Picking the Right Stock Trading Account
Charles Schwab, Merrill Edge, Fidelity, Scottrade, E*TRADE, Trade King….the list goes on. When it comes to picking you’re a trading account there are so many options that it would be easier if someone just decided for you. Unfortunately there is a little more to it.
Now, now, don’t worry; anyone can pick the correct trading platform. The reason is that they are all pretty much the same.
When it comes to opening your first account for investing there are many options. Most likely your investing strategies will not be all that complicated. Although we all want to be Warren Buffet, we most likely will not be participating in that high level of strategy. This brings us to our first point. Basic is Better. There is no point in searching high and low for fancy software that can make ridiculous charts when in actuality, it does not mean much. Keep it simple…basic is better.
This goes along with our next point. Convenience is King. This not only means that you want to work with something that is easy to use, but what you feel most comfortable with. I would look to whom you bank with. For example I bank with Bank of America. Bank of America owns Merrill Lynch, and Merrill Lynch owns Merrill Edge. I picked Merrill Edge for buying stock because it is easy. I can transfer my money between my checking’s account to my Merrill Edge stock account, and then back into savings, and then to pay my credit card bill, all while sitting on a train playing with my Bank of America app. Many banks now have these easy to use, go anywhere features that make investing more casual.
The next point is that the Money Matters. Many trading accounts have a minimum first deposit, and you should be aware of what that is. Nonetheless, it really doesn’t matter all that much. Many of the companies will waive that requirement because they do not want to loose your business, especially if it is your first trading account. A phone call usually does the trick.
Lastly, and most importantly, F**k Fees. Yes, every time you buy or sell stock there is fee. There are no fees to sign up, but they do have to get paid somehow. The fees add up quickly when you are investing small amount of money. For example, if there is $7 flat fee and you buy 5 different stocks, then you have to pay $35 in fees. That means you are already down $35 and have to make that up! So yeah f**k fees. After looking for a convenient and basic account, look for ones with the lowest fees. Many even give away free trades when you sign up; just be careful that you don’t need to invest a certain amount to qualify.
In the end, whatever you pick you are going to like. Just remember to try to keep it basic and convenient, and be aware of how much you are investing and the costs associated with it. My biggest advice is to just jump in! Be smart, invest in companies that you believe in, but you’ll never do it unless you just open and account and get started. As always remember to save, spend, earn.