Is it Safe to Invest in Stocks?

Invest in stocks? Why investing money is almost a must for old age

To buy or not? Anyone who wants to invest in stocks should proceed systematically and think over long periods of time.

Particularly drastic negative events such as the bursting of the dot-com bubble, the financial crisis and, most recently, the corona crash keep investors looking at stocks with skepticism. However, anyone who wants to build up a fortune in the long term or make provisions for old age will hardly find any sensible alternatives. The interest on savings account balances or fixed-term deposits are hardly worth mentioning at the moment. Therefore, investors should familiarize themselves with the stock market.
And then he also loses his horror. Because if you invest money in stocks, you don't have to take any incalculable risks. The most important safety anchor for investors is the investment horizon. It's best to only invest money in stocks that you won't need for the next ten to 15 years. Otherwise, you may have to sell at a time when stocks are in the basement. Basically, you should only invest money in the stock market that you have not already planned for otherwise.

Why should one invest in stocks?

Whoever buys a share acquires a stake in a stock corporation and thus participates in the success of the respective company. Investors earn from success through rising share prices and receiving a dividend. The two together give the stock return. In the long term, this was higher than the interest that savings books and time deposits yield at the current low level of interest rates and also higher than the inflation rate. In addition to the return, stocks also offer some protection against inflation. This is important if you want to invest your money for the long term.
Economists speak of inflation in the case of a general and sustained increase in the price level. This is tantamount to a devaluation of the money, since with rising prices you can buy less for your money than before. Inflation, for example, favors debtors and harms creditors, because the devaluation of money reduces the real value of the debt that the debtor has to repay. In Germany, the inflation rate from 2000 to 2019 was between 0.3 percent and 2.6 percent. Stocks can offer some protection against inflation because investors benefit from rising prices through their stocks. The reason: When companies raise the prices of their products, sales, cash flow and profits also grow, which for a healthy company should lead to rising share prices and dividends.
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However, not every share can be used to protect against inflation, because not every company can pass on rising prices for the purchase of raw materials for production in full to its customers. Manufacturers of indispensable products in particular can achieve higher prices, and companies with a global customer base, solid balance sheets and strong brands are often resistant to inflation.

How to invest in stocks

To be able to invest in stocks, you need a securities account. This can be set up at your bank or online bank or opened at an online broker for a particularly low price. Experts advise beginners not to invest in individual stocks, but rather to buy shares in an equity fund or listed index funds (exchange-traded funds, or ETFs for short) that invest in a large number of companies.
Because if you want to invest money in stocks, the most important basic rule is: Do not put all your money on one or only a few stocks, but distribute it over as many different companies as possible - this reduces the risk of loss. Because if you only invest in one share, everything is at stake in an insolvency case like Wirecard. And even larger and seemingly stable companies can go bankrupt. This is why diversification across stocks of many different companies is so important. You can do this easily with the purchase of equity funds or ETFs.
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However, the total return on your stocks depends not only on how much income you generate from capital gains and dividends, but also on the costs of trading stocks. Because in addition to the custody fees, investors also pay order fees and commissions with every purchase. The level of the fees fluctuates greatly. So it pays to compare the different banks and online brokers. Since costs directly reduce returns, investors need to keep them as low as possible. It is particularly important to take a critical look at equity funds and ETFs, because they incur annual product fees in addition to transaction costs. The latter, in turn, does not apply to individual shares.

Costs, options & Co .: The depot comparison

If you want to buy an ETF or shares, you need a securities account. A comparison of the most important providers can be found in the table below, further detailed information in the large depot comparison.

