I have done all of my investing online and so far will continue to do so. Here is a list of firms that I currently have accounts with or may use in the future:
Back in the 1990s, I transferred over money from my former employer’s retirement plan to an E*Trade Rollover IRA. It’s been about 5 or 6 years since I last traded here. I’m glad that E*Trade doesn’t charge an inactivity fee. I like that E*Trade has an ETF program where you can buy/sell ETFs without paying a commission. Outside of that program, the cost to trade ETFs is $9.99. The price to trade stocks and options is also $9.99. People that trade 150 or more times per quarter get that fee reduced to $7.99 per trade.
Just last week, I opened up a Roth IRA account with Merrill Edge. Since Merrill Edge is a part of Bank of America and I’m a Bank of America customer, I may be eligible for 30 free trades per month whenever my BOFA deposit balances are over a certain amount. This is helpful as I don’t like paying commissions (yes, I’m a tightwad). If I don’t qualify for the free trades, the fee is $6.95 for stock and ETF trades. I like that I can transfer money over to my retirement account instantly from my BOFA accounts.
I joined ShareBuilder in 2007 when Costco offered a promotion that new account members would get $50.00. I love free money, so I signed up for an individual account. I like that they have an automatic investment plan where I can create an investment schedule. This way I don’t have to worry about trying to time the market. I can put an order in to purchase $50.00 (or other amount) worth of X stock once a week, twice a month, once a month or even just one-time. My fee is $2.00 to purchase stocks with the automatic investment plan and $5.95 for regular market trades.
I checked their current pricing and they increased their rates since I opened my account. If you opened an account today, your fee for the automatic investment plan would be $3.95 and market trades are $6.95. I like that they didn’t raise my rate when they raised their prices for new account holders.
I don’t have an account with Treasury Direct yet, but will open one if I decide to purchase Treasury Securities. I looked into EE Savings Bonds, but didn’t buy one because the current interest rate is 0.10%. At least it won’t be long before the next interest rate is announced since May is just around the corner.
My plan is to start with $500.00 and then invest $100.00 more each month. Once I get going with it and know what I’m doing, I may increase my monthly contribution. For the next few days, I’m going to continue learning about basic investment strategies with the $50.00 Wealth-Builder seminar and the book, Stock Market Investing for Beginners: Essentials to Start Investing Successfully.
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