Looking to start a stocks/brokerage account. Which platform/service is right for me?

So I just started my first job out of college/university and I'm looking to start investing in some stocks, index funds, etc. I am in the United States. I've been using this NerdWallet article to make a decision on a few platforms. So far, it seems like I might go with TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, E-Trade, or Robinhood.

I'm curious as to what the best platform for someone like me will be. In general, I plan to be a buy-and-hold type of person. I do NOT intend to be a day trader or someone who is going to be buying and selling very frequently. Right now, I'm hoping for some ROI in about 1-5 years from now and am intent on buying and holding most stocks for at least a year at a time with about $2k-$10k invested by the end of the year.

Things I will in particularly value are as follows:

  1. No fees or subscriptions except for known/standard fee-oriented purchases. It seems most services are free of fees with few exceptions. As someone who will be starting with low volume and low trade frequency, I don't think it's worth it to use a service with fees or subscriptions except for where fees are fairly standard.
  2. Desktop and mobile app offerings with a good UI.
  3. Ability to view price history as a simple line graph. Google and Robinhood have traditional line graphs that I look at, so that is what I'm used to and find most appealing. On FINVIZ, the default view is candle, but can be changed to simple line. I'm mostly referring to viewing one stock at a time here. Of course any ability to have complex user interface views is another story.
  4. Automatic 1099-B Form preparation/delivery.
  5. Limit ordering. It would be really convenient to be able to buy or sell at a certain price while I don't have to be there to do it manually and can just schedule it for when that price is reached (if it is reached). Again, I am unaware if this is common on most platforms. Robinhood has this.
  6. No excessive advertisements. As a beginner, I'm unaware if there are any platforms that have excessive banner or compulsory video advertisements.

I may consider investing in international stocks or currencies (ones on non-American based exchanges) in the long-term, so if specific platforms offer that, that would be nice for later on. I also do crypto with coinbase, so I'm not looking for ability to trade crypto.

I guess if you can also answer what happens if your service/platform gets acquired, that would be nice to know in advance. I had a teacher who used to use TradeKing, which was acquired by Ally Invest, and I'm unaware if acquisition can have like complex implications. In a similar category, what would happen to your holdings if you trade on a platform that shuts down?

I'll also be starting a 401(k) and an IRA, too. If there is any benefit, convenience, or incentive to making all accounts with one service/platform, please let me know too as I will take that into consideration.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *