Add Your VPN Review

Disclosure: Privacy Australia is community-supported. We may earn a commission when you buy a VPN through one of our links. Learn more.

How to Start a Shares Portfolio

By Will Ellis
Last Updated on March 23, 2024
Shares Portfolio

2020-2022 saw steep drops in the stock market in response to Covid-19 and then the recession. 

Both illustrated the power of emotional control or lack thereof. People bought and sold due to fear. 

Although it may seem counterintuitive to acquire shares during a market downturn, skilled long-term investors generally make their purchases at these times. 

If you’re ready to learn how to start a shares portfolio, here are four factors to help… Keep these in mind.

Table of Contents:

The Concept of a Stock Portfolio Explained 📘

Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful.

Warren Buffett (Source)

For investors, the term “portfolio” often refers to a collection of stocks. A stock portfolio is a group of equities that you assemble on the stock market with the intention of generating a profit. Unless you’re a day-trader, playing with stocks requires seeing ahead long-term

Fundamental investors like Ray Dalio Investing in a wide variety of companies across many industries is generally recommended. One example is the S&P 500 Index, which follows the stock prices of the 500 largest U.S. companies on the stock market. 

Since buying a whole index would be impractical, index funds and exchange-traded fund (ETF) fill the void. With any luck, you’ll be able to diversify your investment portfolio and become a more robust investor as a result.

To invest in assets that correspond to the performance of an index is the primary goal of an index fund—which is a specific kind of mutual fund and also an exchange-traded fund (ETF). A fund tracking the Nasdaq-100 Composite Index, for instance, would invest in stocks among the 100 largest and most actively traded non-financial domestic and international shares listed on the Nasdaq.

When you invest in a stock portfolio, you make the choice to purchase each stock yourself—while a fund’s portfolio manager or investment manager makes such purchases on your behalf.

Your stock holdings may be kept in whatever kind of investment account works best for you. 

What number of stocks is needed to be diversified?

A diverse portfolio may be made up of any number of stocks. How much you need to invest depends on factors including your risk tolerance, your long-term objectives, and the kind of investments you want to make.

Portfolio Diversification

You need more than two or three, however. If you want your stock portfolio to be really diversified, you need to be able to invest across many industries and geographical regions.

Between twenty and thirty equities make up the typical portfolio. The rule of thumb for achieving adequate portfolio diversification is to own at least 25 different assets.

Also relevant is the total value of your investment portfolio. If you’re just starting out as an investor with a few thousand pounds or less, it makes more sense to have a smaller stake in fewer firms. There’s always room for more staff in the organisation.

Here are the top tips for creating a stock portfolio:

💡 Tip 1 – Set Clear Financial Goals

Here is some guidance on how to enter the stock market, what to look for in a broker, and how to put up a balanced stock portfolio. Try not to choose stocks at random: Find a competent broker, conduct your homework and purchase shares that will develop your money for you.

Financial Goal

The first thing you’ll need is some 💰 extra cash. Not a lot of stuff is required to begin. Brokerage fees decrease as the amount you have available to invest increases, but you may put in whatever amount you choose into the stock market.

Before you begin to develop a portfolio, you should decide what you want to achieve with your investments. This can aid you in pinpointing your comfort level with risk, determining how long you can wait to start seeing returns on your investments, and determining how much homework you need to put in.

Put your investment funds and expected return horizon into numbers. The best strategy for investing in the stock market is to purchase and hold for the long term since this should help smooth out the market’s fluctuations. If you want to maximise your investment returns, you should put your dividend income back into your stock portfolio and carefully add cash infusions when you can.

Are 500 dollars enough to start? 🏝️

Not for substantial returns. If you’re not earning enough, many financial advisors like Dave Ramsey consider ways to increase your income such as working two or three jobs and making sure you have a rainy day fund (five baby steps). 

But how about the ASX? Australia’s main exchange requires a minimum investment of $500 before an investor may trade on the market, however, there are risks associated with investing such a tiny amount.

The $500′ minimum marketable parcel’ restriction supposedly only applies to the first purchases of shares in a certain firm. If your broker would allow it, you may be able to increase your investment with a smaller sum at a later date. However, the brokerage fee prevents some investors from making transactions valued at less than $500.

