How To Find A Great Online Broker And Never Regret!
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How to Find A Great Online Broker And Never Regret!

Please... choose your online trading platform wisely!

I was once a "penny wise pound foolish". On to what I believed to be the best online brokerage least for me. LOL

Hi everyone, welcome to Session # 4b - How to find a great online broker, in second?

When I first started investing in 2006 (in U.S), I have chosen a trading platform for a simple reason: Because it was offering me "LOWEST" commission ($0.0045 per share and $0.60 per Option contract). I never went on studying what are the advantages and reason why that trading platform suit me. Worst of all, I was NOT aware of some hidden clauses and fees involved.

As mentioned above, I have been registered on this discount-brokerage account since 2006. Something happened later - I was NOT able to buy in or sell Birkshire-Hathaway shares anymore. After a few "investigation" carried out by the customer service center, I was "requested" to upgrade to Pro-trading platform (which is charging me $10 per month). Reason given was: ...the web-based trading software was NO LONGER eligible to trade in certain stocks due to their internal policy changed. Solution? I was asked to upgrade to Pro-trading-platform with monthly fees of $10.

Small price to pay? Yes, but it could mean a lot to many people too!

Let's move on to...

What's your (investing) OBJECTIVES and GOALS?

There's always a broker that suit you most!

Before I started to evaluate a broker, I will first find out "If this is for...":-

  • Long term or short term investment? Or my trading frequency?
  • * Since my objective is long term investment, I would go for LOW frequency trading.
  • Besides security or share trading, would I involve in options or ETFs and so on?
  • * My initial investing experience is to focus ONLY on security or shares, because I have YET to learn the skills of options-trading. So, I do not bother much about options trade or ETFs or futures.
  • (Are you) international or foreign investor like me?
  • * Every country has her own regulation and tax structure. Be 100% sure about tax structures and withholding policy when you have decided to invest in U.S market.
  • 24/7 Help-desk or customer service?
  • * I still remember, my very first funding FAILED, because of my silly mistakes on filling up unnecessary information which ended up the fund being rejected. I am fortunate because I was assigned to a gentleman from my brokerage firm and he did a great job in following up and guided me throughout the whole transaction.
  • Would there be any hidden costs or hidden clauses?
  • * Be very precise about "hidden costs & clauses". Ask the customer service to explain in "layman term". I personally will make sure that I can "explain" the terms and conditions back to the customer service officer in my very "own words".

What Makes a Great Online Broker?

A straight forward answer!

Charges (price) Vs Service (value). Price is what I (decided to) pay, and value is what I get. But don't be surprised that, nowadays, due to popularity and stiff competition of online trading, the trend has stream down most of the online brokers to provide more and more comprehensive services, with just a fraction of what I paid 8 year ago.

Choosing the Best Online Brokerage Accounts (...that suit you most!)

I will evaluate:-

  1. Cost Vs my trading frequency
  2. Service provided Vs my service requirement
  3. How user-friendly is the trading platform?
  4. 3rd parties review Vs Customers' review
  5. Can I start taking action immediately WITHOUT cost? (eg. free trial? Or paper trading?)

Take Actions with Minimal Risk

Do your online stock trading comparison! Then, TRY out which online trading platform that suits you most, with FREE TRIAL ACCOUNT or paper trading account.

Guess what?

A lot of investing newbies over-looked that with the aid of online trading, we could actually TEST out the reliability, flexibility and durability of most of trading platforms for FREE. I don't want to risk my hard-earned money onto something which I'm NOT familiar, would you?

However, I don't like procrastination. What I will do? I will take a risks-free-action by testing those I believed to be the best online brokerage accounts.


Paper trading account might NOT be similar to actual trading platform. However, an online brokerage firm will normally make it is close-to the paper trading software as possible. Obviously, there will definitely be different as compare with *Pro-trading-software or *Premium-trading-platform.

I have summarized a few popular or best online brokerage firms based on review from Barron, Reviews, TopTen as well as Stock-Broker for your reference.


Let's recall what we have shared today:-

Ask a lot of questions to the RIGHT person!

Before I started investing, I never imagine that "opening a simple trading account" could be complicated. If NOT because of the EXCELLENT services and guidance by my the highly responsible customer service officer, lacking of mentor or guidance could be very frustrated.

Try to record and jot down as many "traits" as possible (of finding a good broker)... Because you will NEVER know which are the best online brokerage...until you are definite about your objectives and goals. Be clarity about your investment objectives and goals, I can assure you that the only "hurdle" left will be those paper works (registration).

Learn to trade and set a deadline before you give-up trading for real. Then, test the best online brokerage account you have found.

Hope this helps. How to open your first online brokerage account

If you ever need any feedback or support regarding with the investing know-how and brainstorming discussion, I would be more than happy to connect. Simply leave your comments below and make sure you visit my site regularly as I am always updating it with lots of “A-ha” ideas and information that I come across and I guaranteed that you will find interesting.

Stay tuned, and we will move on to... Session # 4c: How to open your first online brokerage account

Posted by Mike.

Street Talk

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