Last week I had published an article about my move from Robinhood over to TD Ameritrade. There’s a lesson to be learned here. Because I am still new to investing and working with these investing platforms, one of the things that I didn’t know was that there is a transfer fee for when you move your whole account from one platform to another. I just thought it was the same as with transferring an account from one bank to another.
Robinhood charges a one-time transfer fee of $75.00. Well, in of itself I didn’t have a major issue with this except for the fact that I didn’t have enough funds in my cash portion to cover that fee. I wrote to Robinhood to ask how that would be handled. Would the transfer be held up until I deposited enough funds in my Robinhood account? The answer to this was no. As soon as Robinhood received the transfer request from TD Ameritrade (the receiving platform initiates the transfer & the sending platform completes it) they restricted my Robinhood account. This meant that I couldn’t deposit, buy, sell, or withdraw from Robinhood. OK, fine I can wait. But how was the $75 fee going to be covered? Robinhood stated that if there wasn’t enough funds in my account they would transfer the account as a margin account. In other words they would charge TD Ameritrade. They also suggested I contact TD Ameritrade to find out if they would accept a margin account as a transfer.
I did contact TD Ameritrade and asked them if they would accept a margin account with the transfer. I explained the situation and how the margin account came into being. A very helpful asset transfer representative replied back. Their specific reply was:
Yes, we are going to accept the transfer for you, and if you will please notify us once the transfer is completed, we will be glad to reimburse that fee back to you! You may simply reply to this message to let us know that the transfer has been completed,and to move forward with the reimbursement.
Great! Seems the problem was solved. Even if TD Ameritrade didn’t reimburse me for the fee, I was happy that they would accept the transfer. Otherwise, the transfer would have failed and I’d have to start all over again.
One of the important things I did when I started investing was to determine the tools & services that would be most useful to me. In my research I came across many of them but only a few I felt were useful to me. I have many more tools available to me with my TD Ameritrade account. Many more than I currently use. But if you don’t have a TD Ameritrade account then here are a few that you can use with your investment strategy to attain your financial goal.
One of the better research tools I found was Seeking Alpha. You can register for free and use this service to research company stocks that you’re interested in. Looking to see what a company’s dividend activity looks like then enter the ticker symbol in the search box and get that company’s summary information on your screen. You also have different tabs that you can click on to access that information. Click on the DIVIDENDS tab and see the dividend metrics for that company. You can find almost any information pertaining to your investment selection criteria.
Another one that I found useful was Financial Visualizations, FINVIZ. This is also free to register. The one feature that I used the most was the Screener feature. This is where I put in my investment criteria to search out company stocks that met my criteria. I could then do further research to determine if the stock was one that I would include in my portfolio.
Then there’s Morningstar. It’s a great resource for researching details about a specific stock. Has a few useful tools that I use. One is the PORTFOLIO where I can list all of my investments from different platforms. It keeps track of the current market price and the total value. It gives you analysis and news items for any stock that is publicly traded. Unfortunately, to unlock the more robust analysis and information you’ll need to subscribe to the premium service.
These are the information services that I used when I first started investing. When I first started I started investing on Robinhood. It was a good platform for a newbie like myself and getting a free stock wasn’t a bad move for me. I later sold that stock. As I learned more about investing and fine tuned my investment strategy I signed up for a TD Ameritrade account (without a free stock). Initially, I used Robinhood for individual stocks and TD Ameritrade for ETF purchases. Now, however, I am seriously considering moving almost all my shares over to TD Ameritrade. I still like Robinhood because they allow fractional shares trading while TD Ameritrade doesn’t. But then TD Ameritrade allows option trades and Robinhood doesn’t.