So you’ve done your homework and decided that becoming a DIY investor is right for you. Sometimes though, getting an account opened can be complicated or confusing with some of the questions they ask you. This blog post will help demystify the account opening process by showing you step by step how to open an account with Questrade that you can use to manage your investments yourself.

Read on as I guide you through the following steps:

  1. Go to Questrade and start the process
  2. Select either Self-directed or Questwealth (robo-advisor)
  3. Create a user account
  4. Fill out the questionnaire
  5. Build your profile
  6. Answer account questions
  7. E-sign documents
  8. Fund your account

1. Get to the right place

This will be the easiest part, go to Questrade’s website and click open account in the top right corner. I’ve made it even easier for you by providing this link here.

Note: The above link is an affiliate link and I will earn a referral fee if you decide to follow it. You by no means have to use this link and the rest of this guide will be just as helpful without it.

A True DIY Investor

2. Choose Self-Directed or Questwealth

You may already know which type of account you want to open but for those that don’t I’ll breifly go over each one.

An individual margin account is their basic non-registered account. I don’t recommend using this account to invest with unless you have maxed out your TFSA and RRSP contribution limits.

Forex and CFD accounts are there for trading purposes only and we don’t trade here (at least not with our investment portfolio) so just ignore that one.

The TFSA and RSP are the ones you are most likely interested in. They are going to give your investments their best bang for their buck. If you are unsure about which to choose between, I go over them in detail in this post here.

Just below the self-directed accounts is the Questwealth option which is Questrade’s robo-advisor service. You will still have the option to choose between a TFSA, RRSP, or non-registered account but only after you fill out their risk assessment questions which we will get to shortly.

Whichever option you choose, make sure to read and accept the agreement on the right hand side if you got to Questrade from the link I provided earlier, and then click open now.

Accepting my affiliate offer

3. Create a user account

The 2nd easiest step will be creating a username and password for you to access your accounts. This is pretty self-explanatory so I won’t waste anymore space on it. Moving on…

4. Fill out the questionnaire (Questwealth only)

If you chose a Questwealth account it will walk you through a series of questions to gauge your risk tolerance, a topic I plan to cover in a future blog post. For now, just work through the questions and if you ever get hung up you can click on the “Why do we ask” to get more information.

Once you are done with the questionnaire they will recommend a portfolio they believe will suit you best. You are allowed to review your questions if you feel you don’t like the asset mix they suggest.

If you are happy with the portfolio suggestion, you can proceed to select an account type. Refer back to step two for a brief outline of account types.

Questwealth simplifies investing

5. Build your profile

Next up is entering all the personal information that banks have to collect. First you will enter your personal and contact information. Again, this part is pretty simple but you might notice if you have a spouse it will ask for their information as well, which they have to do for legal reasons. They’re nice enough to explain why if you click “Why do we ask?” if you’re interested. 

You’ll also need to fill out your employment information which is required by banks to make sure you aren’t trying to do anything you shouldn’t be doing, like laundering money or illegal trading activities. Don’t worry, they won’t be phoning your employer. They do have some questions in this section and if they apply to you then obviously check “Yes” and fill out the fields, but if it sounds just like a bunch of gibberish to you then the answer is “No”. 

The financial section is just a quick net worth statement. Start by entering all of your personal income, not including your spouse. Then fill in your liquid assets, fixed assets and total liabilities. It will then compute a quick net worth statement for you. They conveniently have examples next to the fields if you are unsure which term means what.

Next for income tax reasons, you will enter citizenship data and click a couple of checkboxes for certifying statements.

A typical bank application

6. Answer account questions

If you’ve made it this far Questrade will actually have an account number generated for you by now. You will need to click on “Set up Account” to start the rest of the process. 

Under account details you will be asked if you want to trade options. Trading is not investing so the answer is “No.” For the purpose you are allowed to select multiple options so if more than one apply go ahead and select the ones that do. They also want to know what your initial deposit will be and while the form doesn’t specify right now, before you can place any orders you will need to accumulate a minimum $1000 balance.

Next, give or decline consent for shareholder information to be sent your way. I always say yes because I like printed materials but it’s entirely up to you. This is for investor information only and you will not be joining a mailing list for marketing purposes.

After that, you will need to accept or decline the reminder for adding persons of financial interest. I recommend doing so as I believe any asset account deserves a beneficiary in the event that something should happen to me but that is entirely up to you.

Lastly, read and accept the account agreements to unlock the next step.

Almost done

7. E-sign documents and upload ID

The last thing to take care of before you get to put some money in your account is to sign the documents and verify your ID. Questrade makes this very convenient by letting you E-sign the documents and upload a picture of your ID. If you click through the green buttons it highlights where you need to initial and sign and offers a digital signature you can accept or draw your own. 

Once your documents are signed all that’s left is uploading your ID. You can either take a picture and upload the file to their system or use the QR code to skip the hassle of uploading yourself. It will take a couple of business days for them to verify your ID so while you’re waiting you may as well…

The convenience of technology

8. Finally fund your account

I know it’s been a fair amount of form filling and checkboxing but we are almost done. Thankfully Questrade offers several convenient ways to get the money into your account. Choose the one that you are most comfortable with and then wait patiently for a couple of days for the funds to arrive and your ID to be checked.

A quick note on funding your account, be sure to not go over your contribution limits if you already have other registered accounts. You can choose to transfer an account completely but you may be subject to various fees. If you need help determining whether you might be charged please comment below or reach out here if you’d rather remain confidential.

Last but not least… far from least

Now you’re ready

Congratulations! You’ve just taken the first step in becoming a true DIY investor. You have your Questrade account opened and some money heading it’s way. Before you know it you will be placing your first order and soon be managing your investment portfolio yourself.

If you’d like to see more posts like this guiding you through the basics, or have any questions or hang-ups getting started, please let me know in the comments section below so I can better help you out.