Review: Brokerage Account Comparison

On the Internet, new companies crop up every day. New websites to do just about anything you’ve been doing elsewhere before including banking and stock trading. It’s pretty hard to stick with just one company too because the new ones always offer something great for you to jump ship.

But swag and bribes aside, how do you choose between companies? I’m talking specifically about banking institutions now. I’ve changed banks a couple times in the last year and opened a few accounts I didn’t actually need, I’ve chased my fair share of rates, but one tool that’s become invaluable to finding the right institution is has a bunch of tools on their site that allow you to compare just about everything in the financial industry. They have comparisons for mortgages, CD rates, bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts and auto insurance.

Each of these shows a side-by-side of the company, the fees for each account, the opening deposit requirements and anything else you might need when deciding on a new account.

Bankrate’s newest addition to this list is their brokerage comparison tool. This new tool lets you compare all the costs and benefits of the best online brokerage accounts out there so you can make an informed decision on which one to open. You can compare brokerages deposit requirements, maintenance fees, commissions and all the features offered by the account.

Why should you care?

For me, when I first got interested in investing, I was 18 years old and had entirely no clue. I didn’t open a brokerage account till I was 20. That’s a two year gap in which I could have been raking in the dough! Ok, maybe raking is a bit of a stretch but during that time, the market actually took a huge dip and then big recovery. I really could have made some decent cash if I had known what I was doing. On top of that, during that time a couple of the biggest technology companies today were just gaining steam. I knew about the companies because I worked in the field, I personally knew people that had made some good money on their stock and I had even done the research on the companies to decide which one I would invest in when I finally opened a brokerage account and got started.

But the reason I never got started had nothing to do with these companies, stock or even money. I never got started because I couldn’t decide on a brokerage account! I didn’t know what benefits each of them offered or what their fees were. I had researched this of course but I was frozen by analysis paralysis, too many choices without distinct differences to set them apart, so I just continued to fantasize about making my millions in the stock market.

I think this problem is even worse today because we have more options to choose from. That’s why this new tool by Bankrate is such a great asset to have. Now you can quickly look at all the different online brokerages, see exactly what they offer and make your decision.

Is there anything stopping you from investing?

I was not compensated in any way for this review

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4 People have left comments on this post

» Jeff @ Sustainable life blogNo Gravatar said: { Jun 15, 2011 - 01:06:05 }

Thanks for the review – the one thing that’s currently stopping me from investing is debt – I want to get rid (or mostly rid) of it first before I get into the market.

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Yea that is a problem. Any debt you have will most likely have a higher interest rate than anything you can make in the stock market, in the short term, so paying off high interest debt prior to investing is probably the best thing to do. Other than consumer debt though, I’d say don’t wait. School loans and mortgage will take some time and your best tool in the investing world is time, so get started as early as you can.

All the online brokerages that I know of do more than just individual stocks and getting in on a decent index fund even at small amounts on a regular interval can payoff big over time.

» FinancialAdvisorMVPNo Gravatar said: { Jun 17, 2011 - 01:06:31 }

That’s a great point – too many people wait for the “right time” to invest, but things like mortgages and student debt take years and years to pay off. If you wait until you’re “paid up” then you lose several years of prime investing time – time that you could have earned enough to get out of debt faster. I like the idea of a brokerage comparison tool. I’ll bet that shaves a lot off decision-making time. Great post!

Jesse MichelsenNo Gravatar Reply:

Thanks! I’ve felt the pain of waiting too long before jumping on an opportunity so will do anything I can to spur people into action.

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