How to Actually Start Investing—Without Leaving Your House

This post is sponsored by RBC InvestEase Inc. All views and opinions expressed represent my own and are based on my own research of the subject matter.

I am all about making investing more accessible for everyone.

I’ll never forget how intimidated I was, or how much courage it took, when I sat down across from someone and said “I’m ready to invest my money!”

I’ll also never forget how they told me I didn’t have enough money to invest, and how at the time, I had no idea there were other alternatives and options available to me.

I mean, OK, that’s not even true, because I did know about other options—just not how to implement them. I had been reading about how to use ETFs to build a low-cost portfolio for years at that point. As informed as I was about what I should have been doing, I still found it tough to put it into action.

So any advancement that makes investing easier and more accessible is always going to be a win in my book. That’s why I’m so excited to share that RBC InvestEase is now available as a pilot program in Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

What is RBC InvestEase?

RBC InvestEase is a new digital investing option that makes investing easy for you. It delivers automated investment advice and ongoing portfolio management—at a low cost. Experts at RBC InvestEase do all the work of researching, buying, and selling the right investments for you based on a questionnaire you fill out when you open the account. Speaking of accounts, you can use RBC InvestEase with a TFSA, RRSP, or non-registered account.

How can you get started?

Unlike my first experience investing, there’s no need to go and sit with anyone in person to start investing with RBC InvestEase—you can sign up from the comfort of your couch. All you have to do is answer a few questions online, and you’ll get an instant portfolio recommendation based on your answers. From there, it’s as easy as adding funds to your new account, which you can do from any Canadian savings, chequing or investment account.

RBC InvestEase does have an account minimum, so you’ll need $1000 to start using the service, and the pilot is available to people in Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan.

How much does it cost?

I’m a big fan of always asking about how much financial products cost, and it’s something I strongly advocate for especially when it comes to investing. RBC InvestEase charges a 0.5% management fee on their portfolios (although if you sign up by March 31, 2019, they’ll waive that fee until October 31st, 2019).

With RBC InvestEase, you’ll also pay the underlying management expense ratio—an additional percentage-based fee—for each investment in your portfolio, but the portfolios are built using low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs). That means that most of the time, the management expense ratio of each ETF will be a fraction of a percent, and your total cost to use the service will be range from 0.6% to 0.67% of your total investments. You can check out all of the details, including prices, of the ETFs used in the RBC InvestEase portfolios right here.

Quick sidebar: How do management fees work? You’ll often hear talk about management fees when it comes to investing. It’s posted as a percentage, because a management fee represents the percentage of your portfolio that you’ll be charged for the investment service each year.

How should I use RBC InvestEase?

As with any investing, it’s important to make sure that you’re investing in a way that makes sense for you. Before you decide to try it out, there’s one key guideline for whether you should even be investing your money.

Do you need the money in the next year or two? If you answered yes, it might be safest to keep it in cash in a savings account, because any investment comes with at least some risk.

If you’re not going to need the money in the next year or two, you can look at which type of account makes the most sense for your investments—an RRSP, a TFSA, or a non-registered account—and open the account. From there, RBC InvestEase’s questionnaire will help you determine the right mix of investments to suit your goals, and they have real people available to help advise you and answer your questions.

That step is important, especially if you’re unsure or nervous about investing for the first time. Asking questions, and understanding why your portfolio is being chosen—and how it lines up with your goals for the account—is one of the best ways to weather the inevitable fluctuations that can happen in the normal course of investing.

Investing should be accessible

Before investing, it’s important to understand the basics—but once you do, the “how do I actually implement them” question should be an easy one to answer. RBC InvestEase is a great tool that does exactly that, giving you easy access to a hands-off, low-cost, optimized portfolio managed by experts.