At Simplifying Finance, we use various resources as tools to help us succeed as DIY investors. First and foremost, we believe that self-education is incredibly important. Without the power of these tools, we would never have been able to start our own journey into the DIY finance world. Because of this, we have compiled a list of resources for beginner investors to help you get started.

We have used every resource on this list and will only recommend tools we have explored thoroughly and use regularly. Nevertheless, it is important to disclose that for some of these tools, we do act as an affiliate and will receive a commission if you purchase through our links. However, we would never recommend an item or service that we don’t use ourselves!

Brokerage Account

Every investor needs a brokerage account. It’s where you can make trades with most of your investments as well as hold cash in wait of an opportunity.

The best DIY brokerage in Canada, QuestradeI currently use Questrade as my brokerage, mostly because of the low fees. To make trades on Questrade, you simply pay 4.95 for each trade. On top of this, buying ETFs is free! (Some ECN fees apply but they are marginal.) One thing to watch out for with a broker like Questrade is the inactivity fee. To avoid this, simply make one trade per quarter or hold $5,000 in combined equity.

I am a Questrade affiliate, so I will receive commission if you open an account through my link. However, I do use Questrade to make my own trades and I believe it is the best discount brokerage in Canada for DIY investors. Plus, if you use my affiliate link, you’ll receive $50.00 in free trades!

Reading List

41lNILAEAfL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_The Intelligent Investor is the bible of Value Investing. This book is the first point of contact many aspiring investors have. For anyone who doesn’t know, Ben Graham was Warren Buffett’s professor at Columbia and is considered to be the “father of value investing.”

For me, this book laid out exactly why value investing is the best method of investing and how it works. Some people claim this book is outdated but I believe that most of the lessons learned in it are still relevant today and can still be applied. The writing in this book can be a little bit dense and dry but it is packed with important information. Click the image on the left to purchase from Amazon.

41Rhos+cY1L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The New Buffettology provides a more modern take on value investing. Mary Buffett and David Clark dissect Warren Buffett’s philosophy regarding stock selection, planning, and investments in general. These two do a decent job of breaking things down to our level, which makes it easier to implement since we don’t have the billions of dollars that Buffett does.

Put in simpler terms, this book is a little bit easier to understand than the Intelligent Investor and is an equally good place to start. The best part about this book is that it also includes some of the equations Buffett uses to calculate the intrinsic value of a stock! Click the image to find it on Amazon.

The Four Pillars of Investing by William J. Bernstein. Lessons for Building A Winning PortfolioThe Four Pillars of Investing by William J. Bernstein is a book focusing on building the best portfolio possible. I almost didn’t include this book on my recommended list, simply because Bernstein’s overly cynical language can be depressing at some points. I also don’t agree with his definition of “value stocks.”

However, his thoughts on the market and his extra-conservative investing approach is still worth studying. This book contains a ton of diagrams and graphs and is written rather dryly for mostly American investors. However, the examples he provides are excellent supplementary material that help drill home the concepts of risk and return.

The Value Trap Indicator by Andrew Sather

Andrew Sather’s ‘Value Trap Indicator’ is a bit of an unorthodox addition to the reading list. I first heard about Andrew from the Money Tree Investing Podcast and thought he had great insight to many aspects of the stock market. After this, I found his website eInvesting for Beginners and loved his high quality content. I will admit that I was skeptical about an equation that claims to prevent bad investments, but once I took the plunge and purchased it, I have had no regrets. He has truly developed an equation that allows you to avoid making critical mistakes in the stock market. I don’t make an addition to my portfolio without running the stock through this equation. His product currently has 3 pricing options, each of which can be found here. If you’re still not convinced, Andrew has provided us with a 25% off promo code! If you type in ‘simplifyingfinance’ you will receive 25% off your order!

Check back regularly for more additions to the reading list!


In order to make any investment selection, you have to do the research first. I prefer to stick with two main websites that I feel provide a ton of surface value. Then, when I have narrowed a stock down, I go more in depth.

Google Finance-Doing research is a major part of investing. 99% of the time, my first point of contact is Google Finance. I use this website because it is so simple to use and most of the baseline tests discussed in our blog can be checked at a glance here.

Morningstar Financial-Once a stock passes the baseline tests I usually go to Morningstar. This website is great when you are trying to dig deep for more information on a company. The depth of their information is usually mind-boggling and a little bit intimidating at first. Once you figure out how to navigate the key ratios and financial statements however, you tend to have 10 years of financials to work with!

Sedar-Not the most user friendly site, Sedar allows you to search up the income reports of any business. This can be useful for those who want to take their time and comb through financial reports thoroughly (which I recommend). This is typically one of the last steps in stock analysis and provides an in-depth look at a business and its prospective future.


Podcasts allow you to learn on the go. Whether you are in your car, on a bus, exercising, or just walking, podcasts offer a chance to gain valuable knowledge while on the move. Listed below are some of the podcasts that helped me when I first started learning about personal finance. Try swapping out your playlist with one of these for a bit and see how much you learn!

Money Tree Investing Podcast for BeginnersMoney Tree Investing Podcast-This was the first podcast I started listening to about finance. It really opened up my mind and provided the necessary information to begin investing. If you are a beginner, I would recommend starting from the beginning, where many basic concepts are introduced.

Value Investing BootcampValue Investing Bootcamp by Nick Kraakman-I found this podcast through the MTIP, this is another great place to start for beginners. Nick Kraakman does an excellent job of explaining what value investing is and why it works.Even better, this podcast is broken down into bite sized portions that only last 10-15 minutes!

The Investor’s PodcastThe Investor's Podcast by Preston Pysh and Stig Broderson-Another beginner’s podcast. Preston Pysh and Stig Broderson are able to acquire an all-star list of guests on their site. Again, their first few episodes are excellent in explaining the basic metrics and concepts you need to understand before you begin investing. These two are superb at breaking things down and were part of the inspiration for this site.

The Smart Passive Income PodcastSmart Passive Income Podcast with Pat Flynn-This is a bonus podcast for anybody interested in starting an online business. Pat Flynn is the all-knowing expert in the online micro-business world. The value that Pat is able to provide in each episode is exceptional and he gets some of the best minds in the internet business world to come on with him.