Things to Consider when Choosing an Online Broker Site

The Internet is flooded with information on how to invest your money, including advice on choosing an online broker for your account.  The problem lies with sorting through all the available information in order to make an educated decision on which broker to choose.  Only you know what type of investor you are and how you want to handle your money, so it’s completely up to you to make the best decision on what company to do your investing with.

Sticking to the basics is the best way to begin.  Do your homework.  Always research out the options available to you by looking at the sites and seeing what services they offer.  A great way to get started is to check out online broker review sites to see who is making the cut for the top ten.  Check out more than one of these sites because everyone has a different opinion on where to go.  Make notes as you go on what you like and don’t like.  This will give you a good bit of information to get started with.

What Type of Investor Are You?

The first decision you need to make is to decide what sort of investor you are.  If you’re a person who prefers to do his or her own research on investment options, then you probably will prefer a discount broker site.  If you are new to the industry or just someone who needs help in making your investing decisions, you probably want to go with a full service broker.  The full service broker will charge more fees but you also gain more one on one help with learning how to make your investing decision and are using an expert for help.  The discount broker generally charges fewer fees, which is useful to those who enjoy the idea of doing their own investing or are already experienced.

Is a Wide-Variety of Investing Options Available?

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You don’t want to be limited in the types of investment options offered so look for firms that have a wide variety to choose from.  Stocks, options, futures, mutual funds, retirement plans, education saving options, municipal bonds, CDs and more are all options you want to have for placing your money.  Choosing which of these types to invest in is up to you because it depends on the amount of risk you are willing to take with your money.

What are the Fees?

Always look at all the fees the online broker charges.  Some companies may seem very inexpensive upfront but when you look at the fine print, you find all sorts of extra add-ons.  Since the fees add up to more money you’re spending, you want to be very aware of what those fees are such as account maintenance fees, competitive trade and margin rates and penalties for taking money out of account are just a few things to look at.

Does the Broker have Great Support?

Check out the support options the online broker has.  Is the access very limited or are there multiple options for making contact to get support such as email, phone, forums, live chat, Skype or other options.  Do a test run and make contact using all the support options to see how the broker responds.  This is all-important because you never know when you are going to need help with your account to make an important buy or trade.  Not having adequate support can cost you money.

What Tools do you have Access Too?

Always look at the amount of tools the online broker has available to use.  Consider if they are easy to use and access.  You want to see tools for educational purposes as well as monitoring tools.  Articles and blogs written by experts, instantly updated streaming news, investment calculators, analyst reports, real-time charts and graphs, and more are all tools that you want at your fingertips.

Will the Broker Work for Your Skill and Investment Levels?

Finally, see if the online broker is good for your skill and investment level.  You don’t want to be attempting to use a site that is setup for advanced investors when you are a beginner.  Many online brokers have set up their sites to be useable by all sorts of investors, this is good for everyone because of the amount of data and tools available for everyone to use.  Even advanced investors are always learning.  Check to see if the broker has minimum balance requirements.  This can be the make or break decision for many investors, so make sure the site you are considering works with your investment levels.

Correctly choosing your online broker will help to take off some of the stress of investing.  Most investing is a gamble on how to make more money by using your money, so you want to have the best amount of tools and support available to you for helping to make those decisions.  Spend the time doing the research and you will make a great decision on which online broker to use.

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