Tag Archives: TD Ameritrade

Selecting A Brokerage Account

Once a person has decided that they want to start investing in the stock market, have stabilized their finances, created a workable financial budget, and established their investment strategy it’s time to select an investment platform/brokerage through which you want to buy and sell your stocks. This would be the most efficient and economically manner in which to do this.
There are quite a few brokerages to choose from. I’m only going to tough upon a few in this post. Most brokerage companies are now commission-free for normal traditional investing activity. There are exceptions so make sure that you check out their fee schedules to find out what transactions carry a fee with them and how much.

M1 Finance : You get high yield checking, low rate borrowing for margin trading, automation, and optimization. They do support fractional shares and you can tap into a flexible portfolio line of credit at a low base rate, and use those funds for anything: major purchases, emergency funds, or portfolio leverage. Plus, you can pay back on your schedule. There are 2 downsides to this platform: they require a minimum investment of $100 and they charge a yearly fee of $125.

Public : Another commission-free investing platform that also will give you a free stock when you open and account and fund it. Also supports the purchase/ownership of fractional shares. They have Built-in safeguards for risky stocks, they explain terms when you see them, but they don’t allow day-trading or sell you margin loans to invest with, and they don’t sell you exotic, complex investment instruments.

Robinhood : Another of the non-traditional investing brokerages that offered a free stock when you open an account and funded it. This is the one where I got my start in investing. Also allows for purchasing/ownership of fractional shares, unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, ETFs, and options with Robinhood Financial, as well as buy and sell cryptocurrencies with Robinhood Crypto. Does not offers free IRA accounts or short selling.

Webull  : Webull supports full extended hours trading, which includes full pre-market and after hours sessions. One problem with Webull is it doesn’t currently support dividend reinvestment, but they may in the future. I would take this is mean that fractional shares are not supported. Offers free IRA accounts and commission free short selling in margin accounts.

TD Ameritrade : One of the main brokerage companies that has recently been bought up by Charles Schwab. After starting out on Robinhood I moved all of my positions over to here. You can manage your own portfolio or, for a fee, have your investments managed for you. They do have a DRIP (Dividend ReInvestment Program) and allow fractional shares through it but you cannot buy fractional shares outright.

There are other brokerage accounts out there so be sure to do your research before you make your final selection. If you decide to switch later on most brokerages will allow you to transfer you account to another brokerage but there will be a transfer fee associated with it. The fee with depend on the brokerage company you are transferring your account FROM.
Many of the brokerage houses, even the smaller ones, provide tools to help you manage your investments. Depending on how much detail information you want will determine which platform you’ll want to use, from least detailed like Robinhood to most detailed like TD Ameritrade.

All Data Is Transferred

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About 2 weeks ago I initiated the transfer of my account from Robinhood over to TD Ameritrade. The majority of the account transfer was completed within the week. But I was still lacking the detail information for my stock purchases that were completed on Robinhood. It’s difficult to track how well your stocks are doing when the cost information is missing from the position listings.

Well, I checked my record information on TD Ameritrade and found that the details were finally transferred over from Robinhood. The information seems to be complete. And my Robinhood account, although still active, is listed as restricted but will no stocks listed and a zero cash balance. At some point I expect I will no longer be able to log into my Robinhood account.

The Move Is Done!

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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.

Making My Move

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Everyone and everything evolves. when I first started on this path of investing I started by using the commission-free brokerage on Robinhood. After spending time learning whatever I could about investing, researching companies and stocks, and learning how to minimize my risks I came to the conclusion that I needed a more robust brokerage account. I ended up opening a TD Ameritrade account in addition to my Robinhood account. I had kept my Robinhood account because I had a couple of stocks on there and it was pretty simple to use. I also needed time to learn my way around all of the tools and features that were available on TD Ameritrade. I endedn up using my TD Ameritrade account for my ETFs and Robinhood for my individual stocks. But I found myself spending more time on the TD account researching different stocks. I started a Watchlist on TD to list my stocks from Robinhood so I can see all of my investments in one place. There was more information with TD Ameritrade than with Robinhood.

So, I decided to move my stock investment account from Robinhood to TD Ameritrade. First thing you must remember is that you must already have the receiving account created because that account is the one that starts the ball rolling. I logged onto my TD account and began the transfer process. I had to fill out an online form letting TD know what account I wanted to bring over. I had to make sure that I had a previous statement from Robinhood because there were crucial bits of information to give TD. TD Ameritrade then informs Robinhood that I have initiated and authorized the transfer of my account there to TD Ameritrade. This part of the process is fairly quick.

Within a day I was notified that my Robinhood account was restricted, my cash management has been downgraded, my debit card and ACH transfer would no longer work, and any outstanding limit buys or sells would be cancelled. My cash account would no longer be earning any interest. This made sense, otherwise it would be like trying to hit a moving target if they were going to try to sweep up any and all pending transactions to transfer over to TD Ameritrade.

The transfer should take anywhere from 5 to 7 days. Where TD Ameritrade initiated the transfer process, Robinhood control the speed of that process and its completion. I’m doing all of my investment activity on TD Ameritrade and just waiting for my stocks and cash from Robinhood to show up.

Useful Tools

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.