The brokerage fee as a proportion of your investment will be larger the lower the total value of the deal. If you make a deal for $1,000 and pay $15 in brokerage, your charge is 1.5% of your total. That same $15 brokerage fee amounts to a 3% fee on a transaction of $500. Accordingly, a minimum cost-effective exchange would be about $500.

To your luck, there is a plethora of low-cost brokers from which to choose. Trades up to $5,000 on OpenTrader cost just $5. If you have $500 to invest, your brokerage fee will be $5. For every deal you make with SelfWealth, you’ll have to fork up $9.50 (1.9% of $500).

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.

Warren Buffett (Source)

💡 Tip 2 – Choose Your Broker

In the case of stock investors, the internet has made things simple using apps—all you need is a stock trading app you trust. As we’ve described above, today, you may invest as little as $500 in stocks via any of a number of online share trading platforms.

You may also work with a human stockbroker, alternatively, who can open a trading account for you and provide you with guidance if that’s more to your liking. As a result, their prices tend to be greater than those of comparable digital alternatives.

etoro logo

Crypto assets are unregulated & highly speculative. No consumer protection. Capital at risk.

Taking into account your financial constraints, the time and energy you have available, and your current level of expertise can help you choose the best course of action. Putting some effort into making cost comparisons and investigations into accessible features is generally worthwhile if you decide to pursue online share trading.

Discount brokers are employed by organisations to only accept your order and enter it in the market, whereas professional investment managers work for premium firms that take you on as a customer and provide advice, research, and financial planning to assist you in making investment decisions. The former is more cost-effective, but the latter’s higher prices may be justified if you need expert guidance.

💡 Tip 3 – Research Stocks to Narrow Down Possibilities

Before putting your money into anything, you should do your homework. Choose several companies from each group, preferably from various industries, to help keep your portfolio well-balanced.

In general, it’s wise to stay with well-known brands.


Consider investing in fitness-related businesses if it’s a field that interests you. It’s simpler to grasp a firm’s business strategy and choices when it’s in a field you’re already interested in than when you attempt to switch to a company or area in which you have no background or interest.

A strong stock portfolio is like a winning football squad. In order to strike the appropriate balance, a team needs a good distribution of attackers, playmakers, defenders, and a goalie. Weakness or over-reliance in one area might cause problems for the group.

The same logic applies to a successful stock portfolio. It’s possible that not all of the team members will get along. This, however, may not become apparent until they have competed in a few games. Some players will be hurt no matter what you do, and you could decide you want to make some modifications. 

Overall, the theory is that if your portfolio is well diversified, the overall return will be high no matter how any one stock does: ⭐ How to invest in the ASX 200.

What are blue-chip stocks? 🔹

Poker is played using blue, white, and red chips, the former being worth more than the latter two. In 1923, Dow Jones employee Oliver Gingold coined the phrase “blue chip” to characterise equities that were selling for $200 or more per share.

These days, the term “blue-chip stocks” more appropriately describes shares in reputable, long-lasting businesses than it does a certain price range.

Australia’s ASX 100; the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500, and the Nasdaq-100 in the United States; the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) 60 in Canada; and the Financial Times (FTSE) 100 in the United Kingdom all include blue-chip stocks among its constituents. 

Investors might have different opinions on what size firm is required to be considered a blue chip. Market or sector leaders may be any size company, but the established standard is $5 billion in market capitalization.

Blue-chip stocks are a popular option for conservative investors who choose a lower level of risk or who are getting close to retirement age. 

These companies are fantastic for hedging against inflation since their regular dividend payments do double duty as a source of income and a hedge against price increases. Benjamin Graham recommends that conservative investors seek firms that have regularly paid dividends for at least 20 years in his book The Intelligent Investor.

What are defensive stocks? 🏉

No matter what happens to the broader stock market, investors can always count on dividends and reliable profits from defensive stocks. 

Because their goods are in high demand 🏭 no matter the economic climate, defensive companies are less volatile. Defending stocks, which include firms that produce items like guns, ammunition, and fighter planes, are not the same thing as defensive stocks.

Main selling points:

  • A defensive stock is one that maintains its dividend and profits level in spite of fluctuations in the broader market.
  • Defensive stocks are often large, well-known corporations like Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Philip Morris International, and Coca-Cola.
  • Comparatively reduced risk and equal long-term rewards are two major advantages of defensive equities.
  • However, defensive companies’ low volatility generally results in lower returns during bull markets and a perpetual loop of market timing errors.

