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 Post subject: Online Broker Recommendations - Thoughts and Comments?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2007 1:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:52 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Indiana, USA
I'm young, still in school, and have just become interested in personal finances over the past year or so. I work full time on top of school and have been saving money and trying to invest as well. I have both an online savings and an Electric Orange account with ING and have been making small purchases in various ETFs over at Sharebuilder. I was basically attracted to Sharebuilder since I would be contributing small amounts at a time and didn't want the extra money that wouldn't cover a complete share to go to waste...not only that, but I basically had no money to go toward a minimum balance and have been usually buying in $200 chunks. I've been pretty happy with them so far, but know that I'll eventually out-grow them as a broker and wondered which ones you GRS guys would recommend?

From reading around and looking at other reviews, it seems like a natural progression for me would be Sharebuilder -> Scottrade -> Fidelity, on a long-term scale...or something like that. I do like ETFs in general, and imagine I'll be sticking with them for a lot of my investment needs. In case anybody is curious, my asset allocation looks something like this right now (although I've been holding off on the REITs for a bit until I see how the housing market plays out in the near future):

Code:
35%   VTI   Vanguard Total Stock               Domestic Large Blend
10%   IWM   iShares Russell 2000               Domestic Small Blend
25%   EFA   iShares MSCI EAFE Index            Foreign Large Blend
10%   VWO   Vanguard Emerging Markets Stock    Diversified Emerging Markets
10%   AGG   iShares Lehman Aggregate Bond      Intermediate-Term Bond
10%   RWR   streetTRACKS Wilshire REIT Index   Specialty - Real Estate
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
100% - TOTAL


Any thoughts/reviews/recommendations as far as brokers go?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:54 pm
Posts: 11
If you (or your spouse, or parents...) are military, USAA is an all-around great financial center. I could talk about any number of things that they offer which are terrific, but I'll opt to stay on topic.

I switched to them from E*Trade a few months back as part of a larger effort to consolidate my stuff, and I am glad I did. I currently pay $8 for trades (and will pay less in the future now that I've switched to electronic docs) and they pretty much cover everything I need.

The only issue I have with it is that my portfolio view isn't calculated real-time, i.e., when I view it, it doesn't show the current exact value (or even delayed), but rather the value from the last business day's closing. This isn't such a concern to me, though, really, I don't day-trade, and I can get a real-time stock quote if I really need.


Here's a good article mentioning USAA, but more importantly, makes recommendations as to what you should look for in a brokerage.

http://www.forbes.com/2007/03/27/brokers-usaa-stocks-pf-in_mr_0327aaiibrokers_inl.html


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:31 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:19 am
Posts: 394
Location: New Jersey
You can get a free, independent report that profiles 12 popular online brokerages at http://www.brokeradviser.com/

I really like FOLIOfn http://www.foliofn.com for ETF investing, it's not included in the report but has similar features to Sharebuilder. It's not for everyone, but I think it makes maintaining you investment portfolio incredibly simple. The cost may be more or less than Sharebuilder depending on the number of monthly purchases and how often you rebalance. If you have more than one account, FOLIOfn becomes a real bargain.

I've also heard good things about zecco.com, also not included in the report, for buying ETF's with no commission, but I have no first hand experience with them.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 3:54 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:52 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Indiana, USA
Aside from strictly ETF-centric brokers, who do you guys use/like, and why?


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:12 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:03 am
Posts: 872
Location: Taishan, Guangdong, China
Wells Fargo -- 100 free trades per year per account type w/ combined balance of 25K+.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:16 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:58 pm
Posts: 7
I went sharebuilder, because as a Costco Executive member, I get a 25% rebate on montly fees every quarter. Also, because I can purchase stocks monthly for $4. Granted, to sell it is closer to $15, but I usually buy and hold.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:39 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:43 am
Posts: 21
Location: San Diego, California
MossySF wrote:
Wells Fargo -- 100 free trades per year per account type w/ combined balance of 25K+.


What about for those of us who have less than 25K to invest right now...?

~Jamie


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:35 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 2:03 am
Posts: 872
Location: Taishan, Guangdong, China
Jely520 wrote:
MossySF wrote:
Wells Fargo -- 100 free trades per year per account type w/ combined balance of 25K+.


What about for those of us who have less than 25K to invest right now...?

~Jamie


For taxable accounts, Zecco gives you 40 free trades per month with no fees. IRAs, Roth IRAs are $40 annual. The only question is how long Zecco can continue to offer free trades. But take advantage of it while you can and build up your balance to aim for WF 25K.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:23 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Portland, OR
Scottrade is OK. Don't keep any cash in the account though as their interest rate is beyond awful. Every time I think about ditching Scottrade they do something that improves the service. Sort of like how ING did with Electric Orange. I was ready to go and then...Boom they launched a reason to stay.


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