How To Buy Walmart (WMT) Stock

Since its launch in 1945, Walmart has become one of the largest and best-known companies in the world. Today it operates almost 11,000 stores and serves more than 240 million customers every week.

Even in the age of Amazon.com, Walmart’s stock has steadily risen, growing almost 100% over the past five years. If that kind of upswing has you ready to load up on WMT, here’s everything you need to know to buy Walmart stock.

How to Buy Walmart (WMT) Stock

1. Decide Between a Direct Stock Purchase Plan and a Brokerage Account

The easiest way to buy Walmart stock is by using a brokerage account or investment app. If you don’t already have one, look for a provider with no trading fees and low (or no!) minimum investment requirements.

Not sure where to get started? You can use Forbes Advisor’s lists of the best investment apps and best online brokerages as a starting point.

Walmart is also somewhat unique in the fact that it offers a direct stock purchase plan. Before brokerages slashed trading fees, some people preferred to buy their stocks through direct stock purchase plans, which allowed them to buy shares directly from the company or a transfer agent, avoiding commission fees by eliminating the need for a brokerage.

Nowadays, plans like these have become less popular due to the prevalence of fee-free trading platforms. It may be more expensive to buy stock through a company’s direct stock purchase plan these days. To buy Walmart stock directly, for example, you’ll currently have to pay a $20 one-time setup fee plus $1 each time you make a subsequent investment.

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2. Select an Account Type

Before you buy Walmart stock, you also have to decide what kind of account you want to hold it in. Here are your two best options:

  • Retirement accounts. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) provide tax advantages when you use them to save for retirement, which can help your nest egg grow more over time. They come with a big catch, however. In most cases, if you withdraw money from them before you are at least 59 ½, you’ll owe a 10% penalty plus any applicable taxes.
  • Taxable accounts. Taxable investment accounts don’t offer the tax benefits of an IRA or 529, but they also don’t carry the same limitations. You can withdraw funds at any time, for any reason. This means they provide the ultimate flexibility when it comes to building general purpose wealth.

3. Calculate How Much to Invest

Before you buy WMT, you’ll want to think carefully over how much you can invest in the company. To help you figure out that ideal amount, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s your budget? You don’t want to stretch yourself too thin financially. Make sure you’re able to cover your expenses and are contributing to your retirement savings and building an emergency fund before you start investing for other purposes. Once you’ve met these goals, invest any additional funds in individual stocks, like Walmart.
  • What is Walmart’s current price? Some brokerages require you buy whole shares of stocks, meaning it’s helpful to keep stock prices in mind when investing. Over the past year, Walmart’s stock has regularly run over $130 a share. If you aren’t ready or willing to put that much into one stock, you’ll want to use a brokerage or investment app that allows you to buy fractional shares, or portions of individual stocks.
  • What other investments do you have? Walmart probably won’t be your only investment, so you should think through how it’ll work with and complement the other companies and funds in your portfolio.
  • What research have you done? Before investing money in Walmart (or any company, for that matter), you should research the company’s financials. Walmart, as a publicly traded company, is required to post annual and quarterly reports about its finances. You can view these documents on Walmart’s investor relations site or using the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) database.
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4. Place an Order

To buy Walmart stock, you simply have to log into your investment account and enter Walmart’s ticker symbol—WMT—and the number of shares or dollar amount you wish to purchase.

Depending on the broker, you may be able to choose how your order is filled, most commonly as a market order or a limit order. Market orders are processed immediately at the current market price. Limit orders only go through when the stock reaches a predetermined price. The latter can be helpful if you’re trying to buy a stock likely to experience wild price swings or if you only want to buy shares at a certain price.

Because Walmart is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), its trading hours are Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. ET. Your brokerage may provide access to extended trading hours before or after these times.

5. Know When (and How) to Sell

Whether you’re investing for your retirement or some other goal, eventually the time comes to sell your Walmart shares.

To do so, you just have to reverse the process you used earlier to buy your shares: Log into your investment account and enter Walmart’s ticker symbol and the amount or dollar value you want to sell. You may also have the opportunity to process the sale as a market or limit order.

If you’ve made profit, you will likely owe taxes, unless you’re investing in a tax-advantaged account. If you expect to receive significant income, you may want to meet with a tax professional to discuss the best ways to manage your capital gains taxes.

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Alternative Ways to Invest in Walmart

Though investing in individual shares of a company may seem tempting, it can be incredibly risky as it centralizes your money in just a few companies. This can certainly expose you to greater highs than you might get otherwise—but it also opens you up to equally great losses.

That’s why experts typically recommend diversifying your investing dollars by buying index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that are composed of hundreds or even thousands of stocks. This lets you avoid putting all of your eggs in one proverbial basket without having to deal with the upkeep of managing a portfolio of a comparable amount of stocks.

Luckily, it’s incredibly easy to find Walmart in index funds and ETFs. Because it’s a member of the S&P 500, most S&P 500 funds allocate at least a half of a percent of their holdings to WMT.