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Author Topic: Online broker questions...  (Read 435 times)
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happydog
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« on: October 12, 2008, 05:23:44 PM »

I am looking to invest in some stocks, figure now is a decent time to start. I am attempting to compare some of them, but due to my lack of knowledge on the subject I am having trouble figuring out what online brokerage to use.

So here are my specific questions.
What happens to my money while it isn't in a stock? It looks like it goes to a cash account or checking account.
How do I properly determine the fees? All the sites list the charge per trade, but what about hidden fees?

I am open to suggestions (especially if you currently use them). My top two candidates are TDAmeritrade and E*Trade.
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2008, 07:16:13 PM »

When my 401k was dropped from my previous employer due to insufficient funds to maintain, it was rolled over into Fidelity Cash Reserves (FDRXX).  There's a note on their site that "This is the core account used for trade settlement." 

If you're looking for a good info site, try The Fool.  They've been around since before AOL had an unlimited plan and they seem to have really good advice and learning materials.  As for fees, here's what a quick search turned up for me.
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Moliere
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2008, 09:37:57 PM »

I use my Wells Fargo Broker account because they give me 100 free trades a year.
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kathode
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« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2008, 03:52:58 AM »

Your money just sits in an account when it's not in stocks.  So like a checking account - nothing really happens to it. 

Fees should be spelled out clearly in your agreements when you sign up.  Usually the only charge you should have to worry about are commission on trades.  Only hidden fees I could think of might be inactivity fees, which are BS and you shouldn't sign with a site that charges them.

I use Scottrade and it's great.  $7 a trade and provides all the functionality I need and then some, plus their support has always been very good to me.  I've heard good things about Zecco also which offers lots of free trades.  I don't have much experience with Etrade or TDA. 
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