7 Tips for Choosing an Online Stockbroker

If you are new to the world of investment, selecting a stockbroker that aligns with your own personal needs and investing style can define your success or failure. If you want to make money through investing, you need a brokerage service that is in line with your investment goals, level of experience and educational needs. Choosing a broker who has a diverse range of features and tools like those that are found on the FXTM web trader can make all the difference in your new venture.

While all investment should be based on research and skill, the first step on the way to profitability should always be finding the right online brokerage service for your particular needs. That is why we have decided to put together a short guide to help you assess what it is that you personally require from your ideal brokerage. Read on to find out more.

1. What Are the Broker’s Fees?

The first question that you will probably ask when choosing a broker will probably have to do with fees. There can be a significant difference between what online brokers currently licenced in to operate in South Africa charge in trading fees, commission, spread, financing rates and currency conversion fees. It is best to shop around in order to compare prices to see what type of fee structure best suits you.

2. Does the Broker Deal in the Assets Types That Interest You?

Finding a brokerage that allows the option to trade in the types of financial instruments that interest you is crucial. While most online brokerages deal in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETF, only a select few allow you to trade in futures, options and forex. Make sure you check that you a brokerage has the trading options you want before you go through a lengthy verification process.

3. Are There Available Advisory Services?

If you are new to trading, the jargon that you have to get to grips with can be bewildering. You are probably going to need a bit of guidance or at least a sounding board to which you can the field questions and queries that you have about how things work. Many of the better online brokerage services today will provide you with tutorials and account managers to help you on your way to becoming an expert.

4. Which Type of Account?

There are two main types of account that are generally offered by online brokerages. A cash account will allow you to deposit funds and then buy stocks to the amount of money that you have in your account. A margin account, on the other hand, allows you to borrow money from your broker to buy stocks with leverage.

5. Does the Platform Include Research Tools?

Make sure that your broker operates a system of research tools that you feel comfortable with. The charts and graphs showing stock price changes over time should be easy to use and give you all the information you need to feel confident that you have covered all the bases when you buy into a position.

6. How Good is Customer Service?

It does not matter how good an app or service is, there may still come a time when you need to contact customer service to clear something up. When this happens, there is nothing more annoying than not being able to get in touch with a human to straighten the issue out. Choose wisely as some of the cheaper online brokerage services run customer service with limited hours as a means of keeping trading costs competitive.

7. Do You Want Banking Services?

Many stockbrokers offer the opportunity to open a checking account. If you think this will be more convenient for your situation, do some research into what kind of deals these brokers are offering on banking services and how they compare to your current bank.

You may not realize it now, but your choice of online stock broker could have a large impact on how successful you are as a trader. If you answer all of the questions in the sections above before signing up to a brokerage service, you should ensure that you get the one which best suits your particular needs and trading style.

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How Did Online Forex Trading Become So Popular?

Using different styles of financial trading has long been something that people have done as a way to invest or generate a secondary income. However, one of the most popular forms of online and mobile trading in the modern world was actually relatively unheard of until fairly recently. While almost anybody with an interest in financial markets, economics, or current affairs these days is familiar with forex, it wasn’t so long ago that currency trading simply wasn’t accessible to normal people. Rather, it was something only done by banks.

Today, advances in the internet have made forex a part of modern trading for everybody who wanted to try it.

Currency Trading Before Mainstream Internet

Louis Hernandez Jr highlights that there have been mechanisms in place to change money between currencies for about as long as organized currency has existed. However, up until the mainstream internet really took hold, it wasn’t possible for ordinary people to get prices on international currencies and make instant transactions in a way that could really leverage currency pair fluctuations. Banks were able to work with different currencies thanks to their infrastructures, but for the average person, the only time they were really concerned with changing money was to obtain currency when they traveled abroad, usually from a bureau de change or, later, by using cards at foreign ATMs and letting their bank handle the prices.

There was certainly no way to trade currency in any meaningful or profitable way.

The Biggest Advances to Help Forex Gain Traction

Forex trading online became possible because the internet made it possible for people to access trading platforms, hold online accounts, and make transactions. This was possible even in the late 1990s, however, it still wasn’t really something people found reliable. With slow dial-up internet speeds and problems with connectivity, it was hard to trust that your transactions would go through at the price you were seeing. Equally, there just wasn’t the knowledge and technology in terms of online security that there is now. Essentially, it wasn’t until broadband internet became widely accessible that forex trading online began to really ‘work’ as most people wanted – and to be trusted.

