It doesn’t matter what you plan on investing in, you will likely have to go through a broker. When entering the world of the stock market for the first time, choosing a broker is your initial step and potentially the most important decision you will make. For example, what broker you choose can determine how much of your investment you can lose before they shut your account down.

1. Full-Service Brokers

A full-service broker is a full company that has its own team of market analysts working for them. Their superior knowledge of the market can greatly assist you to make the right trade. In 1975, all of that changed and the discount brokers became the reigning champs of the investing world. In the last ten years, the internet has allowed individual investors to research and investigate potential stocks themselves, and even buy and sell stock. There have been advantages to the advent of the discount broker and online brokerage firm, but for some investors, it has led to more mistakes in less time. The key is doing the research and investing wisely.

2. Discount And Online Brokers

On one end of the spectrum are the discount and online brokers. These brokerage firms act as order takers for their investors. The investor places an order on the phone or online. The only helped offered is with the technical aspects of the website or the ordering process. There is no guidance for what stocks to buy, when to buy, or when to sell. Many online brokerage firms offer their members access to stock market research, but this is provided by a third party. The account management tools help you understand how much you have invested and where it is going. These tools are normally online or downloadable. The discount and online brokers are perfect for people either already familiar with the stock market, or those who do not have much money to invest. They do require that the investor spend time researching and planning investments. If you are interested in research or want to avoid hefty brokerage fees then discount and online brokers may be for you.

3. Assistance Broker

The next step in service is a discount or online brokerage with an assistance broker. The assistance broker will offer a marginal amount of help. In online brokerage firms, the assistant broker takes the form of more research available and newsletters with investing tips. There is still a degree of research that needs to be done by the individual investor, but these brokerages at least point their clients in the right direction.

4. About Full-Service Brokers

The traditional full-service broker provides recommendations for specific stocks that would be good for your portfolio. The broker analyzes your financial situation to determine your needs. They put together an investing plan that is reviewed periodically and adjusted as needed. Full-service brokers are an excellent choice for those who don (TM)t have the time or the interest in staying on top of the latest financial news. The full-service broker does all the research for you and presents you with the best investments for your situation. Their clients are handled with attention to personal details and goals. This attention does come with hefty commission fees, but considering the amount of work and dedication that full-service brokers provide these fees are understandable. Traditional full-service brokers make money based on the number of transactions they facilitate.

5. Money Managers

Paying for someone else to manage your money is a smart move. Money managers (also called financial advisors) will work with clients to improve their entire financial picture, which may or may not include investing in stocks. Money managers hold stocks and bonds for clients. Each one has his or her own unique style and so it is important that you choose wisely to make sure your money manager has the same financial philosophy that you do. A professional money manager does not receive commissions on transactions. These kinds of brokers typically work on commission so they are highly motivated to make sure that you make big profits with your investment.

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