Portfolio comparison for stocks and ETFs: portfolio fees, costs for orders and more

Which trading venues are available?
Number of tradable stocks, ETFs, funds, savings plans, crypto assets
Stocks on weekends trade at Lang & Schwarz
What is the minimum order volume?
Web application / trading app
intuitive app (no desktop offer available)
Stocks, ETFs and derivatives are traded without order commissions; only third party costs of 1 euro
More than 4,000 stocks and ETFs can be saved permanently free of charge
LS Exchange; for ETFs: iShares
8,500 stocks and ETFs, more than 4,000 stock and ETF savings plans, 40,000 warrants, knock-out products and factor certificates
no web application available, just a trading platform for stocks
Mobile phone users who also want to invest little money
Design is reminiscent of social media platforms with social trading as a core feature
around 2,000 shares free of commission; Spread fees 0.09 percent; Conversion fees, as it is traded in US dollars; Withdrawal fee five US dollars
no custody fees; only those who do not log in for twelve months pay 10 US dollars per month
no savings plans available
There are 17 trading venues for stocks, such as the US stock exchanges Nasdaq (511 stocks) and NYSE (825), Frankfurt (119), London (367)
2,000 stocks, many ETFs, other stocks and many other products as derivatives, 16 crypto values
$ 50; Copy-Value $ 500
Social trading: investors exchange market and stock exchange information on request; 16 cryptocurrencies; Minimum deposit when opening an account 500 euros
learning from others is easy; Exercise function
somewhat confusing price structure, which is only available in detail in English; relatively few stocks; no savings plans
Trendsetters who want to try modern investment techniques
new on the market, therefore modern and fresh design
Free of charge for orders with a trading volume of at least 500 euros via Gettex and for derivatives in direct trading with four partners; 1 euro with the same conditions at Lang & Schwarz; Order volume below EUR 500 and at other German trading venues: EUR 4
Free custody account management, but negative interest (0.5 percent) on the clearing account if more than 15 percent of the investment is available as cash over the quarter
280 ETFs eligible for savings plan free of charge; 351 ETFs eligible for savings plan with 0.2 percent (at least 0.80 euros) per execution
all German regional exchanges, Xetra, Tradegate, Quotrix, Gettex, Lang & Schwarz; another 16 partners for over-the-counter trading; 23 foreign stock exchanges
all stocks, funds, ETFs, certificates, leverage products, bonds that are listed on German stock exchanges; additional shares abroad; more than 600 ETFs are also eligible for savings plans
Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Comprehensive range of securities with low order fees, some even free of charge
Fees for clearing account (0.5 percent per year) as soon as the total exceeds 15 percent of the deposit value
Bargain hunters who can do without trading via mobile phone
tidy application despite a large selection of products
commission-free; no flat rate for third-party costs
free custody account management, but negative credit interest of 0.5 percent
no savings plans available
Tradegate, LS Exchange, Quotrix; 4 over-the-counter partners
more than 500,000 securities, including 7,300 stocks from 52 countries, approx. 1,000 ETFs and ETCs as well as certificates, warrants, leverage products; also crypto values: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash
500 euro; 50 euros for cryptocurrencies
free stock trading, cheap crypto trading
Minimum order volume, only three trading venues, negative interest on clearing account, no savings plans
Price-conscious investors who don't want to put any change
The app and desktop version are understandable and seem like a single piece
in the first year 3.90 euros per order on all German stock exchanges; then 4.90 euros plus 0.25 percent on the order volume (min. 9.90, max. 59.90 euros); plus trading venue fee (min. 1.50 or 2.50 euros) and third-party fees
free deposit for three years; then linked to activities; otherwise 1.95 euros per month
For ETF, share and certificate savings plans, there is no issue surcharge, but a commission of 1.5 percent of the order volume per security and execution
all German trading venues; 16 partners for OTC trading; 12 foreign exchanges
14,500 stocks, 1,500 ETFs, 32,500 funds, 629,000 warrants, 1,085,000 certificates and 62,500 bonds
Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
free trading software (Pro-Trader); API interface for external software
many trading venues with a large product portfolio and extras
high order fees from the second year
Comfort-oriented investors who appreciate many options
simple and clear
no order fees in the first six months at Tradegate, L&S, Baader Bank, thereafter 5.90 euros per order plus trading venue fee (for the above 2 euros) and third-party fees; Minimum total costs on German stock exchanges between 7.90 and 11.32 euros per order
Custody fee of 0.1 percent on the market value of the securities in custody; negative credit interest of 0.5 percent
250 selected ETF savings plans free of charge; further savings plans per execution 1.50 euros
all German regional exchanges, Xetra, Tradegate, Gettex, L&S Exchange; another 16 partners for over-the-counter trading; 11 foreign trading venues
8,500 stocks and ETSs, more than 1,000 ETF savings plans, 5,000 funds (including ETFs); also derivatives and CFDs
Favorable conditions (0 to 3.90 euros per trade) for certificates and warrants from seven partners; many training videos
makes securities trading easy and understandable for beginners
Deposit fees, negative interest on clearing account
Fans of warrants and beginners who start trading cheaply
Easy to understand desktop application; App a little confusing because it is not a pure trading app
Stock orders EUR 3.95 in the first year when trading via Tradegate; otherwise at least 9.95 euros per trade, max. 69 euros; many funds and ETFs with no fees
