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Best Stock Brokers for Beginners

5 Best Stock Brokers for Beginners

One of the first (and most important) choices any investor will make after deciding to work towards their financial future is what brokerage account they will use to accompany them to their goals.

As investors, we must place an incredible amount of trust in our chosen brokerages; our brokerages buy stocks for us, sell stocks for us, help us research prospective investments, and even give us tools to help us save and spend according to our retirement goals.

With so many brokerage account choices available in this day and age, it can be difficult to determine which platform will be most beneficial to your financial success.

But never fear; that’s why Wall Street Survivor is here to help you narrow down your choices!

We’ve done all the grunt work for you: our team of analysts have poured through all of the online brokerage choices out there, and we’re proud to present you with a list of the best online brokers for investors of different types and experience levels. Enjoy!


Robinhood: Best Stock Brokerage All-around


Robinhood Overview

Robinhood should have a special place in the heart of every investor.

This online broker led the investing revolution that succeeded in democratizing the world of investing forever.

In the past, entry to the investing world was restricted to the wealthiest and most powerful members of society; investing was a privilege afforded only to the few, not the many.

In order to begin investing, an individual would have to fork over large sums of money in order to gain admittance into a mutual fund or otherwise pay astronomical commissions in order to be able to buy and sell equities or bonds.

Even recently, the largest and most popular online brokers would charge unrealistic commission and management fees to their members.

But Robinhood had a different investing model in mind; they wanted to bring the world a commission-free investing platform that would allow investors with all levels of income to be able to create a portfolio without breaking the bank.

After breaking into the stock brokerage industry, Robinhood disrupted the market and took the investing world by storm.

When Robinhood quickly gained millions of users, the big brokerages realized that they had no choice but to follow suit.

Now, many of the biggest online stock brokers in existence offer commission-free trading; but we at Wall Street Survivor will never forget that Robinhood was the first player to bring balance and equality to the world of investing.

In addition to its valuable contribution to the investing game, Robinhood also boasts a modern user interface accompanied by revolutionary new features.

The home page is easy to understand for young and more mature investors alike, making it easy to see what you’ve gained in a given time period.

When you press on a stock or fund to see its information, Robinhood will provide you with the basic fundamentals needed to make informed investing decisions, as well as news and analyst reports regarding the chosen security.

You can access Robinhood directly from your phone using their simple, sleek app.

Robinhood also offers incredible features for the modern investor such as margin trading, fractional shares, premium research tools, options trading, and Cash Management accounts that allow you to use a Robinhood debit card to make transactions directly from your online brokerage account.

Robinhood does not currently support mutual funds, foreign stocks, bonds, and several other securities.

Robinhood Cost

Robinhood is absolutely free.

There is a premium subscription called Robinhood Gold that costs $5 per month and gives you special perks such as bigger instant deposits from your bank account, professional market research and data, and a margin trading program that lets you borrow your first $1000 interest-free.

You can get a free 30-day trial of Robinhood Gold when you sign up now!

Click here to make your very own Robinhood account today!


M1 Finance: Best User Interface


M1 Finance Overview

When it comes to ease-of-use, M1 Finance is the clear winner.

This online broker offers a modern design and convenient investing tools that will benefit beginner and advanced investors alike.

M1 Finance functions as a sort of middle-ground between robo-advisors and full service online brokers.

It offers typical online brokerage account features such as automatic investing, automatic rebalancing, and preset portfolios.

At the same time, if you are a more hands-on investor, M1 will give you the freedom to make your own portfolio and invest your money however and whenever you’d like.

M1 uses a “pie” system to define its portfolios and sections of portfolios; you can create a pie by combining different stocks, fixed assets, and funds, or choose ready-made M1 pies composed of ETFs, target-date funds, mutual fund replications (like Berkshire Hathaway), or social impact investing funds.

You can then divide up your money within this pie, or use the pie as a section of an even larger pie.

For example, if you want to create a portfolio made up of 25% Apple, 25% Microsoft, and 50% IBM, you can easily make this happen by creating a pie with these percentages in the M1 app or website.

You can then deposit money into this pie and your cash will be divided up accordingly, or you can make this pie a portion of a larger pie.

