Questrade Tutorial: How To Use The Trading Platform

By Robb Engen | February 17, 2020 |
Posted in
Questrade is best known for offering rock-bottom commissions for trading stocks. You can buy and sell individual stocks for as low as $4.95 per trade.

Earlier this year Questrade introduced commission-free purchases for any ETF in North America.

You can open a Questrade account with as little as $1,000, and unlike the big discount brokerages there’s no annual administration fee for smaller accounts.

All of these reasons are why I recommend Questrade over any other online platform as the top discount brokerage for beginner investors and for more frequent traders.

I’m not the only one recommending this discount brokerage, check out Million Dollar Journey’s Updated Questrade Review.

We recently received this email from James:

I’ve moved all my investments ‘in kind’ from a financial planner to Questrade. The idea was to cut down on costs and have more control.  My strategy is to invest in index funds and have a long term passive strategy (couch potato style).

However I have found the Questrade interface to be very confusing. I’ve never traded before or used a trading site of any kind.

Could you put together a ‘baby steps’ tutorial, right from the basics on how to use Questrade?

It can be tricky to figure out how to use a new trading platform. That’s why I’ve reached out to Laural Adams from Questrade to put together the following tutorial.

Related: How To Use A Stock Screener To Find The Best Stocks

Questrade Basic IQ tutorial

Welcome to online trading.  Making the switch from working with a financial planner to doing your own thing can be exciting, but yes, also a little daunting.

Trust me, you’re not the only person looking at the screens and wondering what you should do first.  Here’s a quick tutorial to get you started.

Step 1: Opening the platform

The first thing you need to do is figure out what platform you’ll be using.  In other words – where will you be trading from the most?  Questrade has four platforms:

  • IQ Web –  use this on any computer with an internet connection;
  • IQ Edge – this is the desktop platform and our most powerful platform;
  • IQ Essential – use this with your tablet or netbook (but you can use it on a desktop) and;
  • IQ Mobile – this is for your smartphone.

Log into www.myquestrade.com and select either IQ Essential or IQ Web on the upper left corner of the window.

Note: IQ Web requires the installation of Microsoft Silverlight.  If you do not have administrative privileges on your computer, IQ Essential is recommended.

Questrade: Opening the platform

If this is your first time accessing the IQ platforms, you’ll be required to fill out a few pages of market data agreements to classify you as either a professional or non-professional trader.

Step 2: Placing a trade

Once you’ve filled out all of this information, you are ready to trade.  There are some basic questions you’ll need to be prepared to answer:

Order duration: You must choose the length of time you want your order valid for.  For more information on the different order durations available, visit our blog post on order duration.

Order type: Here you can choose between setting a market, limit, or stop order for your trade.  More advanced order types such as trailing stops and stop limits are also available for experienced traders.

For more information on the different order types available, visit our Order Entry 101 informational page.

Price: Unless you place a market order which will execute your trade at the best current bid or ask price, you will need to set a price at which you would like your trade executed.

Account: If you have multiple accounts (i.e. margin and TFSA), you can toggle between your accounts within the order entry box.  Always make sure you are placing your trade in the correct account.

Related: TFSA vs. Non-Registered Accounts – Which Is Best?

Here’s what the screens look like:

IQ Essential:

To bring up the order entry box and place a trade, click on the buy/sell button on the top right corner of the screen.

Questrade: IQ Essential

IQ Web:

The order entry box can be found at the very bottom of the screen.  You have the same options here.

Questrade: IQ Web

Step 3: Reviewing your account

Beyond buying and selling, you will want to keep track of the activity in your account.  Again, where you find this information is different based on the platform you use, but you’re looking for the same information.

IQ Essential:

You will find the following tabs near the bottom of the platform, which will show an overview of your account.

Questrade: IQ Essential Step 3

IQ Web:

You will find your account overview under the Account tab on the top of the page.

Questrade: IQ Web Step 3

Orders: Displays any open or filled orders. You can use this tab to cancel or edit any open orders that haven’t been executed yet.

Positions: Shows all long and short positions within your account, including profit/losses.

Executions: A list of all trades that have been executed on the market.

Balances: Displays all your account balances in CAD and USD.

Activity: Here you can view all intraday activities for all your accounts that under the same login ID.  Activities include orders placed and login times/locations.

And then you’re done!

This is just the tip of the iceberg, though.  As you become a more advanced trader, you’ll have plenty more questions.

My suggestion: do your research, whether that means reading a blog, testing strategies with a free trial platform, chatting with other traders, or watching a video on Youtube.

This (conveniently) brings me to a little plug for Questrade.

If you want to watch some video tutorials, check out our YouTube Channel.  If you want to read more about products, services and trading ideas, check out our blog.

We’ve got free practice accounts available at Questrade.com.  And, if you want to chat with your fellow traders, you can start a thread on the forums.

Related: Should You Trust Advice From Your Bank?

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them here in the comments, and we’ll do our best to help you out.

Weekend Reading: Maui Edition

By Robb Engen | February 15, 2020 |
Posted in
Aloha! We’ve spent the past week in Maui escaping the cold winter back home and taking a much needed break. The past few months have been stressful and anxiety-ridden as I transitioned from a day job + side hustle to full-time entrepreneur.

I’m happy to say that life as an online entrepreneur is going better than expected. I’m getting flooded with fee-only financial planning inquiries and freelance writing assignments. I’ve made a point to stop working at 4pm when my kids get home from school. And three days a week I’ve taken a mid-day break to go to the gym with my wife. Life is good.

The only thing missing has been finding more time to write on my own blogs – both here and on Rewards Cards Canada. I hope to find a more consistent writing pattern as I fine tune my own rhythm and routine.

This trip to Maui has been so helpful because it has allowed me to take a break from the entrepreneurial grind and reflect on how I can spend my time more effectively. I’ve also been taking notes as ideas pop into my head for future blog post ideas. In between pool time, happy hour, and walks along the beach, of course.

It’s our first trip to Maui, even though it seems like everyone from Alberta and BC comes here on the regular. We haven’t been on a tropical vacation since our honeymoon in Mexico almost 14 years ago. First thought – why haven’t we done this before? Second thought – this is absolute paradise!

My personal finance blogger thoughts – Maui is so expensive! We flew here on an Aeroplan flight rewards, and so we only paid a few hundred dollars in fees and taxes. We also rented a car using Aeroplan miles – a first for me. With thousands already saved, we decided to splurge and stay at an ocean-front resort – an Airbnb – for $350 USD per night. Believe me, that was one of the cheaper condos available during this time.

Our flight got in late so we missed an opportunity to load up on groceries at Costco (the wholesale club near the airport is only open til 8pm). I drove 10 minutes to Safeway the next morning to get our groceries and some beer and wine for the week. After the $460 trip I came back cursing the sky-high Hawaiian prices and unfavourable USD to CAD exchange rate.

All good, though. Outside of the Old Lahaina Luau and one trip into town for lunch, we were quite content to spend our days poolside or at the beach, and preparing our own meals at home. It’s easy to see how a Maui vacation budget could quickly spiral out of control if we ate out at restaurants every meal or even once a day. 

This was the first six nights of what will be at least 51 days of travel for our family this year. Next up is 18 days in Italy this spring, followed by three weeks in England and Scotland this summer. Finally, we’ve got another six nights booked in Victoria before the new school year begins this fall. 

This Week’s Recap:

No posts here from me this week, but I did explain how to get more back on your tax return over at the Young & Thrifty blog.

From the archives: I did the math on your investment fees and the results weren’t pretty.

Over on Rewards Cards Canada – My experience using Airbnb vs. Hotels.

Promo of the Week:

I mentioned using Aeroplan miles to get to Maui and back, plus to rent a car for a week on our vacation. The fastest way to earn Aeroplan miles is typically by signing up for a Aeroplan branded credit card.

The TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card ticks all the boxes for me. When you apply by March 2nd you can earn 15,000 Aeroplan miles with your first purchase, plus an additional 15,000 Aeroplan miles when you spend $1,000 per month for the first three months (5k miles per month). The best part? No annual fee for the first year!

Weekend Reading:

Is Canada heading for a recession in 2020? Here are common causes and symptoms of a recession, plus eight ways to recession-proof your finances.

A husband and wife have very different risk tolerances. How can they get on the same page when it comes to investing?

