Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

This week’s episode starts with a discussion of the few remaining ways people can reduce their tax bills, including contributing more to retirement and health care funds.

Then we pivot to this week’s question from Marco in New York, who says, “I’ve learned a bit about stocks, index funds, mutual funds and so much more, but it’s very overwhelming and I’ve just been circling for weeks trying to decide where to open an account. I was hoping you could dive more into how to select the best platform to invest your money. What makes some better than others? I also currently have a 401(k) through my company. Is it smart to do my personal investing on the same platform to be consistent?”

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Our take

Fortunately, you don’t need to be an expert to open a brokerage account and start investing. It’s a learn-as-you-go project. The important thing is to start as early as you can. The longer you’re in the market, the more wealth you can build.

If you’re overwhelmed, consider starting with an option that does most of the work for you, such as a robo-advisor. These computerized platforms ask you a few questions and then set you up with a portfolio of investments that’s constantly monitored and adjusted.

If you want to be more hands-on, the best investing platform will depend on a number of factors. Some firms specialize in helping new investors learn, with lots of online educational materials and live seminars. If you have a limited budget, you’ll