If you are thinking of investing in the stock market or just looking to start an IRA then you need an online broker. In today’s online world there are lots of good choices, but the key things to look for are cost, convenience and customer support. At this stage the best broker by far is Robinhood, which has revolutionized the staid world of online stock, option and crypto trading. With their sleek and easy to user interface coupled with free trading you cannot go wrong with them if looking for a new or different broker. Use this referral link to get a free stock when you open an account.
One point to note is that when you sign up for an online account you will also have to have to fund your brokerage/trading account. You should do this electronically via your normal savings/checking account.
It should take less than 15 minutes to sign-up with Robinhood and you will instantly get a pre-approved amount to trade with once you link your bank account and initiate a transfer. This will allow you to do some trading while the backend processing (2-3 days) takes place to get the funding and relevant paperwork finalized.
Now comes the fun part – buying the stock. Here is my most important piece of advice before you do this – Research before you buy!!! Robinhood provides free research and you can do a simple web search to find out more information about it. Buying a stock takes less than one minute, research is where all the time and effort is spent and becoming a successful investor over the long term.
Opening an Account Online – things you should know (with most modern and reputable online brokers):
- It only takes 10-12 minutes to apply online at the above brokers. You will need to complete an online application and can do this on your PC or mobile device. There should be no costs for opening an account.
- You will need to provide your U.S. Permanent Residential Address, Date of Birth, Social Security number or Tax ID number, employer name and address. If opening an IRA, you will need your beneficiary’s (e.g. spouse) Social Security Number, address and date of birth.
- Funding the account. There are generally 4 standard ways to fund your new account : Wire transfer, ACH bank transfer from your existing account (best option), transfer cash or securities from an outside financial institution, mail a check.
- All of the above have an online chat or a support line which you can use if you get stuck or have questions during the application process.