Investing 
13
comments

TradeMONSTER Review

TradeMONSTERTradeMONSTER is a relatively new online discount broker in an industry that hasn’t seen a new entrant in a few years. I believe TradeMonster’s strategy is to offer relatively low pricing (not rock bottom) and a powerful suite of browser-based analysis tools. TradeMonster is owned by optionMonster, a financial media company that publishes market news and commentary on options and stock trading. If you’ve ever watched CNBC then you’ll recognize a bunch of the faces behind optionMonster (Jon ‘DRJ’ Najarian and Guy Adami are on Fast Money).

The aspect of TradeMonster that really jumped out at me is the first thing I’m going to review – paper trading.

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 Investing 
30
comments

Best High Yield Savings Accounts Rates

These days, the best way to help your savings grow is by saving it in an online high-yield savings account. With interest rates as low as they are, you simply can’t get anything by putting it in your neighborhood bank. Online banks, with lower overhead, are still the best place to earn a much higher yield with absolutely no risk. After years of managing this list manually, we’re now happy to offer up this table that is updated daily with the highest rates you can find anywhere. The table is powered by Bankrate, an industry leader, and hundreds of banks are surveyed each time to ensure that the highest rates are displayed. Lastly, all of the banks on this list are FDIC insured so you know your money is 100% protected.

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 Investing 
5
comments

Cheap Stock Trades at Discount Stock Brokers

I’m not sure how much it costs to execute a stock trade but it doesn’t appear to be all that much. When I first opened up my first brokerage account, it was with Vanguard. Vanguard has two main types of investor accounts, one where you invest in their family of mutual funds and one where you can invest in stocks, bonds, ETFs, etc. When I opened up my Roth IRA as a teenager, I did it with Vanguard and paid a then staggering $20 a trade. Twenty bucks! Nowadays, you can buy and sell a stock twice with TradeKing and still have twenty cents left over to get some Bazooka Bubble Gum. That’s a cheap stock trade right there.

So what defines cheap? Ultimately it comes down the dollar amount because you’d have a difficult time arguing that $12.99 is cheaper than $4.95. However, I think that just looking at the cost of the stock trade may be a mistake. Certain brokers charge you less but they offer you less in terms of tools, service, or both. Sometimes you have to review all the factors to make your decision.

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 Investing 
10
comments

TradeKing vs. Zecco: Discount Broker Comparison

When Zecco first appeared on the discount broker scene, everyone celebrated their $0 stock trade commissions. I know it caught my attention, there are very few things that beat free. Even when reports of customer service woes rolled in, I still thought their offer was the best of the bunch. If you are paying $0 per stock trade, you can’t expect them to have an army of customer service reps there to answer your every call. You get what you pay for and you pay nothing.

Then I learned about TradeKing, which charges $4.95 a trade. $4.95 isn’t free but it’s certainly cheaper than E*Trade, where I was paying $9.99 a trade. Not only were the trades cheap, but TradeKing had been winning best customer service awards and best discount broker awards for years. So when Zecco stopped offering no-strings attached free trades, I knew we needed to compare the two straight up to get a better idea of which one was tops.

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 Investing 
37
comments

Scottrade Review

For years, I’ve heard good things about Scottrade (mostly from people defending Scottrade in this guest post) but never tried them. I mostly use E*Trade because of their high yield savings account and TradeKing because of their low commissions. Since I don’t have that much to invest, it doesn’t really benefit me to open up all these broker accounts just to put a few dollars here or there.

However, since Scottrade doesn’t have any account maintenance fees and a low minimum ($500), I thought I’d give them a look to see what the fuss was about.

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 Banking 
32
comments

Bank CD Rates

How much money do you have sitting in a savings account? $500? $1,000?

Do you have plans for that money? If not, it should be in a certificate of deposit at your bank. If your bank doesn’t offer good CD rates, then you should open a CD with an online bank and take advantage of their better interest rates. If you don’t think you have enough money, you’re wrong. You can open a CD at an online bank with a single dollar.

One dollar.

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 Investing 
35
comments

Best Options Broker Review

These brokers are excellent for stock equity trades as well!

As you may have read in my review of The Options Playbook, I’ve started to get interested in trading stock options. As has been the case with everything I try, I do a lot of research first and then I dive right in. As my dad always said, you learn in the classroom or you learn on the street. Learning on the street is always more expensive. I prefer the classroom. :)

In my limited knowledge of options, it appears that there are two main discriminators: price and tools. For price, it’s a matter of comparing the cost per trade and per contract. For tools, it’s having the ability to quickly make complicated trades without having to jump through too many hoops. In my review of the Options Playbook, I talk about two types of “plays.” The more complicated plays involve several “legs,” or options trades, that hedge each other and the better options brokers let you setup those plays with one screen. In fact, most brokers make that transaction easy because it results in more trades, which means more profit, so it’s almost not even worth comparing brokers based on that (remember, I’m a total novice in this so I may be wrong).

So, it may just come down to price.

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 Investing 
17
comments

Smart Money 2009 Best Online Brokers

Another year, another Smart Money broker survey! We’ve been reviewing SmartMoney’s best broker series for several years now (here’s 2008) and it’s always valuable to see how the different brokers fare from year to year. In the 2009 broker survey, we didn’t see too much change compared to 2008.

Unlike last year, which featured a merging of the discount and full service broker lists (in which TradeKing lost a #1 ranking they enjoyed for several years), they didn’t make any big changes to the way they analyzed the brokers. (here’s the list if you want to take a peek)

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