If the idea of investing intimidates you, then you might be interested in a company that allows you to buy stocks online without a premium price tag. Or maybe you’ve already tried a few online stock brokerage firms, but you want the simplicity of automatic investing.
This time out, let’s take a look at ShareBuilder. ShareBuilder is offered by ING Direct, which is popular thanks to its online savings account and Electric Orange checking account. There are several types of ShareBuilder accounts including:
- Individual or joint accounts
- Retirement accounts: traditional, Roth, or rollover IRAs
- For children: Educational Savings Account or a custodial account
You aren’t limited to one type of account. If you have several goals, then you’re welcome to have multiple accounts with just one log-in. This is a convenience compared to having accounts all over town or the country.
Once you figure out which type of account you’d like, you need to pick out a pricing plan. The Basic account charges you $4 per scheduled investment and there’s no subscription fee. You might prefer this account if you’re a novice investor or you don’t plan to invest very often. Tools you can access are PortfolioBuilder and Gain & Loss Tracking.
With the Standard account, you’re allowed to have 6 scheduled investments for $12 each month. You’ll also be able to use various investing tools as much as you’d like. These tools include PortfolioBuilder, Gain & Loss Tracking, and Stock Grades. ShareBuilder is offering a free one-month trial of the Standard Account. This can allow you to get familiar with ShareBuilder’s features without committing a lot of cash to it.
The Advantage account gives you up to 20 scheduled investments for $20. In addition, you can explore all the investment tools, such as the ones mentioned above, the Stock Reports and IPO Priority Notification.
There’s no account minimum, and you don’t have to lose money to inactivity fees. You can fund your account with automatic electronic fund transfers from your checking or high yield savings account.
Or you can mail in a check, wire the deposit, or even fund it through a payroll deduction. If you already have a brokerage account, then ShareBuilder will allow you to transfer funds from it for free. You might even be eligible for a $100 bonus if you transfer a minimum of $500 from another brokerage and you fill out the form.
There are more than 7,000 stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs for you to choose from. You can make your investment choices in real-time during market hours. If the market’s open, you can buy and sell in seconds. That way, if you spot a buying opportunity, you can act on it quickly.
Real-time trades cost $9.95 per online trade. And if you want phone trades for real-time and mutual fund trades, they will cost you $19.95. Here’s where to go to get more info. Also, note that at times, ShareBuilder holds promotions that you may want to take advantage of.
Automate Your Investing
To make your investments grow on a regular basis, you can opt to automate your investing. Choose from weekly, biweekly, or monthly investments. You can even buy your stocks in specific amounts. If you go the automatic route, your investments will happen on Tuesdays.
Research and Tools
If you aren’t sure where to start your portfolio, the PortfolioBuilder tool can help. It can assist you with a personalized portfolio and a profile analysis that can examine your risk tolerance. When you’re ready, you can use the portfolio for your automated investment plan.
Research tools include stock, ETF, and mutual fund finders; the Quick Fund Selector; a watch list; and a tool to help you check historic prices on certain stocks that may interest you.
When you provide your email address and name, ShareBuilder will send you a guide that covers the basics of investing.
As with many investments, you need to remember that your account can lose money. Plus, securities aren’t insured by the FDIC the way checking and savings accounts are backed by the government.
But all in all, getting started with buying stocks doesn’t have to be an ordeal. If you’re willing to try online investing and you don’t want to pay a ton of fees, then check out ShareBuilder. Over time, your investments here can be worth quite a bit.
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