shares yourself or whether to keep them along with shares owned by others as part of a fund. This is a safer option as it spreads your risk rather than putting all your eggs in one basket.

Buying shares through an ISA

An Individual Saving Account (ISA) allows you to earn a tax-free return on your investment up to £20,000.

Most banks and building societies have stocks and shares ISAs. Most will offer you the option to pick your own investments, or if you're more comfortable leaving it up to the experts then you can choose a ready-made portfolio.

Through an online platform

These internet-based services will enable you to choose which funds to invest in. You can then buy these funds through the platform, hold them and monitor their performance. When you're ready you can also sell your shares through them.

It's important to consider the fees that you'll be paying. Most platforms will charge you an administration fee, usually a percentage of your total investment.

Neyber offer a service like this, which gives you the chance to invest in a stocks and shares ISA through our partner Smarterly. You can find out more about this here. You can choose from ready-made portfolios or configure your own based on what level of risk you'd like to take.

Through a stockbroker

This is the traditional route and it still has the advantage that you can call on the advice of an expert. There are usually different tiers to a stockbrokers service, depending on how much you're willing to invest and how much you're willing to pay in fees.

At the top end of the market is the discretionary service (paying an investment manager to decide how to spread your money for you).

Here you'll get more detailed, personalised advice but you normally need a lot of cash to invest to make it financially worthwhile for a stockbroker. They will typically charge you 1 to 1.5% of your portfolio value for this service.

The next tier down is advisory (you'll have full control but with access to experts and their informed opinions), which means that you'll get support but if you want specific advice then you'll have to pay an extra fee for it.

Finally, with execution only, as the name suggests, your stockbroker will simply do whatever you ask them to. This is a cheaper option but you'll need to feel comfortable with your level of knowledge and risk.

Like any form of investment - shares bring risks. If you're interested in buying shares you can always start with a dummy portfolio – pick your shares and imagine that you've invested your money in them. You can then follow them to see how your pretend investment performs before you decide whether to take the plunge and enter the world of share ownership for real.