While expensive, TD Ameritrade offers exceptional value for both beginner investors and advanced traders that is well worth the cost.
TD AMERITRADE: OVERVIEW
You can sign up for TD Ameritrade with a $0 account minimum. That’s right, there is no minimum investment amount required to sign up. You can peruse the platform’s features without committing any of your hard-earned cash. However, you’ll definitely want to invest with TD Ameritrade. Here’s why.
Where Ameritrade really stands out is its investment options. Choose from over 100 commission-free ETFs (exchange traded funds) designed by Morningstar, an independent investment research firm respected across the financial industry. The ETF funds give investors exposure to stocks, bonds, international funds, commodity funds, and decent expense ratios. If you’re not familiar with ETFs, think of them as a big basket holding lots of different eggs. ETFs track an index (such as the S&P 500, for example) and then try to beat it. You could create a diversified ETF portfolio in a very short amount of time with TD Ameritrade, and you can trade these funds commission free. However, keep in mind you must hold your ETF for at least 30 days, or else you’ll be knocked with a short-term trading fee at $19.99.
TD Ameritrade also offers the Premier List, which is a group of mutual funds also backed by Morningstar. The list recommends funds out of 45 different options. The great thing about the Premier List is that your trades have no transaction fees.
Ameritrade offers two full-service choices for trading platforms: Trade Architect, and thinkorswim. These complementary platforms really make your investing experience fun, intuitive, and daresay easy. That’s because thinkorswim, recently acquired by TD Ameritrade, was revamped this year to provide a better user experience. This platform allows investors to plan detailed strategies and analyze risk/reward across different investing options. Ameritrade’s second platform, Trade Architect, offers advanced features including a streaming feed of daily financial news. For smartphone traders, the Mobile Trader app includes features of both thinkorswim and Trade Architect for easy investing on the go.
Hands down, try TD Ameritrade if only for its fantastic customer service. Whether you’re a savvy investor or a complete newbie, Ameritrade offers 24/7 support by phone, email, and live chat. You can also visit your local TD branch for in-person advice. It can be daunting to take up investing on your own, so having that support network to fall back on is great for peace of mind.
Ameritrade is also an excellent educational tool. You can find educational materials, articles, and online seminars that teach you everything you need to know about personal finance. Are you saving for retirement, or maybe for a vacation? Try out the platform’s calculators to prepare for any investment goal. The included planning tools and calculators help you prepare for any life stage.
It’s hard not to learn while investing with TD Ameritrade. That’s because the service comes fully loaded with all the information you need. Interested in Apple stock? Type in the ticker name (AAPL) and you can instantly see charts about the company’s earnings, valuation, analyst reports, and more. That’s standard fare for online investing platforms, but Ameritrade’s interface is like eye candy compared to its competitors.
So remember how TD Ameritrade is supposedly expensive? It may not seem that way yet, and that’s because Ameritrade has some excellent options that are entirely no-cost. If you want to play the Wall Street hotshot and pick stocks, you’ll have to cough up some dough. Each stock trade costs $9.99. The online help is free, but if you require assistance from a broker, be prepared to pay an additional $44.99 per trade. Compare that to Fidelity or Charles Schwab, where trades go for around $8 and assistance costs just $25.
Wide range of investment options
User-friendly trading platform
Excellent 24/7 customer service
Educational – learn as you invest
Expensive trading fees
The $0 minimum investment amount means that anyone can take a look at Ameritrade and see if it’s right for them. Once you explore the investment options and see the learning resources available, you may have found your way into independent, online investing. And if you have any questions, TD’s excellent customer service staff are ready to help.
Ameritrade isn’t for stock pickers, especially if you’re a new investor without a lot of cash reserves. Try the ETF options first, develop your portfolio, and learn as you invest. Turns out you don’t need to work on Wall Street or even have a financial advisor to play the market. TD Ameritrade lets you do it on your laptop anytime, anywhere.