There are three important assets a broker can offer any new investor. The first and most important is an easy-to-use website and platform. After all, what good is trading online if you can’t figure out how to perform research or place an order? Second, naturally, a robust offering of educational content (see the “Education” section for a full breakdown) is always beneficial. Third is having access to virtual trading for practice and hone the art. “X” factors include research, customer service, and community functionality.
Published by Blain Reinkensmeyer on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 .
Based on the above criteria, our No. 1 pick for new investors is TD Ameritrade. New investors have access to an easy-to-use platform and website through Trade Architect, more than 100 branch offices for live seminars, top-notch research and much more. Investools, a premium investing education provider brought to the broker through its acquisition of thinkorswim, is also a great asset. While we have not yet taken any of the $x,xxx premium classes offered, we can say that the free ones provided are interactive, thorough and a great resource. Our one gripe with TD Ameritrade is that its virtual trading capabilities are offered only through the thinkorswim platform, which is not built with new investors in mind. This caveat aside, TD Ameritrade is the best environment for new investors.
Earning our second recommendation based on its platform alone is tradeMONSTER. tradeMONSTER’s web-based platform requires no minimum deposit for access ($2,000 for real-time quotes) and is the perfect atmosphere for any new investor. Whether stock or options trading in a virtual or real environment, the platform defines ease of use. Personal notes can be added to stock charts as well as any new trades being made (trade tagging also allows for speedy post trade analysis). The one major caveat with tradeMONSTER is its on-site education, which we found to be good but not great. Also, tradeMONSTER’s research capabilities are just okay. Despite the drawbacks, however, tradeMONSTER is still a winner for beginners.
Other top brokers in this category include Scottrade, ETRADE, and ShareBuilder. Scottrade shines with its massive network of 505 local branch offices for live seminars, ever growing variety of on-site educational content, and easy-to-use Scottrader Streaming Quotes platform. Alternatively, ETRADE offers clients access to in-depth research, an easy-to-use website and excellent on-site education. Lastly, ShareBuilder offers clients one of the easiest websites to use in the industry, fantastic customer service, and a very strong research area.
Navigating the challenges of being a new investor is no easy task. That is why having a good broker to gain confidence with, while learning the rules of the game, can and will pay big dividends down the road.