270 ETF savings plans for free; all other ETF savings plans: 1.5 percent per savings plan execution; for equity funds: 1.5 percent plus mostly issuing fee
all German regional exchanges, Xetra, Tradegate; more than 20 foreign exchanges, more than 20 partners for over-the-counter trading
20,000 stocks and 7,000 funds (including ETFs); in addition, numerous bonds, currencies and commodities
Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
free trading software (ActiveTrader); API interface for external software
many trading venues with a huge product portfolio and extras
high order fees from the second year
Comfort-oriented investors who appreciate many options
Understandable texts, airy design
4.90 euros plus 0.25 percent of the market value, a maximum of 69.90 euros
all ETF savings plans for 0 euros; many share and fund savings plans from 1 euro, otherwise usually 1.75 percent of the market value
all German regional exchanges, Xetra and Tradegate; Stocks can also be traded in the US and Canada; Certificates & Co. also over the counter with 12 partners
all stocks, funds, ETFs, certificates, leverage products, bonds that are listed on German stock exchanges; additional shares abroad (USA, Canada); Number of savings plans: 720 ETFs, 640 funds, 480 stocks, five commodity certificates
inexpensive savings plans, all ETF variants free of charge
Trading on stock exchanges outside of Germany is limited to a few trading venues
Savings plan lovers and shareholders without exotic country preferences
somewhat dusty design, the owner Commerzbank looks much fresher
5 euros for all securities on German trading venues plus 2 euros trading venue fee (plus costs for Xetra and regional exchanges); for US trading venues 10 euros plus 5 euros trading venue fee
negative credit interest of 0.5 percent for more than 250,000 euros on the clearing account
all available savings plans (around 200) for an execution fee of 1 euro; 50 to 500 euros savings rate
all German regional exchanges, Xetra, Tradegate, Quotrix, Lang & Schwarz; another 14 off-exchange partners US stock exchanges NYSE, Nasdaq, AMEX
all stocks, funds, ETFs, certificates, leverage products, bonds that are listed on German stock exchanges; additionally all securities of the three major US stock exchanges
simple price overview, comprehensive range of securities
no trading via app
Onvista fans who have cherished the website for a long time
is more aimed at professionals and offers many analysis tools
Usually 0.1 percent on the order volume with a minimum (examples: Tradegate 2 euros; Frankfurt: 5 plus at least 2.52 euros), shares on US stock exchanges cost 1 cent per share (at least 2 US dollars, maximum 1 percent of the trading volume )
only in the case of inactivity for more than a month and a deposit value below EUR 1,000: EUR 1 per month
Savings plans only through partner ebase (registration required)
Xetra, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Tradegate and around 130 foreign stock exchanges; over-the-counter trading on the US stock market
More than 1.2 million tradable securities, stocks, ETFs, futures, options, warrants and many more exchange-traded securities and derivatives
expandable with external software; Minimum deposit when opening an account 2,000 euros; only one payment / month free of charge (otherwise 1 or 8 euros), no automated tax transfer
extensive security selection; various tools and order options for professionals
Real-time prices are chargeable, no separate savings plan offer, over-the-counter trading is very limited
Ambitious investors and professionals
also manageable for beginners
Gettex: EUR 0.99 per order or flat rate from EUR 2.99 per month with an unlimited number of securities purchases and sales as well as ETF savings plan executions; 3.99 euros per order for Xetra trading
if you opt for the flat rate fee of 2.99 euros per month, you will receive all savings plans free of charge; otherwise only one savings plan is free, each additional one costs 99 cents
4,000 stocks, 1,300 ETFs and ETF savings plans, 2,000 managed funds
Gettex only: 250 euros; Savings plans from 25 euros per month
low costs, attractive price model for active traders (only Gettex)
Minimum order volume at Gettex, only two trading venues, no derivatives
Cost-conscious high-volume traders who limit themselves to traditional investments
renounces design finesse, the focus is on the information
4.99 euros plus 0.25 percent of the order value (min. 8.99 euros to max. 54.99 euros); plus EUR 0.99 trading platform fee in Germany; Discount depending on the number of annual transactions from ten percent for 100 transactions to 80 percent for 5,000 transactions
Free custody account management for at least one transaction per quarter or assets of at least 10,000 euros, otherwise 11.97 euros per quarter
Many Deka ETF savings plans and 16 UBS ETF savings plans free of charge, all others and share savings plans: order fee of 2.5 percent per savings plan rate
all German regional exchanges, Xetra, Quotrix, Tradegate, Lang & Schwarz, L&S Exchange; another 17 over-the-counter partners; 29 foreign stock exchanges
9,000 stocks, 12,000 funds, 2,000 ETFs, 20,000 bonds, 1.3 million leverage products, plus stock savings plans, ETFs eligible for savings plans, funds and certificates
Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Discount model for order fees
Trading on numerous stock exchanges
relatively high order fees, expensive savings plans
Sparkasse customers and users who appreciate many options
10 euros per domestic order up to 10,000 euros, above 25 euros; for foreign execution venues, the cost per order is EUR 20 or EUR 35; Third-party fees are added to orders that are not processed via the Tradegate trading center
1.50 euros per savings plan execution, less or free of charge for special offers for a certain period of time
all German regional exchanges, Xetra, Quotrix, Tradegate; another 12 partners for OTC trading; 31 foreign stock exchanges
more than 1.5 million tradable securities including 22,000 funds and 2,000 securities savings plans, including 115 ETF savings plans
Trading on numerous stock exchanges, simple fee structure
DKB customers and users who appreciate many options

