buying a share of stock

Question: 

My boyfriend is totally into the stock market games and lessons in class.  Can I buy him some shares of stocks somehow?  I want it to be his Christmas present.  Please let me know how to do this.

Answer: 

Anyone over the age of 18 can buy shares of stock. In order to do this you must open an account with what’s called a “brokerage firm.” A brokerage firm has undergone an intense process in order to be able to buy investments from a stock exchange. If you are under 18, you may still purchase investments, but you will have to have permission from an adult (most likely a parent or guardian) to buy investments using their brokerage firm account.

There are two main types of brokerage firms: a full-service general brokerage firm and a discount broker. Both a full-service and discount broker act as a buying and selling agent for you as the investor. However, the key difference between the two is the amount of services offered. A full-service general brokerage firm will complete investment transactions for you as well as provide you with investment advice regarding which investments to purchase. When you use a full-service firm, you will be able to meet face-to-face with an investment advisor, and that investment advisor will offer advice and can help you make investment decisions. A discount broker on the other hand only completes the investment transaction for you; they most likely do not provide any advice as to which investments to buy and sell. Because of this, discount brokers charge less than general brokerage firms. Some discount brokers may also offer investment advice, but you will most likely pay more for that advice. If you feel you are knowledgeable about the stock market and know which investment to purchase you could consider using a discount broker, since the fees are less. If you don’t feel comfortable choosing which investments to purchase, you may consider using a full-service brokerage firm to obtain the advice of an experienced professional.

The following are discount brokerage firm websites that you may consider using:

The following are popular full-service brokerage firms that you may consider using. Use the firm’s website to find an investment advisor near your hometown:

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