What are income stocks? 🏝️

This refers to an investment that distributes dividends on a consistent, and usually rising, basis. 

Main selling points:

  • Equities that pay dividends, the most common kind of income from stocks, are considered income stocks.
  • They because they provide investors with a reliable source of income over a long period of time.
  • Income stocks are those that often provide a high yield, the interest from which can often be relied upon to provide the bulk of the returns for the asset.
  • Ideally, a dividend-yielding income stock would also have yearly profit growth that was just slightly below the rate of inflation plus the yield on the 10-year Treasury note.
  • Comparatively, the volatility and hazards that affect the performance of growth companies are greater than those that affect the performance of income stocks.

High dividend yields are a hallmark of income stocks, which may often account for the vast majority of their total gains. 

There is no hard and fast rule for determining what constitutes an income stock; but, in general, these firms have lower volatility than the market as a whole and provide dividend yields that are greater than average and sustainable.

As income stocks may be constrained in their capacity for future expansion, they may call for less sustained financial outlay. A portion of the company’s quarterly or annual earnings surplus might be returned to shareholders. Real estate (through REITs), utilities, energy, natural resources, and financial institutions are popular places where income stocks may be found.

Most conservative investors look for income equities to have some exposure to rising company profits. Meanwhile, these companies’ stable earnings make them a good choice for retirees or others who may not have access to a monthly paycheck.

The ideal income investment would have a beta close to one, a dividend yield greater than the current 10-year Treasury note (T-note) rate, and yearly profit growth that is moderate but consistent. For future cash payouts to be sustainable in the face of inflation, the best income stocks will have a track record of dividend increases.

Listening to uninformed people is worse than having no answers at all.

Ray Dalio, Principles (Source)

💡 Tip 4 – Picking Stocks

The Usefulness of ETFs with Diversification

Investing in individual companies requires a great deal of study, making it difficult for novices to choose the right stocks to buy.  To solve that time problem, exchange-traded funds may be a suitable entry point for new investors.

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)

You may build a diverse portfolio by investing in just one ETF rather than comparing stocks and reading through dozens of annual reports.

The variety of ETFs available today is vast. For instance, by purchasing an exchange-traded fund that follows the ASX 200 (the top 200 Australian firms), you are effectively purchasing shares in each of the 200 companies that make up the ASX 200, and your portfolio will benefit from an increase in the index as it rises. 

In addition to the AU market, ETFs allow you to invest in markets all around the world. Adding some variety to your holdings is a fantastic idea.

Recognising Quality Shares

There are, however, certain things to keep in mind if you’d rather try your hand at stock selecting. Quality shares, as I like to call them, are an investment that I have long recommended. 

These stocks are less likely to be affected by cyclical factors, such the ups and downs of the economy or a specific market (like the oil price or the housing market). Companies with quality qualities tend to have more stable revenue and profit streams. 

Stocks at grocery stores like Coles and Woolworths may rise and fall in value, but everyone still has basic household supplies that must be purchased regularly.

Top-notch stocks have solid balance sheets, which demonstrate that the company generates sufficient profits to service its financial obligations. 

The company has a substantial competitive advantage because of its wide moat and other distinguishing features. CSL, one of the biggest biotech businesses in the world, has found success in the Australian market with its blood plasma products and flu vaccinations. Good businesses plan ahead, invest in new technologies, and adapt their management style to meet the demands of the digital era. To that end, keep these qualities in mind while you research companies for your portfolio:

  • Aim ✔️: Think about your goals and choose if you want to be a trader or an investor. You have a better chance of success and more security as a long-term buyer of shares (investor). Genuine investors in the share market include traders (defined here as professionals and devoted semi-professionals who buy and sell shares on a regular basis), but this is a field best left to individuals with experience and expertise in the field.
  • Pick ✔️: The next step is to choose some stocks. Long-term investors may reduce their portfolio’s exposure to risk by purchasing 8-12 well-selected equities rather than 2 or 3. Decide what to invest in based on your desired rate of return, the level of risk you are willing to accept, the length of time you are willing to let your money sit in the market, and the possibility that you may need access to your funds before the investment matures.
  • Research further ✔️: Do your homework before purchasing stock in a company. Learn more about the businesses and how they might benefit your financial situation. Investing in the stock market based on the advice of friends, coworkers, or strangers is akin to gambling. A blue-chip at $20 may not seem thrilling, while a gold mining share at 10 cents may treble in value in a short period of time, but can also lose all of its value far more rapidly.
  • Assess before purchase ✔️: Avoid trying to cut corners on your way to financial success. There is no magic man or black-box algorithm that can tell you which stocks will soar and which will sink. The question you should ask yourself if someone attempts to offer you a “surefire” investing strategy is: “Why would they share it with me if it actually worked?”