How Millionaire Teacher Andrew Hallam fell for a Ponzi scheme while talking to a stranger:

We all make mistakes when assessing other people. Defaulting to truth is a weakness. But it’s also a human strength. Perhaps, when making financial decisions, we should let the facts speak louder than the salesperson’s face.”

Tesla stock has been soaring lately and Wealthsimple dug into how clients on its Trade platform bought into the hype.

Interesting, because I switched to Wealthsimple Trade for precisely the opposite reason: to get zero-commission trades for my one-ticket ETF portfolio.

A Wealth of Common Sense blogger Ben Carlson shares some thoughts on young people getting into day trading.

An explosive article in the Globe and Mail last week suggested the robo-advisor model has been a massive flop across North America as assets haven’t flowed in as quickly as experts anticipated. Rob Carrick explains why robo-advisors beat these human advisors – sorry, salespeople – any day.

The Evidence Investor shares a lesson still worth learning three centuries later:

“The South Sea Bubble should stand as a reminder that successful investing is not about chasing the most exciting opportunities. It is actually the opposite: be boring. Diversify, keep your costs down, and let the market do its work over time.”

Sequence risk is the risk that investment returns happen in an unlucky order. It can make or break portfolios and this post shows how to protect against it.

Is it smart to hold a single exchange traded fund in your RRSP? Dan Bortolotti explains how to use an all-in-one ETF portfolio.

Here’s a very interesting post on retirement and the non-smoothing of our consumption of leisure

Jonathan Clements has devoted his entire adult life to learning about money, but there are some key lessons that only came to him recently. Here are 10 things he wishes he’d been told in his 20s—or told more loudly, so he actually listened.

Finally, here’s John Heinzl with a thoughtful article on preparing your portfolio after a spouse is gone.

Mahalo, and have a great weekend everyone!

Weekend Reading: Free CPP Calculator Edition

By Robb Engen | February 8, 2020 |
Posted in
Weekend Reading: Free CPP Calculator Edition
One of the biggest decisions retirees face is when to take their Canada Pension Plan (CPP) benefits. There’s a case to be made for deferring CPP until age 70, or taking CPP at 60, or somewhere in between (like the standard age 65). 

You can view your estimated monthly CPP benefits online using your My Service Canada Account. But the information can be highly inaccurate. For instance, the My Service Canada estimate assumes you’ll continue earning your current salary until age 65. this can make your estimates either too high or too low, depending on your actual future earnings. 

But questions abound when other variables are introduced. Like, what happens if you retire early and have a period of five or more years with no (or low) contributions to CPP? 

For years Doug Runchey has offered a fee-for-service to help Canadians get an accurate estimate of their own CPP benefits. This business started very small but has since grown into nearly a full-time role for Mr. Runchey. He says that’s mainly because, “Service Canada is doing a terrible job of providing accurate information to many groups of people.”

Mr. Runchey has now partnered with Certified Financial Planner David Field to create a free CPP Calculator to give Canadians a simple and highly accurate way to calculate their Canada Pension Plan benefits.

“View the calculator here at www.cppcalculator.ca.”

I reached out to Mr. Runchey to get his feedback on why he (and partner David Field) created this free CPP Calculator for Canadians and what makes it different from the My Service Canada estimates.

Mr. Runchey said the free CPP calculator is different from the My Service Canada Statement of Contributions and online estimates for two main reasons, as follows:

Key Differentiators for the free CPP Calculator:

Future earnings – Our calculator uses whatever you enter for future earnings, whereas Service Canada pretends that the person is eligible for CPP in the following month, which has the same effect as projecting their average lifetime earnings through until age 65. Depending upon the person’s actual future earnings, that can make Service Canada’s estimates either too high or too low, but rarely is it accurate unless they are very close to being eligible for CPP.

Enhanced CPP changes – Our calculator includes the enhanced CPP increases for earnings in 2019 and subsequent years, whereas Service Canada’s estimates do not. This can make the Service Canada estimates far too low if the contributor will be working several years after 2019.

