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II. Picking a Trading Platform

So now that you know you want to trade, you have to decide where you want to do it. Now of days, there are numerous platforms out there, ranging from high end in depth professional trading sites like Interactive Broker and Thinkorswim , to trade on the run from your phone like RobinHood. And then there is always the option to trade with firms like Merill Lynch,Edward Jones and Morgan Stanley (only recommended if you have existing accounts, but still not recommended at all) or companies we have seen in commercials like Etrade. All of these have their benefits and drawbacks, and you just have to find what works best for you. Below I will outline each of these options to help with your decision and of course my number one recommendation on where to go if you truly want to be a serious trader.

  • RobinHood- an easy to trade mobile platform

    • Low to little margin

    • Easy money transfer

    • Mobile accessible , trade as you go

    • Cheap fees

      • Cons

        • You can get front runned( trading firms will see your positions and put trades ahead or below your buy/sell price to take advantage

        • Limited analytics on charting, fundamentals, and mathematical valuations

        • No tools to analyze future trade valuations or check current account situation

  • Merill Lynch/ Edward Jones etc

    • Easy transfers if you have existing money with these firms

    • Access to easy tax returns

    • Access to top recommendation material

      • Cons

        • Expensive trading fees

        • Terrible analystics and graphing tools

        • Minimal trading options for stop losses and other pricing options *Stop Loss- setting a sell/buy price at a certain level to minimize potential loss

  • Interactive Broker/ Thinkorswim - these are what I recommend

    • High end analystics, charting and trading tools

    • Great mix of performance indicators and risk weights on your current position

    • Trade analyicts that outline pricing points and losses on certain trades

    • Low fees, if not the lowest for computer based platforms

    • Access to top banks stock recommendations

    • Easy tax return access and PnL views

      • Cons

        • Longer learning curve

        • 25k minimum account value to day trade

So these are the platforms I would recommend based on your need, but my best pick is Interactive Broker if you want to become a serious trader. They have all the tools one could dream for with the lowest fees int he industry.

The last thing that will influence your platform choice is your trading set up. Are you planning on trading from your phone, at work, a laptop , or will you have a multi screen trading desk? As listed above, RobinHood is a great phone app. Etrade, InteractiveBroker and ThinkorSwim have decent web trading, and if you want to run lots of analytics and multi screens definitely choose Interactive Broker.

As always, there are a lot more options but these are the basic introductory ones to look through. If you have any questions, different recommendations or experiences feel free to reach out.

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