💡 Final Tips on How to Start a Shares Portfolio

Baby Steps

As your understanding improves, you’ll be able to consult a wider variety of authoritative resources, such as specialised online financial publications or share research through your stockbroker or share trading platform. Reading is slow although it is one of the most accessible options, and there is no shortage of faster materials, such as podcasts.

Long-Term Thinking

Day traders and other hustlers think short-term. 

If that’s your speed then you will need to be more intensive in your training. Across time, when faced with your stock portfolio on a regular basis, you may have a strong desire to make a move. 

Thinking long-term provides the clearest perspective for stable investments. You want to invest in your financial future, not just for the next week or month, but for many years. 

Because, after all, the general trend of stock prices is upward. Vanguard estimates that an initial investment of $10,000 in Australian shares in 1991 would have grown to $160,489 by 2021.

Emotional Awareness

Patience is a virtue that should be cultivated by each investor. Avoid making snap judgements in response to temporary information or random occurrences. Stock markets fluctuate, but knowledgeable investors know better than to avoid purchasing just because there is investor panic and terrible stories in the media.

How to Start a Shares Portfolio 📙 – FAQs

How about a partial loan against my stock portfolio?

Stock portfolio collateralization loans are available in various states.

Many brokerages will lend investors up to half the value of your marginal assets. A margin account allows you to borrow up to 50% of the value of your marginal assets, or $2,000 if you have $4,000 in your account.

A Lombard Loan is a line of credit that may be taken out in the form of a fixed loan or negotiated overdraft in exchange for pledging a particular proportion of the value of the borrower’s liquid assets (such as stocks, bonds, or investment funds).

A Lombard Loan, like any other loan, is an important financial commitment fraught with dangers. You should carefully weigh the pros and downsides before borrowing against your stock holdings.

Talking to an investment manager or financial adviser might be helpful before making such a big choice. They will be able to walk you through the steps and explain the possible consequences of taking out a loan against your stock portfolio.

How many holdings should you make stocks?

A well-balanced investment portfolio will contain assets other than shares.

Different types of assets should be considered. Speculative investments could also include things like fine art, wine, and other forms of high-end collectables, in addition to traditional financial instruments like bonds and real estate.

Individuality is preserved in your investment portfolio’s asset allocation. Your own tastes, requirements, and objectives will determine the precise allocation across asset classes.

What you find interesting is another factor to consider. Again, it’s not a smart idea to attempt to invest in art if you don’t know what you’re doing. That is, unless you’re willing to put in a lot of time studying and investigating.

How much profit might one expect from a stock investment?

What constitutes a solid return from one year to the next varies. Financial markets react strongly to changes in the macroeconomic environment. Sometimes, even though your stock portfolio is perfectly crafted, you may still incur a loss.

Stocks are more volatile that the retail market 🏘️. Markets for stocks may fall as well as rise. The expectation is that you will earn a profit in the long run.

Although there is some natural variation from year to year, there are still certain consistent standards by which excellent or poor performance may be judged.

Most investors aim for a yearly return of 10 per cent or more. If you invest and get this kind of return, you may expect your wealth to increase over time, rather than only to be preserved in the face of inflation.

How often should I examine my stock holdings?

When you’ve put a significant amount of time and effort into building your own portfolio and putting your own money into it, you may feel compelled to keep a close eye on it. Unlike an index fund, it was made specifically to fit your requirements.

Keep it from happening. Daily or even weekly portfolio checks are useless. You may lose a lot of money by constantly adjusting your stock portfolio in response to minor market fluctuations.

However, for the vast majority of individuals, checking up on your stock portfolio every few months should be more than enough.

This is usually sufficient for ensuring that your portfolio is well-balanced and for making any required modifications, such as selling a stock that has been persistently underperforming.

However, checking in on your stock portfolio once every few months is rare enough to avoid you from overreacting to every market fluctuation and making emotional judgements that might impair the financial success of your portfolio over the long term.

You Might Also Like:

Related posts