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Saturday, January 09, 2010

Choosing A Good Stock Investment Broker

If you want to invest in the stock market, you need to find a stock broker. Most people just use brokers that either their friends or family use or they see an advertisement on TV. Most of the time, these brokers are just fine. But with a little bit of research, you should be able to find the best stock broker for you. Here are the factors that you should consider when shopping around for a broker:

Place trades through the Internet

Some brokers allow you to place trades via phone, in-person, or through the Internet. Whatever the case is, the key is that you need to be able to place a trade online. Placing a trade online will generally cost you between $7-$15, whereas placing a trade over the phone or in-person can cost you anywhere between $25-$100. The difference in savings between making an $8 trade and a $10 trade is nowhere near the difference in making a $10 trade and a $50 trade. So whatever you do, make trades online.

Any advice or research they give is generally useless. Don't pay much for it

Some firms justify higher prices based on 'personalized research' or 'excellent investment advice.' Almost always, these perks are worth little. Again, if it's the difference between making $8 trades with no help and $10 trades with some help, go with the $10 trades if you want the advice or research. But don't be paying $50 a trade and up for research and advice. Chances are you are best served just investing in index funds or ETFs anyway.

Use a beginner-friendly broker

There are some brokers that are more geared for frequent traders and professionals, such as Interactive Brokers. There are others that are geared more for beginners, such as TD Ameritrade. For most novice investors, it is much much better to go with beginner-friendly brokers. The brokers geared for professionals offer lower trading fees and some advanced tools, but this will most likely just confuse beginning investors. Investment firms such as TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, etc. are very easy to use, and their trading costs are still relatively low as long as you use internet trades.
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