How to Manage Your Own Stock Portfolio for the Highest Returns and Lowest Fees

Do you make good money but don’t know how to invest it? Making money and managing money are two different ballparks. If this describes you, you are not alone. Many high-earning professionals aren’t well versed on how to invest their money long-term.

The goal with investing is always to get the highest returns while paying the least amount of fees, and the cherry on top is for your money to always be there for you.

Below are some key tips for investing your money so it doesn’t run out, earns the highest returns, and has the lowest fees.

Opening a Brokerage Account

If you are going to manage your own investments, the first thing you will need in an investment account. More and more of the top brokerages are offering self-directed accounts that can be opened online. My favorites are Fidelity and Vanguard.

There are two main categories: self-directed brokerage accounts and self-directed IRAs. The former is more liquid, meaning you can withdraw your money at any time. However, you have to pay taxes on your earnings. The latter is a retirement savings account called an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) that you can only withdraw from after the age of 55 ½, but without paying taxes on your profits.

Where to Invest

Without a financial advisor, it’s up to you to decide where your money is invested. You’ll need to do your research here. Choose investments that you believe will go up in value and look at their historical data, market trends, the local and global economy, and your own desire to participate in the growth of the business and industry your investment is in.

To manage the cost of your investments, keep an eye on their expense ratio. These fees have to be paid regardless, whether working with a financial advisor or not.

Stocks and Bonds

Stocks and bonds are the main focus of index and mutual funds, and it’s a good idea to have a healthy mix of both. Bonds are a bit more conservative, but you lose out on some earning potential. Stocks are riskier, but can pay out better. You can invest in these individually or use an index or mutual fund.

Index Funds

These expose your portfolio to a number of stocks and bonds. Their goal is to match the returns of a benchmark stock market index like the S&P 500. They typically have a low to non-existent expense ratio.

Mutual Funds

The goal of these funds is to beat the benchmark market index, meaning you can potentially see higher returns. However, as they are actively managed, the expense ratio tends to be higher.


REITs are similar to mutual funds, but instead of stocks and bonds, they expose your portfolio to a real estate investment portfolio. A great option for those who want to diversify without the expense of purchasing an investment property.

Be Your Own Financial Coach

There are a whole slew of sites boasting insider knowledge on which stocks to invest in, but the truth of the matter is that you need to become your own expert investor. Online brokerage accounts allow you to keep track of your earnings and research other investments so that you know when and where to invest.

Holly Morphew, AFC® is personal finance expert, coach, writer, and speaker based in Denver, CO. She is the CEO + Founder of Financial Impact, a specialized financial coaching practice that helps career-driven entrepreneurs and professionals create personal wealth and financial independence. She is the author of Simple Wealth, a #1 best-seller in wealth management, personal transformation, real estate, and women & business. Holly began teaching personal finance in 2006 as a service project with Rotary International, and received the prestigious “Rotarian of the Year” award for her work in financial literacy. As an Accredited Financial Counselor® with the AFCPE, Holly has also been recognized for “Bridging the Gap” for outstanding work in private practice. Her philosophy, “abundance is our natural state” is the core of Financial Impact programs, which help clients bridge behavior and mindset to realize their potential. In addition to personal wealth building, Holly also helps clients start and scale businesses and create new streams of income.

Hi! I’m Holly, the founder of Financial Impact and an award-winning financial coach. I help career-driven leaders and entrepreneurs create wealth, take the stress out of managing money, and feel confident and powerful when it comes to their finances.

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