I do not consider myself wealthy enough to have a personal stock broker at my beck and call. Therefore, I went online in search of a Web-based resource to suit my needs. What I found was ShareBuilder from ING DIRECT, which I consider to be the best online stock broker available. This service allows the everyday Joe like me to invest in stocks, exchange traded funds, and mutual funds with no account minimum and no inactivity fees.
The online functionality provided by ING is convenient and extremely easy to use and this company is known for providing many customer-friendly features. However, even I was surprised to see that ING provides ShareBuilder customers with a $100 bonus for transferring another brokerage account. They also provide their Advantage Program at no charge for one month, saving consumers $12. In addition, they offer a free six-part guide to wise investing, something all of us can benefit from reading.
ShareBuilder offers more than 7,000 stocks and ETFs from which an investor can choose. Investors purchase stock either automatically at specific dollar amounts through the automatic investing plan or by executing real time trades in share amounts. The Basic program allows infrequent investors to purchase stocks for $4 by setting up automatic investing on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. The Advantage program allows individuals to make up to 12 scheduled investments each month for a total cost of $12. It also provides users with access to all ING investment tools. Automatic investors can invest any amount each Tuesday when they make the transactions online.
Real time trades cost $7.95 to $9.95 each, depend on the selected pricing program. These trades are executed immediately during market hours. Options trading costs $1.25 per contract with a Basic account and $0.75 with an Advantage account, plus real-time trade commission fees. Individuals can invest in more than 70 mutual funds for no charge online, or over 170 funds at cost of $19.95 online.
Investors can open individual or joint accounts to meet personal goals. They can also open traditional, Roth, and Rollover IRAs, educational savings accounts, and custodial accounts. ING offers flexible options like the ability for real-time traders to use the Express Funding feature to purchase stocks, ETFs, or mutual funds for an additional $6.95 per trade when they do not have enough money in their ShareBuilder accounts to cover the total transaction cost. The extra funds needed will be requested from the individual’s bank account after the trade is placed. Take a look at ING’s ShareBuilder to read about all it has to offer.