Whether you're a new investor or an experienced trader, knowledge is the key to confidence. We're here to help.

Our Thoughts on the Market podcast delivers thoughtful analysis on the events that shape the market. All brought to you by a variety of voices within Morgan Stanley.

What is diversification and asset allocation?

Every investor should begin with these two key ideas.

Diversification can be summed up with the familiar phrase: "Don't put all your eggs in one basket." Including different types of investments in your portfolio may help reduce your losses if one type—stocks, for example—take a hit when other investments like bonds remain steady or go up.

Investors achieve diversification through a process called asset allocation, which simply means figuring out how your funds will be spread among different types of investments, such as stocks, bonds, and cash. Diversification may reduce risk, but investors also want to earn a return, and so they need to strike a balance between risk and reward. Lower risk investments carry less chance of a loss but typically provide lower returns. Investors seeking higher returns typically must take on greater risk.

The key to choosing how conservative or aggressive you should be is to gauge your risk tolerance, next up...

Understanding your risk tolerance

This tool illustrates the tradeoff between risk and reward that lies at the heart of investing.
Pay close attention to the "Worst 12 months" figure in the lower right. Would you be comfortable if your investments lost that much in a year? Would you change your investments or stay the course?

Select your investment style:
Asset Class
Large Cap Blend
Large Cap Value
Small-Mid Cap Blend
International Equity
Fixed Income
Historical 20 year returns
Best 12 months (2001-2020)
Worst 12 months (2001-2020)
Average 12 months (2001-2020)
This is what investment advisers mean by risk tolerance: it's about how much risk is appropriate and comfortable for you. Keep in mind, your risk tolerance will likely change over time as your age, life circumstances, and financial situation change.

Are you a do-it-yourselfer? Want some help?

No problem, we've got the accounts, tools, and help you need to invest on your terms.

A standard account

With a standard brokerage or retirement account you make all the investment decisions and execute all the trades. You pay no commissions, so your overall cost of investing will typically be the lowest.

No minimums to get started.

Learn more arrow_forward

Prebuilt portfolios

Select your risk tolerance and easily invest in diversified, professionally selected portfolios of mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs). And you pay no trading commissions.

Get started with as little as $500 (mutual funds) or $2,500 (ETFs).

Learn more arrow_forward

Automated investment management

Core Portfolios uses advanced digital technology to build and manage your portfolio, based on your timeline and risk tolerance. It's a simple, low-cost way to get professional portfolio management.

You can open an account with as little as $500, or choose from other professionally managed portfolios.

Learn more arrow_forward

Where can I find even more investing ideas?

Potential opportunities can be found almost anywhere. These easily accessible sources give new investors
a variety of different ways to find ideas.

representative image for research


Compare and analyze companies and individual investments with fundamental stock research, technical research, bond research, and mutual fund and ETF research.

representative image for market news

Market news

Find opportunities by looking for market trends and market movers—stocks with a lot of trading activity—or check out market commentary from E*TRADE's own analysts and major news sources.

Learn more arrow_forward

representative image for screeners


These tools let you zero in on specific stocks (logon required), bonds (logon required), ETFs, and mutual funds out of the thousands available. You choose the criteria you're looking for and the screeners show you the investments that match.

representative image for thematic investing

Thematic Investing

Another approach is to align your investments with your values or with economic and social trends. These are called themes, and we've highlighted specific investments for a range of different ones.

Learn more arrow_forward

How do I place a stock trade?


1. Locate the ticker symbol
Enter a company name and get the ticker symbol

2. Check the price
Once you've found the ticker symbol of the company you're interested in, check the price and gauge the historical graph for volatility or growth.

3. Select order type
From the drop-down, choose Buy.

4. Execute
Select Preview to review your order and place your trade.

Get up to $3,000 (plus $0 commissions)1 Learn how

Take charge of your finances with a new E*TRADE brokerage or retirement account by December 31
and start with a generous cash bonus.

Use code: BONUS21

Looking to expand your financial knowledge?