Variables not considered in the free CPP Calculator (or My Service Canada)

There are also other factors that neither our calculator nor the My Service Canada estimates currently deal with. It is my hope that our calculator will deal with at least some of these situations in the not-too-distant future, although for now they still require my full-service calculations, as follows:

Child-rearing dropout  (CRDO) – Neither our calculations nor Service Canada’s estimates include the CRDO. This makes both of our results too low for anyone who can claim the CRDO. This is possibly our highest priority for improving our free calculator.

Post-retirement benefits (PRBs) – Neither our calculations nor Service Canada’s estimates consider the value of PRBs. This doesn’t affect the amount of the regular retirement pension calculations, but it does affect the breakeven analysis.

Combined retirement/survivor’s benefits – Neither our calculations nor Service Canada’s estimates consider the impact of the combined benefit calculations rules. These are quite complex and might never be part of our online calculator. They will remain part of my full-service business though, and they may transition to David’s business line at some point in the future.

CPP disability – Neither our calculations nor Service Canada’s estimates consider the impact of someone previously or presently receiving a CPP disability pension. We hope to include this in some future version of our calculator.

Mr. Runchey hopes the free CPP calculator will succeed so that he can begin to transition to semi-retirement again, and yet hopefully still enjoy an income from CPP calculations.

“Our CPP calculator is presently free, but hopefully once we get it fully up and running, we can start charging enough to cover expenses and realize a bit of profit from it. I have been told that my current full-service fees are quite low, but the eventual fees for our online calculator should likely be considerably lower.”

You can get an accurate CPP estimate using the free CPP Calculator here. For more complicated situations, I highly recommend reaching out to Doug directly for a full-service and personalized CPP estimate (including multiple scenarios and calculations).

This Week(s) Recap

I wrote the following posts over the past two weeks:

My wife’s trusty navigation helped me get over my anxiety about driving in another country. If you’re anxious about managing or investing your money, maybe you need a financial navigator.

This one’s for the anti-RRSP crowd – why RRSPs are not a government tax scam.

Credit card balance protection, mortgage life insurance, and other big financial rip-offs to avoid.

Over on the Young & Thrifty blog I wrote about the best GIC rates in Canada.

I also explained how to transfer a credit card balance wisely.

Weekend Reading:

Our friends at Credit Card Genius always have the most up-to-date list of the best credit card offers, sign-up bonuses, and deals of the month.

Want to know what’s happening with the Aeroplan loyalty program now that Air Canada is set to launch its own program later this year? The Prince of Travel has got you covered in this informative video:

From a former ad-man, why Wealthsimple and Questrade are winning the ad war this RRSP season.

Some index-embracing investors feel the need to ‘graduate’ their portfolio from TD e-Series funds to a lower cost portfolio of ETFs. Michael James explains the trade-offs of switching portfolios.

Des Odjick says the most damaging thing you can do for your money is believe that you’re bad at money.

Behavioural economist Shlomo Benartzi how digital design is helping to drive consumer behaviour.

Nick Maggiulli goes after the FIRE crowd’s cost cutting obsession, calling it the biggest lie in personal finance.

“But none of these things are the actual reason for how they retired early.  Because the actual reason is either (1) earning a high income or (2) having an absurdly low level of spending, or both.”

On the flip side, Rob Carrick says it’s time to stop acting like retirement past age 65 is a failure.

An incredibly thought-provoking post by Lawrence Yeo, who says money is the megaphone of identity.

Millionaire Teacher Andrew Hallam wonders if you’ll be ready when stocks lose big.

Mr. Hallam also explained why strategies for happiness boost success and life expectancy.

Speaking of life expectancy, scientists are close to extending a human’s ‘healthy lifespan’. What would you do with 20 extra years?

Four Pillar Freedom breaks down the biggest misunderstanding about compound interest:

“Compound interest actually sucks early on. The magic only arrives in the later years.”

PWL Capital’s Ben Felix digs into the concept of socially responsible investing in his latest Common Sense Investing video:

Some great examples of retirement income and withdrawal strategies to keep more money in your pocket.

A question I hope to be able to answer for myself soon: I’ve maxed out my TFSA and RRSP. Now what?

Canadians used to live in a country that built housing with everyone in mind. What happened?

One answer could be here – How much does homeownership really cost?

Finally, the brilliant Morgan Housel explains why ‘easy’ comes in different flavours.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Weekend Reading: Free CPP Calculator Edition