Is it enough to invest 100 euros in stocks?

No, it doesn't make sense. The cost of buying and selling the shares would eat up a large portion of the potential profits. There are penny stocks that can be had for just a few cents. But there is also a reason why these stocks are so cheap: These investments are usually highly speculative. Beginners should keep their hands off that. If the speculation doesn't work out, the money is gone very quickly.
Regular savings plans are much better for investors with little money. For example, many banks offer inexpensive savings plans. In this way, you can build up a fortune even with small monthly amounts. You can join us from 50 euros a month.

Which stocks should you invest in?

Of course, it is best to invest in stocks with strong prices and juicy dividends. But no one can predict with certainty how profitable an investment in a single company will be in the long term. In any case, be skeptical if you hear about surefire tips and fabulous returns when it comes to stocks. The simple rule here applies: the higher the expected return, the higher the associated risk.

When to invest in stocks

Many investors try to get into the stock market at a precisely low price point and then to get out again when the stock market reaches its high point. But most of them fail. Predicting these times exactly and being smarter than everyone else is a nice idea. In practice, however, this strategy is a pure game of chance. Nobody can predict the price developments of individual stocks or the market so precisely that the timing for entry and exit is exactly right.
A steady hand is usually more promising than market timing and actionism. Many capital market studies have shown that particularly active investors who frequently and extensively rearrange their stock portfolios, in most cases perform worse than the market itself. This is due, among other things, to the fees that investors have to pay for every purchase and sale. And most investors tend to be wrong when it comes to timing them right. Incidentally, this is also how the famous investment manager legend Peter Lynch sees it: “Nobody has ever been able to predict the stock market. It's a total waste of time. In the chart of the world's rich published by Forbes, there has never been a stock market timing expert. "
So if the right timing is not important, it is the right investment horizon. Because whoever invests systematically in the stock market over many years can count on a respectable return.

