Guide trading online
Customer Service When picking up the phone or emailing a broker, is a well trained customer service representative ready to assist?
How any investor is treated as a client is more important to some than others. Trading Tools Trading successfully is a lot easier when investors have great tools at their disposal. A top stock broker should offer access to a wide variety of trade tools to help make the most of each and every trade. From real-time streaming quotes to last sale tickers, quality stock scanners, mobile trading apps, and level II quotes to name a few.
Strong tools are essential for active investors. Account Minimums Some brokers allow you to open an account with no minimum deposit while others may require several thousand dollars. Also know that some brokers require higher minimums to gain access to premium platforms, functionality, and personalized support. Market Research A good online broker will provide a variety of market research tools. The rule of thumb here is simple: Investment Options A online stock broker should offer access to not only trading stocks, but also a strong selection of no load mutual funds, commission free ETFs, and complex options.
Other unique investment offerings to look for could include direct market routing, conditional orders, futures trading, and forex trading. Other Fees Fees beyond trade commissions include inactivity fees common with active trading brokers such as Interactive Brokers, Lightspeed, and TradeStation and IRA fees for having a retirement account. Just like a bank account, stock brokers also make a portion of their profits off miscellaneous fees. There is no reason why you should pay an annual fee to have an retirement account.
If managing your own portfolio is not of interest, all full-service brokers offer optional advisory services as well. Furthermore, robo-advisors such as Betterment are growing in popularity. Once again, the experience at larger established brokers is going to be superior to smaller brokers. Banking Larger online brokers offer banking and other financial services. This goes beyond money market accounts and CDs.
Checking accounts, mortgages, debit cards, and credit cards can also be offered. The leader in this space is, hands down, Bank of America Merrill Edge.
Account Security Because of the web today, all online brokers invest heavily into account security. Just like shopping online and choosing a trustworthy website to purchase from, the best bet is to choose a well-known, established broker for your portfolio. Pulling quotes and observing fundamental data can also serve as another good source of exposure.
Beware though, over time you may find that a lot of the investing shows on TV are more of a distraction and are overall full of junk recommendations.
This is a natural evolution; you are not alone! Consider paid subscriptions Paying for research and analysis can be both educational and useful. Some investors may find watching or observing market professionals to be more beneficial than trying to apply newly learned lessons themselves.
There are a slew of paid subscription sites available across the web, the key is in finding the right ones for you. View a list of the services I use use myself. Two well-respected services include Investors. Go to seminars, take classes Seminars can provide valuable insight into the overall market and specific investment types.
Most seminars will focus on one specific aspect of the market and how the speaker has found success utilizing their own strategies over the years. Examples include Dan Zanger and Mark Minervini. Not all seminars have be paid for either.
Some seminars are provided free which can be a beneficial experience, just be conscious of the sales pitch that will almost always come at the end. When it comes to classes, these are typically pricey, but like seminars, can also be very beneficial. Buy your first stock or practice trading through a simulator With your online broker account setup, the best way to get started it to simply take the plunge and make your first trade.
If trading with real capital is not possible initially, consider using a stock simulator for virtual trading. A variety of online brokers offer virtual trading for practicing. One of the most common mistakes traders make is to go all-in and try to score big with a full portfolio position out of the gate. This is an often painful mistake and why many new investors suffer big losses early on. Proper portfolio allocation is extremely important. For more tips of wisdom, see my article, 60 Stock Tips for Investment Success.
For the majority, trading will be losing proposition. Warren Buffett, the greatest investor of all-time, recommends individual investors simply passive index instead of trying to beat the market trading on their own. Interested to see what stocks Warren Buffett recommends for your portfolio? Sign up for our free market recaps Join over 22, other investors and receive our weekly posts via email using the subscribe box below or on the sidebar.
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