Investing Online For Novices

Investing online (online trading) can seem a little weird at first, especially if you’ve been using the Internet mainly for less serious things like playing games and updating your Facebook page.. After all, this is your hard-earned money you’re now thinking of transferring to a faceless website. So, notwithstanding that online trading is commonplace nowadays, you may want to learn more about how to set up an account and what to expect next before going further with this. You can experience exactly what’s involved in online trading at the Investing Online Resource Center.( Here you’ll find out what it’s like to set up an account and get starting with trading, and you’ll also find descriptions and rankings of the various online brokerages. If you’re an experienced online investor you may also find the site useful. It covers a variety of topics in-depth, like day trading, after-hours trading, and provides discussion groups and even a complaint center.

The online brokerages most newcomers know are AmeriTrade and E-Trade. Both are pretty good choices for getting started. It costs $2,000 to open an AmeriTrade account and market orders (buys or sales of securities) cost $10.99. You get a trading demo and an investment education section called Investor Basics. E-Trade requires a $1000 deposit and market trades are $14.95 per trade up to 1,000 shares. E-Trade is known for its superabundance of investment tools, charts, reports, and market news.

But I personally use a lesser-known company called. TradeKing. This is a very good service if you want to pay very low fees for trades but still get fast, reliable service. TradeKing is a nationally licensed online broker offering low flat fees ($4.95 per trade and $0.65 per option contract) with no hidden costs or account minimums. It offers almost as much in the way of tools, research, charting, and educational information as E-Trade but at a lower cost. Personally, when investing online, I don’t see the point in paying any more than necessary for a standardized service like stock or bond trading.

Online Brokers for Mainstream Investors

By “mainstream” I mean investors who are experienced in investing online and do ten or twenty trades a year, but usually involving moderate amounts of money. These are average citizens like most of us who use online investing as a convenient way to manage all or a part of their portfolios. So they are looking for user-friendly online service, totally reputable and reliable (of course!), combined with easy access to their funds. But they are not professional investors, nor are they wealthy individuals dealing in six and seven-figure trades.

For experienced mainstream investors. Charles Schwab is an excellent choice. It offers top-notch basic service plus a variety of premium services like access to professional research and fee-for-service financial advisors. Schwab has extremely good customer service and is a premium online brokerage. Trades cost $9.95 and you must depost $10,000 to open an account.
Another possibility is TD Waterhouse. Waterhouse has the distinction of being associated with Goldman, Sachs, the powerhouse investment bank, and can provide you with access the Goldman, Sachs research reports and IPO information. An initial deposit of only $1,000 is needed.