You can also put your money into several different pies at one time.

M1 does not currently offer mutual funds or options, but you can easily replicate mutual funds by using an expert pie or creating your own.

M1 also offers a stock research section for investors who would like to stay up-to-date on the latest news and statistics in the stock market.

M1 Finance Cost

M1 Finance is absolutely free; there are no management fees or commissions.

They do have a premium subscription called M1 Plus that gives you special perks, and you can get a whole year of M1 Plus free when you sign up now!


Wealthfront: Best Robo-Advisor Stock Broker


Wealthfront Overview

If you’re looking to get all the perks of having a financial advisor at a fraction of the cost, Wealthfront is the way to go.

Wealthfront is a robo-advisor, or a platform that is designed to be a hands-off choice for investors.

Wealthfront is designed to do all the work for you; just create your portfolio using the tools in the app, set up a recurring deposit, and watch your money go to work for you.

Wealthfront will automatically rebalance your portfolio to make sure you have the right percentages of your money invested.

This online broker also does automatic tax loss harvesting, meaning it will sell stocks for you at the right time to help decrease your tax burden.

Wealthfront also offers some great financial tools to help you plan for things like homeownership, retirement, travel, and college.

Wealthfront Cost

The management fee for Wealthfront is 0.25%, but this fee is waived for the first $5000 in your portfolio.

There is an account minimum of $500 for Wealthfront.

Wealthfront is one of the biggest players in the robo-advisor game, and stands out among online brokers as one of the best!


Acorns: Best Stock Broker for Hands-Off Investors


Acorns Overview

Acorns, whose motto is “Invest, Earn, Grow, Spend, Later”, is just about as hands-off as you can get when it comes to online brokers.

Acorns’ model revolves around investing your “spare change”; every time you make a purchase, Acorns will round up the transaction amount to the nearest dollar.

The extra change is then added to your Acorns account and automatically invested.

For example, if you buy a meal that costs $10.20, then $0.80 will be transferred to your Acorns account and invested in your portfolio.

These spare change transfers can really add up, especially if you make a lot of regular purchases.

Acorns is easy to start and easy to maintain; you can create an account in less than five minutes and choose one of Acorns’ preset funds, and the app will do the rest.

The platform offers more than just a regular investment account, though. They offer:

  • Invest (brokerage account)
  • Later (retirement account)
  • Banking (checking account)
  • Early (investment account for kids)

Acorns Cost

There are two Acorns membership plans currently available.

The Personal plan costs $3 per month and gives you access to Invest, Later, and Banking.

The Family plan costs $5 per month and gives you access to Invest, Later, Banking, and Early.


thinkorswim: Best Stock Broker for Data and Analysis


thinkorswim Overview

If technical analysis is your thing, then thinkorswim is the perfect platform to help you accomplish your goals.

Here at Wall Street Survivor, our goal is to focus on investing rather than trading; however, we respect any method that our fellow investors choose to use in order to work towards their financial futures, and that’s why we want to tell you about thinkorswim.

thinkorswim is TD Ameritrade’s online trading platform, designed to help you analyze market movements like historical patterns in price and volume.

As far as short-term trading goes, thinkorswim is one of the best online stock brokers.

TOS is known for its plentiful amount of bells and whistles, which is why it’s our pick for more advanced investors.

There is certainly a lot to learn in the platform, but once you have a grasp on all the features it offers, you’ll be able to tailor your trading experience to your specific preferences with capabilities such as advanced charting, scanning, and watchlists.

thinkorswim Cost

thinkorswim is free for most “basic” trades, such as stocks and ETFs.

But if you want to day trade some more complicated securities like options, mutual funds, or forex, you’ll have to pay a commission.

One of the best parts about TOS is that it offers paper trading simulations – make sure to try your hand at this before you dive into day trading!

Conclusion

As you can see, there are plenty of online stock brokers out there that are ready to help you along the way to your financial goals.

It’s really just a matter of deciding which platform best suits your particular investing style and preferences.

And don’t worry, if you feel like you need to take a step back and learn more about what a brokerage is and does, check out our Starter Guide: Introduction to Stockbrokers.

At the end of the day, you can always make multiple brokerage accounts if you’d like! 

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