You should feel absolutely no pressure to buy a certain number of shares or fill your entire portfolio with a stock all at once. Consider starting small — really small — by purchasing just a single share to get a feel for what it’s like to own individual stocks and whether you have the fortitude to ride through the rough patches with minimal sleep loss. You can add to your position over time as you master the shareholder swagger.
New stock investors might also want to consider fractional shares, a relatively new offering from online brokers that allows you to buy a portion of a stock rather than the full share. What that means is you can get into pricey stocks — companies like Google and Amazon that are known for their four-figure share prices — with a much smaller investment. SoFi Active Investing, Robinhood and Charles Schwab are among the brokers that offer fractional shares. (SoFi Active Investing and Robinhood are NerdWallet advertising partners.)
Many brokerages offer a tool that converts dollar amounts to shares, too. This can be helpful if you have a set amount you’d like to invest — say, $500 — and want to know how many shares that amount could buy.