The Mobile Revolution

The second big change after broadband was the smartphone revolution. With apps that can connect people to trading platforms and forex resources, the 24-hour nature of forex became more accessible. Traders were no longer tied to their computers for a session and could be notified when conditions they have set up as triggers for them to act are met, allowing them to be available to trade and to avoid missing out on profitable transactions. Between mobile and fast internet speeds, people can now get the most out of forex trading and can also use a lot of analysis and news tools on their mobile devices to help them become more effective as traders.

As you can see, forex has come a very long way in just two decades and it will be interesting to see how its popularity continues to grow moving forward.

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How TD Ameritrade Can Help You Make Money

When you are looking for an online broker that will help your reach your goals as a trader and an investor, you should be looking at TD Ameritrade. It is a long time brokerage house that got into the online game in the mid to late 1990s, making it one of the most lasting institutions in online brokers and Internet trading.

In the late 1980s, TD Ameritrade began a quote and order entry system over the phone, which established the companies bonafides with modern technology. Then in 1996, TD Ameritrade merged with TransTerra, which owned Accutrade, which was one of the first online brokers in the very early days of the World Wide Web. That knowledge of the industry and early entry into the world of online investing makes TD Ameritrade a great place to start investing online.

When you take control of your financial future, you take control of your freedom. You can create a whole new reality for yourself, when you take money that you make and put it to work making more money for you. The way that capitalism works is that the ones that control the capital can create new worlds for themselves, where they don’t have to answer to the old way of doing things.

But to become a successful investor, you need to stay disciplined and smart. You need to be able to read the market and understand how to move from one trade to another with the company’s fundamentals in mind. Doing your research is very important when you need to be on top of your investments. TD Ameritrade has third party research and in-depth tools that help you make sense of the market.

For more frequent traders, TD Ameritrade offers a platform called thinkorswim that allows traders to make lightening fast trades on their desktop or their mobile devices. There are chat rooms where you can interact with other traders and swap tips or advice. For beginning traders, there are a plethora of learning tools that allow you to learn about the market while you are in the platform, trying out trades and learning as you go.

TD Ameritrade also offers great educational videos and CNBC streaming news that allow you to stay on top of the market throughout the day. Watching breaking news is very important when you want to be an effective frequent trader. There is no substitute for staying informed about the market. And then there is the paperMoney feature.

That is TD Ameritrade’s paper trading platform, which allows you to trade virtual currency  and learn how to trade without risking any real money. That is one of the more valuable tools for day traders that are just starting out. It allows you to game out trades in real time and project what they might start to do without risking real cash. Paper trading is a great way to get good at trading before you start really risking real actual money.

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How Did I Miss That Trade?

Are you a Forex trader? Are you “in it to win it?  Are you looking for profits wherever possible? That means you will be examining the results of the trades that you take and learning from both your successes and your failures. But what about “the ones that got away”, the trades that for one reason or another never happened and nearly always would have turned up trumps.

Why do we miss out on trades, especially the ones that will cause us so much heartache subsequently? There are of course loads of different reasons. You could have chosen to “sit this one out” having had a couple of losing trades just previously.  You could have been too preoccupied with another trade or considered that it just didn’t fit into your preconceived trading pattern. You may have had enough for the day having met your daily target or you might not have had enough balance to proceed.

Now these are all good reasons, but the fact remains that a missed opportunity is a missed opportunity which will cost you in the fullness of time.  You might not realise how much money you are actually losing by not taking up those missing trades and all the potential profits that have vanished unless you are honest enough to track everything in a journal.

If you are a mechanical trader, you can well find that your performance will be down and you will not get a full idea of whether the system is working for you.

If you get into the habit of missing trades, especially after a losing streak, you must treat that as a really bad one.  You have to accept losses as an integral part of trading and you shouldn’t have the baggage of previous failure over-influencing your decisions.

Perhaps the most hazardous result of when you miss out on a trade is that your psyche says “hey we made a big error there, let’s make up for it”. This is what is called “looking for revenge” – you go into something that’s a long way short of ideal and trade it aggressively. You lose control of your emotions and at the same time, lose a good deal of money as well.

Missing trades therefore is a bad place to be in. So what can you do to avoid all that?  Firstly you could log all your missing trades which would be an incentive to sticking to your trading plan.  Secondly set your trading style alarm clock – you could fix price alerts or use entry orders; perhaps even design a mechanical system for your platform. We know you can’t be everywhere but you can help yourself!

Are you missing trades through lack of confidence, worried about the dangers that could affect your funds? If you decrease your position size, you will ease up on a great deal of pressure.

Finally if you focus on the process you will accept loss, take care of it but have the courage to carry on trading sensibly and methodically and in the end you will make a lot of money.

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