Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Experience Part II—TD AMERITRADE

If you missed my last post where I discussed my TradeKing experience; Click here.
So how did I end up opening a TD account and why do I have two brokerage accounts open? Well, honestly, I am not sure and I might consolidate them soon. However, thinking back to when I opened my TDAmeritrade account, I was in a position where I felt much more comfortable about trading (about 3 years since I opened my first account with TK). I was once again “inspired” by my dear stock guru whom used TD for his own personal trades. He always spoke highly of TD Ameritrade’s brokerage services and recommended it because of a few key factors (this is what I remember from our ongoing conversations):
- Generally more “state of the art” stock analysis tools
-The ability to reinvest dividends (or DRIPS, which I will discuss later on in the blog)
-A more “sophisticated” trading platform.
Being that he had a gazillion years of experience in investing I felt he was on to something and so, once I was more comfortable with my trades, I wanted to give TD a try. Something you should know, however, is that TD’s “advanced tools” come with a price. I don’t mean they charge you to use any of that (is free!!) BUT! They do charge a higher fee for trading: $9.99 per trade. So, basically, when you buy and then sell a stock the overall commission with TD Ameritrade is $19.98 in comparison to the other brokerage firm I previously discussed.

Also, please note: There is no minimum amount needed to open a TDAmeritrade Cash account. I forgot to mention on my previous post that TradeKing works the same way. This basically means that you can open the account and just have it available there until you feel ready to fund it and start investing. You can also transfer money, be it $10 or $100 (whatever it is) and leave it in the account until you are ready to trade. The money is protected and secured just like if it were just sitting at a bank. As per TDs website, they do pay simple interest monthly. Simple interest is not much but is something while you are doing your research and deciding what to invest in. One thing about trading: no need to rush or trade on a “panic” or out of any kind of frantic emotion. That’s usually a bad idea. Nothing wrong with leaving your money there until you feel comfortable, ready and you’ve done your needed research.
My Personal Feedback: So far I have to say I also love TD Ameritrade. I have yet to try out most of the amazing tools they provide and my use of them is limited because of #1 Lack of Time and #2 Lack of time. However, it is awesome to know that I have access to such amazing resources when I need them. So, for now, I can only speak from my experience on what I have used and like about their services. So here it goes:
1.      When I first joined; I got a call from one of their investment professionals offering a one on one consultation (I declined because I love the thrill of investing my own money and is one of the reasons why I opened the account in the first place but I felt that was really cool of them in terms of customer service).
2.      From time to time I get emails about LIVE investment courses they hold throughout the nation. One of them was local but I couldn’t make it because it was during the week. The 2 day investment courses offered are FREE of charge! However, one recommendation I would give them is to consider holding these Saturday and Sunday or maybe even Friday and Saturday rather than the middle of the week when most people are working.
3.      Free stock analysis reports from recognized and highly reputable entities such as standard and poors and Credit Swiss (so, you pretty much input the stock you’re thinking about and you’re provided with official PDF reports you can download for the stock(s) in your radar--- is awesome to have that as part of your research when looking in to different investments).
4.      An easy to use website and a nice interface that allows you to find information quickly

Couple things I personally don’t like much: They don’t have a “chat” feature where I can chat with a live person like I am able to do with Tradeking. They should considering adding that.
I’ve had to call in for different things more so than with tradeking (can’t remember the exact reasons). However, on the flip side, I guess is better for security purposes.

I just recently reached out to my friend and asked for a quick reminder of why exactly he uses TD to trade and what he loves about it. This is what he said (some points may be repeated from the 4 noted above):

And I quote…
“Customer service is impeccable”
“They also assign you an account advisor who will help advise on decisions”
“Multiple local offices and direct connection with TD bank makes transferring money easy”
“Multiple trading device”.
So, I am sure you’ve seen TD banks all over the place. Well, apparently, these local banks offer a direct connection with the online brokerage firm and thus, this offer a little bit of more flexibility in terms of transferring money for trading or back in to your bank account, if you need it. I’ve personally have not used that particular one on one bank service but sounds like a convenient option to have if necessary.
So, that’s TD in a nutshell. They also have a great page on Frequently Asked Questions. Check it out for a further info: FAQ.
One last thing: Both TD & TK have Iphone Apps (and Im pretty sure the apps work in other smart phones). Check out my “Finance” Folder:

Any questions?

Upcoming posts:
  • Will list other great online brokerage firms available to the public including their commission fees, etc.
  • Will walk you through actually opening an account and funding it. Will also help you answer some of the questions that are asked when you are in the process of opening an account and which may seem confusing.