August 8, 2022
In our last Insights, we explained brokerage accounts and the various options investors have when picking the right one. Today, we’re going to explain how to set one up.
Let’s take a second to review. A brokerage account is an investment account used to buy and sell securities like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs (exchange-traded funds). The account can be set up in a few different ways. You can set up an account with a full-service brokerage that offers a host of services for higher prices, or you can go with a low- or no-fee online discount brokerage company. If you want to trade stock on a market, you need a brokerage account.
Now that you know what a brokerage account is and the different types available, it’s time to open one up. How do you choose?
That’s going to depend on how much service you are looking for. Full-service accounts come with full-service fees. Discount brokerage accounts come with very little research or trading help. If you need the extra help or lack trading experience, a full-service brokerage might be best. If you understand the market and want to avoid fees, a discount brokerage might be the answer.
Make sure you understand all the costs associated with your account along with the services you will receive. Are there minimum balance requirements? Are commission fees charged? How much research is available?
It’s also important to understand which assets you are hoping to trade. Does your brokerage allow you to invest in individual stocks, ETFs, certificates of deposit and bonds?
Other factors to consider are cryptocurrencies, ETFs and mutual funds. Does your brokerage allow you to trade in all the altcoins or just Bitcoin? Does your brokerage offer proprietary mutual funds? Can you trade in ETFs and if so, what expense ratios and commissions are charged?
Finally, it’s time to open an account. This is the easy part. Opening a brokerage account takes minutes and for discount brokerages and some full-service firms, can be done online. When opening an account, you will need to submit identifying information such as your driver’s license and Social Security number. When the account is opened, you will need to initiate a deposit or fund transfer. It is important to note that the fund transfer might take some time – from a few days to a week. When the money lands in your account, it is time to make your first trade.
When you start making money from your investments, it is important to note that you are responsible for taxes on your investment earnings and capital gains in the calendar year when they happen. The only exception for this is if you set up your brokerage as a retirement account, meaning you pay no taxes on earnings in the account. With a retirement account, taxes are paid only when the money is withdrawn, not on any investment earnings.
What are you waiting for? Get trading! And if you would like free perks with the individually owned stocks you hold as a retail investor, continue exploring TiiCKER.
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