What is the return on stocks?

The return triangle of the Deutsches Aktieninstitut gives a good overview of the returns an investor could expect over the past 50 years if he invested in shares of the German DAX share index. An example: Anyone who bought shares at the end of 2004 and held them for 15 years until the end of 2019 achieved an average annual return of 7.9 percent during this period. The yield triangle also shows: Anyone who has invested broadly in the German stock market for more than 13 years has not made a loss in the end - regardless of when they entered.
It goes without saying that historical stock market data do not allow reliable predictions about future performance. They just show that investors with well diversified investments have done well in the past. History also shows that the stock markets have recovered and continued to gain after severe crashes such as the financial market crisis. There are many indications that it will stay that way in the future - but nobody can guarantee that, especially not for a certain period of time.

What other forms of investment are there?

Of course, stocks are not the only form of investment that you can use to make provisions for old age. Experts advise investors not only to spread the risk within a stock portfolio, but also to mix in other forms of investment in addition to stocks. Each of these forms of investment has its advantages and disadvantages:
  • Bonds are fixed-income securities in which the investor borrows money from governments or companies. During the term he receives interest, at the end the amount is repaid. How the price of a bond develops depends on the market interest rate, the term and creditworthiness of the issuer. Like stocks, bonds are usually tradable on the stock exchange and are subject to price fluctuations. In the event of the publisher's insolvency, there is a risk of loss for the buyer of the bond - up to and including total loss.
  • Many investors consider gold to be a safe haven in stormy times. However, there is no guarantee that gold prices will rise, and investors have not enjoyed their gold for many years. The disadvantage of gold: its possession causes high costs, for example for the depot or a safe. In contrast to shares, gold does not generate regular income such as a dividend.
  • Real estate has seen high increases in value in recent years - at least in attractive locations. Investors have to differentiate between owner-occupied properties and properties for rent. An investment in the classic sense is only the property for rent because it generates regular rental income. But no matter whether for yourself or as a property to rent: Due to the high acquisition costs of a property, most people find it difficult to spread the money and there is a high risk of clusters. If a property does not develop as expected, this can result in high losses.

Are stocks safe at all?

Basically, stocks are associated with risks. In addition to the risk that the price will fall and the dividend will not be paid, there is also the risk of a total loss. However, you can significantly reduce the risk by diversifying your investment capital widely.
And what if your custodian goes bust? Don't worry, the securities in the custody account are yours, the bank is not entitled to them. Your custody account will therefore not flow into the bank's potential bankruptcy estate. Because securities in the custody account are special assets.
Securities are therefore not covered by the statutory deposit guarantee. Deposits, including balances on current accounts, call money accounts, time deposit accounts or savings books, are protected by the deposit insurance - but only up to an amount of 100,000 euros per customer. In contrast, stocks are real assets. The banks hold stocks, ETFs, bonds and fund units just for you. In the event of bankruptcy, you can transfer the papers to another bank for safekeeping.
In the unlikely event that the bank has sold you securities but not actually kept them in custody, things are a little different. Then it cannot hand over the shares and the provisions of the Deposit Protection and Investor Compensation Act (EAEG) apply. Accordingly, the amount of the compensation is limited to 90 percent of the value of the securities, but not more than the equivalent of 20,000 euros. Such cases of fraud do occur - for example in the case of Phoenix Capital Service. But they are very rare. It is best to stick with large, reputable depository providers.
* Our independent experts regularly deal with products and service providers. We will provide you with the resulting articles free of charge. COMPUTER BILD receives a small commission if you click on a link or conclude a contract with a linked provider. Note: The content on computerbild.de is not a specific investment recommendation and only contains general information. Authors, editors and the cited sources are not liable for any losses that may arise through the purchase or sale of the securities or financial products mentioned in the articles. Complex financial products such as CFDs in particular harbor a high risk: According to the company, 75% of retail investor accounts with eToro lose money when they trade CFDs from this provider.