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Do you use an online stock brokerage firm and why do you like your choice?


MickinMD
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Right now, all my stocks are in DRIP's, not at online brokerages, but I expect to buy my next stock from a brokerage within three weeks with some of the State Farm money that's being hand-delivered to me in two weeks and will clear the Credit Union by then.  The reason is that the brokerages have dropped buy, sell, and maintenance fees, though they have increased the "bid-ask spread:" the difference between the price the buyer pays and the price the seller gets, to make their money.

Right now, I like Charles Schwab: no buy or sell fees, no maintenance or minimum balance, the ability to buy fractional shares in $5 to $150 "slices," reinvesting complete dividends in fractional shares, and a great set of stock research reports.  It's a monster in its industry and a very stable company.

Those reports (shown below) are very important to me because I do a lot of research guided by the Graham-Buffett Value Investing method that gives me a slight edge: last year the S&P 500 was up 28.1% and I was up 32.9% - both including dividends.  This year the S&P 500 is down 15.5% and I'm down 14.0% - both including dividends.  I'm typically a little better than the S&P 500 most years and being a numbers lover, picking individual stocks is more of a hobby than a financial endeavor.

Some reports, like CFRA, let me see what the stock has done each year for the past decade - I need to see the trends in revenues, earnings, dividends, debt, return on equity, etc. I also look at Yahoo's stock price graphs to see how the stocks did during and after the 2000, 2008, and 2020 crashes. Here are the reports you can read at Schwab for all large stocks, with the summaries set for Visa, one of the stocks I'm considering:

 

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Nope.  But they are switching my mutual fund platform to the brokerage form, so I will eventually.

But I've heard good things about Schwab.

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I use two "discount brokers". TD Ameritrade (now part of Schwab) and Robinhood. The appeal for me of the former is the desktop app called "Think or Swim". I feel the tool is professional grade. Lots of information, analysis, etc. I like their "Trader TV" so that I can watch CNBC in the morning while I prepare myself for the day. We don't get it on the cable so this is a nice freebie for me. I have the computer hooked up to the TV. :) I like losing money through Robinhood. They do a good job with that. :lol: I jest. Robinhood is fun for silly trades. I've got some crypto through them.

I'm not a big time investor but I do have some fun and make a little on the side. My profits for the past couple of years was between 40-50% when I cashed out late last year. I've been investing for only about 4 years. I was down this morning by a little more that 2% with a few hundred in principle. Beating the market right now.

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13 hours ago, MickinMD said:

Do you use an online stock brokerage firm and why do you like your choice?

TD Ameritrade

Several years ago (or more) I started Ameritrade (or whatever it was called back then) and they have lots of info for research.  

I also like how all the IRS info they create for me, just downloads into TurboTax.  That makes it super easy to get the data into the correct places for the IRS. 

https://www.investopedia.com/td-ameritrade-review-4587925

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8 hours ago, shootingstar said:

I'm surprised Mick  hasn't yet used any discount brokerage firm until now. 

But good Mick. 

I used E*Trade for a long time but it stopped supplying the research reports I liked right around the time I retired.  My legs - ankles particularly - were bad and I knew I could get through six very lean years on a pension with health insurance followed by more income than I needed after Social Security kicked-in.

I sold my E"Trade stocks to fund my "years of famine," holding onto my DRIP stocks.  When my "years of plenty" kicked-in, I stuck with DRIP's because I could make small, $25 to $50/month investments with no fees and slowly rebuild my nest egg.

But now I can do most of what the DRIPs do with an online broker, so I'm going to buy two stocks from Schwab with some of the windfall I'm getting from State Farm on May 24th or 25th after the check clears.

Here are my rough draft long-term-hold selections from my initial Value Stock study of "safe" stocks I like out of the 70 in a Schwab screen that are rated buys or strong buys by all the major analysts at CFRA, Credit Suisse, Reuters, and Argus:

image.png.edd552d38159fcd008cb0252da839c56.png

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Like an institutional investor.

I knew this discussion would jinx me. Not counting the crypto disaster, I am down 8% overnight. I may have to end it all and take a dive off the front porch steps.

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After I was discharged from the military, I initially worked for Merrill Lynch. But given their fees and the fact that I had been a Schwab customer throughout the military where I knew the equivalent service was free, I switched to Schwab. Worked there and progressed to the senior level for 9 years until I was laid off. It is a good company, but upon being laid off switched to OptionsXpress...later acquired by Schwab and now fully transitioned. Still have it for my IRA account as OptionsXpress was one of the few that would allow advanced options (long and spreads) where most other firms, like Schwab only allowed covered calls or long puts to protect. Nothing wrong with Schwab and would have remained there after layoff but my account would have shifted from "Employee Branch" where only employees of that branch could see and service it, to the general public account where all employees - including my former co-workers during periods of boardum (don't ask me how I know) could see and gossip. Also at the time of the layoff and following my stepfather's death, help my mother consolidate stock certificates in a safe deposit box into an account at what is now TD Ameritrade which I passively manage/supervise. Also, when mother's next husband died in 2020 moved her IRA from Well Fargo Brokerage (husband had long term relationship with broker) to TDAmeritrade where I have full LPOA that her Trust wouldn't allow and actively manage the IRA - blowing away the investment plan that the broker at WF was suggesting for her.  Following the OptionXpress takeover, I brought my personal/joint account to TDAmeritrade. With TDAmeritrades acquisition by Schwab, will probably stay with Schwab as has been over 20 years and people who knew me have either left or retired. Honestly, I think TDAmeritrades platform is more trader friendly and hope Schwab maintains some of the features, such as Think or Swim.

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