Best Self-Directed Investment Firms, Online Stock Brokers For IRA and Non-IRA Accounts in 2016


Review of the best self-directed brokerage accounts in 2016. Top 3 rated self-managed online stock brokers, personal investing/trading firms.



OptionsHouse Pricing


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $4.95
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $29.95
Options$4.95 + $0.50 per contract
Mutual funds $20
Futures $1.50 per contract

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, futures, ETFs
Optionshouse minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesOptionshouse fees
Promotion and login linksOptionshouse login, Optionshouse promotions and Optionshouse referral

Top Self-Directed Broker Review


Optionshouse Review

Promotion


Trade Free For 60 Days when you Open a New OptionsHouse Account.






Scottrade Pricing


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $7
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $32
Options $7 + $0.70 per contract
Mutual funds $17
CDs, OTC Secondary Corporates, OTC Secondary Municipals,
U.S. Treasury Bills, Notes, Bonds and STRIPS, New Corporate Offerings
subject to a markup or markdown
Listed Corporate Bonds $35 + $3 per bond (minimum investment $1,000)
Unit Investment Trusts (UIT) $50 liquidation fee
Foreign Stocks Transferring In or Out $60

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, CDs, munis, U.S. Treasury, Canadian and foreign stocks, ETFs
Scottrade minimum deposit to open account $2,500
FeesScottrade fees
Promotion and login linksScottrade login, Scottrade promotions

Best Self-Directed Broker Review


Scottrade Review

Promotion


Get up to $2,000 and 50 free trades when you open new account or add funds to existing account.






TradeKing Pricing


InvestmentsCommissions
Stocks and ETFs $4.95
Options $4.95 + $0.65 per contract
Mutual funds $9.95
Bonds $1 per bond with $10 minimum, $250 maximum
Treasuries commission-free
Certificates of Deposit (CDs) $24.95

Investments stocks, options, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, forex, treasuries, ETFs
TradeKing minimum deposit to open account $0 for cash account, $2,000 for margin account
FeesTradeKing fees
Promotion and login linksTradeKing login, TradeKing promotions and TradeKing referral

Best Self-Directed Broker Review


TradeKing Review

Promotion


Get $100 in free commissions. No hidden fees. No minimums.





Open Self-Directed Investment Firm Account and Buy a Stock


Step 1: Open self directed brokerage account


You are here because you decided you are ready to invest in your future, or you want to start building your retirement portfolio, or you just want to make some money on a hot stock or commodity (such as gold, oil or natural gas). Naturally, a question arises: where and how do I buy stocks online?

Well, the process is actually very simple. There are companies, called brokerage firms, that let you do that and much more. They provide you with an ability to buy stocks (also called securities) and other investments, such as mutual funds, bonds, etc. You'll have to pay them a commission for each trade (sometimes also called a "transaction") you make, and the average cost of that commission on stock or ETF trades in the industry right now is around $7, which is very cheap comparing to what you would have paid 10 years ago.

There are dozens of self-directed brokerage firms out there courting new customers. So who has the best self-directed investment account for your needs? The answer will depend on what you are looking for:

- If you want to just occasionally buy/sell stocks online, than what you need is cheap commission and no account maintenance fees. For this purpose we suggest opening self-directed brokerage account with TradeKing (read TradeKing Review).

- If you are looking to invest for your retirement, then what you need is no IRA fees, low commissions, and large, established brokerage firm for self-directed account. Scottrade will fit that definition perfectly: read Scottrade Review.

- If you are looking to actively trade stocks, ETFs, options or other investments, than the most crucial factor is very low commissions. For this purpose, Optionshouse is a great choice: take a look at the Optionshouse Review, that contains great promotional offer for new accounts.


Step 2: Fund your brokerage account


Before you can buy a stock, you'll have to transfer money from your bank account to your new brokerage account. Scottrade let's you do it instantly. With TradeKing and OptionsHouse you will have to setup and use ACH transfer which will take a few days. Brokerage firms make this setup very easy, but if you have questions, don't hesitate to call broker customer service.

After your account is opened and funds are transferred, you are finally ready to buy stocks online! Below are step-by-step instructions of how to buy shares with all three top self directed investment companies for IRA and non-IRA accounts.


Step 3: Buy stocks online


Scottrade (Scottrade Review): To buy stocks at the firm, first log in into your account. Once inside, click "Trade" tab on top in main menu. In "Buy/Sell" box select "Buy". In "Shares" box enter the number of shares you want to buy. In "Symbol" box enter a symbol for a company you want to buy (you could look up those on the internet by typing in Google search "symbol for Apple/Facebook/etc"). To the right you will see a price at which this stock is currently trading. In "Order Type" box you could leave "Market" if you want to buy stock at the current price, or you could change it to "Limit" and set your own price (if your price is below market price, this order will execute only when market price falls to your price, which could take some time). If you used "Limit" order, than change "Duration" to "Good till canceled", since it will take time for a market price to reach your price. After all that, click "Preview Order" button and if your order looks good click "Place Order" button.

Optionshouse (Optionshouse Review): Log in into your account. In "Quote lookup" box in top-left corner enter symbol for a company you want to buy (you could look up those on the internet by typing in Google "symbol for Apple/Facebook/etc") and press "Go" button. It will show you a price at which this stock is currently trading. Click blue "Buy" button and a new window will appear. In "Quantity" box enter the number of shares you want to buy. The "Price" box you could change to "Market" if you want to buy stock at the current price, or you leave it at "Limit" and set your own price (if your price is below market price, this order will execute only when market price falls to your price, which could take some time). If you used "Limit" order, than change "Duration" to "Good till canceled", since it will take time for a market price to reach your price. Than click "Preview" button and if your order looks good click "Place Order" button.

Tradeking (TradeKing Review): Log in into your account. In the main menu select "Trading", than "Stocks + ETFs". Under "Action" select "Buy", under "Shares" enter the number of shares you want to buy. Below "Symbol" enter symbol for a company you want to buy (you could look up those on the internet by typing "symbol for Apple/Facebook/etc" in search engine). At the bottom it will show you the price at which this stock is currently trading. Below "Price" box you could select "Market" if you want to buy stock at the current price, or select "Limit" and set your own price (if your price is below market price, this order will execute only when market price falls to your price, which could take some time). If you used "Limit" order, than change "Duration" to "GTC" ("good till canceled"), since it will take time for a market price to reach your price.

If you used "Market" order above, you already bought and own a stock you wanted! If you used "Limit" order, you will have to wait for your order to execute. It might execute soon, or in a few hours, days or, even, never, depending on the price you set.

If you followed instructions above - congratulations! You just bought your first stock! Hopefully it will make you a lot of money.


Updated on 6/21/2016.



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