Money Examiners is about to tell you a lie that you have encountered all your life and ranges from a minor issue to a major annoyance. Get ready, because it will make you burn.
“One size fits all.”
It means nothing because even the things in a size range are lies. The socks I put on this morning “fit shoe size 9-12.” I’m a size nine, and there is an inch of fabric between the end of my toe and my shoe. That inch isn’t for me! It’s for a Size 12 guy, now starting at power forward for the Golden State Warriors!
Is this just a rant, or am I going someplace with it? Actually, we’re going to talk about stock brokers. One kind of broker doesn’t fit every investment need. This is a study in finding the best stock broker for your investments.
The Best Broker for Your 401k. A tool your employer has to retain high-quality talent is the company’s 401k plan. These pre-tax deposits straight from payday help build a nest egg for retirement. The tax advantages (not to mention the P.R. advantages) from matching the employee contributions are invaluable.
However, remember what we said about “one size.” Low fees, abundant investment options along with prompt customer service are key.
Our choice is T. Rowe Price. Major selling points: No annual employer fees and no set-up costs.
Our first runner-up is Charles Schwab.
The Best Broker for Your IRA. 401k accounts are excellent, and they are the first thing most employees think when it comes to retirement funds. But there are reasons a person may want to shop elsewhere. Perhaps a change of jobs means an investment option, or maybe you make your living as a freelancer. Truth told many people would prefer an IRA over a 401k for the flexible options.
Our choice is E-Trade. Major selling points: $0 minimum, reasonable fees for such things as excess withdrawal and account recharacterizations, and a low $6.95 per trade.
Our first runner-up is Merrill Edge.
The Best Broker for Your Roth IRA: You probably know that the “balance” in your IRA isn’t entirely your money. Since it is pre-tax, you will have to pay tax on it when you withdraw. If you want to get at all of the money in a retirement account, then consider a Roth IRA, funded with after-tax money and 100% withdrawable.
Our choice is T.D. Ameritrade. Major selling points: No service fee; Two months worth of commission-free trades, along with up to $600 cash upon the funding of your new account.
Our first runner-up is Ally Invest.
The best Robo-Broker: “Set it and forget it.” Infomercial cowboys have made a bundle with that phrase, so now, it has come to the investment world. Your Robo-broker learns your risk tolerances and trade preferences, puts them in an algorithm, and invests your money. The costs are low, but the returns are often startlingly good, all at a low price.
Our choice is Schwab Intelligent Portfolios. Major selling points: No service fees, advisory fees, or commissions charged.
Our first runner-up is M1 Finance.
The Best Broker for Beginners: Money Examiners knows that it’s easy to get lost in the weeds, so that’s why we try to speak to you in ways that you can understand if you are a newbie. Because the worst decision you can make is to skip it altogether. Luckily, there are brokers who will guide you through the process and help you to understand your money, its destination, and its eventual path back to you. As a result, you sleep better at night.
Our choice is Charles Schwab, and our first runner-up is Fidelity.
Does all of this make your path seem a little more well-lit? We hope so because your investment health is an important part of your well-being. Watch this space and find more investment ideas.