Stock Investing Tools2019-01-22T06:16:51+00:00



A stockbroker is nothing more than a company that conducts trades on your behalf. I encourage people to separate their research tools from their broker. I personally find the recommendations from stockbrokers to be grossly plagued by self-interest. Not only because a broker has an interest in selling you on their company’s mutual funds or highest commission products. But because they would typically always encourage you to buy a security one way or the other, and when you buy something you will eventually need to sell it again thereby doubling the stockbroker’s commission.

Here on The Investor’s Podcast, we tested the top online stockbrokers. Below the test, we review our winner.

Online Brokerage



Account & Commissions

Visit Ally Invest

  • Low commissions
  • No account minimum
  • $50 to $3,500 Cash Bonus
  • Free trades based on account size
  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Commission: $4.95 Per Trade (Volume Discounts)

Visit TD Ameritrade

  • No account minimum
  • Investment Selection
  • Quality Research
  • Trading tools
  • Customer Service
  • 500 commission-free trades
  • Up to $600 with a qualifying deposit
  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Commission: $6.95 per trade

Visit Charles Schwab

  • Wide selection of commission-free ETFs
  • Strong customer support
  • Extensive research and educational content
  • $100 referral bonus for first-time clinets
  • Account Minimum: $1,000
  • Commission: $4.95 Per Trade

Visit E*Trade

  • Broad portfolio of investment options
  • Power trading platforms
  • 60 days of commission-free trades ($10,000+ deposit)
  • Account Minimum: $500 ($0 for IRAs)
  • Commission: $6.95 per trade (Volume Discounts)

Visit Fidelity Investments

  • Free premium research
  • Low commissions
  • Advanced trading capabilities
  • 300 commission-free trades ($50,000+ deposit)
  • Account Minimum: $2,500 ($0 for IRAs)
  • Commission: $4.95 per trade

Visit Interactive Brokers

  • Volume trading discounts
  • International trade capabilities
  • Advanced tools/platforms
  • Special terms for clients aged 25 and below
  • Account Minimum: $10,000 ($5,000 for IRAs)
  • Commission: $0.005 per share ($1 minimum); Maximum 0.5% of trade value

Visit Merrill Edge

  • Breadth and depth of in-house research
  • Quality of outside research
  • $100 to $600 cash bonus depending on account size
  • Account Minimum: $0
  • Commission: $6.95 per trade

Visit TradeStation

  • Discount trading
  • Comprehensive research
  • Active trader community
  • Noteworthy platforms
  • Special terms for active military and first responders
  • Account Minimum: $500
  • Commission: $5 flat fee or $0.006 to $0.01 per share ($0.50 to $1 min per trade) based on volume

Who is the Best Online Stockbroker?

After reviewing the top online stock brokers, we strongly recommend Ally Invest (called TradeKing before 2017). Ally Invest works well for me is because I want my cost to be an absolute minimum. Brokers are not too different, and I don’t use their tools anyway, so rather than this being a personal endorsement of Ally Invest, it’s simply the broker that offered the cheapest trades in our test.

Although I don’t conduct a lot of trades a year (usually about 20 a year), those costs can really add up. Since most brokers charge about $10 a trade, that means I would spend $200 a year just on trading costs. Now, let’s imagine you’re like most investors and you trade a lot more than I do. For example, the typical day trader might buy and sell once a day during the 252 trading days in the year. That means they would conduct 504 trades in a year. Without much analysis, you can see that this behavior would cost the “investor” $5,040! That’s a lot of money. It’s very difficult to have any kind of returns when all the money is going to the broker. 

Ally Invest’s personal trading accounts have no set-up fees. No annual fees, and they only charge $4.95 per trade. They’ll even refund you $150 for fees associated with switching-over to their service if you use this link. So in short, I only spend about $99 a year conducting all of my trades. For the day trader, they would save about $2,545.20 a year with Ally Invest if they were making 1 trade a day.

Investors Outside of The U.S.

Since I live in the US, I do not have an account with Firstrade. I’m highlighting them to our international listeners because they have the best combination of low fees and easiest set-up. Firstrade is compatible for most international investors, and their fee is only $6.95 per trade (and there’s no start up fees, annual fees, or costs when you wire your funds). I strongly recommend Firstrade for new investors as there is $0 minimum deposit, and you have access to a free live support chat to guide you through the process. Right now Firstrade is offering 100 commission free trades to new sign-ups if you use this link and deposit at least $5,000. The offer is valid for new US customers as well.

Countries being catered to by Firstrade:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Hong Kong
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea, Republic of
  • Macau
  • Mexico
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom

© TIP Academy content is for educational purposes only. The calculators, videos, recommendations and general investment ideas are not to be actioned with real money. Contact a professional and certified financial advisor before making any financial decisions. Preston Pysh and Stig Brodersen are not professional money managers or financial advisors. The Investor’s Podcast and parent companies that own The Investor’s Podcast are not responsible for financial decisions made from using this course or the tools provided in the course.