You Can’t Buy Stocks Without a Broker:
In order to purchase and sell shares of a company, you need the assistance of a stockbroker who is licensed to do so on your behalf. These are online platforms and financial institutions that may ring a bell, such as ETrade, Scottrade, TradeKing, Fidelity, TradeStation, Ameritrade, Vanguard, Charles Schwab, OptionsHouse, Interactive Brokers, and Robinhood. They can range from online and discount brokers to face-to-face and full-service brokers.
Online and discount brokers are essentially just order takers. You can open an account with a relatively small sum of money (usually $1,000 or less) and your investments are entirely self-directed with just a few clicks. You might be provided with limited access to investment-related links for research, but other than that, no personal investment advice is provided. With full-service brokers and money managers on the other hand, there can be relatively hefty minimum deposits to get started in addition to sizable, recurring management fees. The process typically calls for in-person visits with an advisor from time to time and you’ll receive the expert services of a certified financial planner. All-in-all, they can help you prepare a comprehensive financial plan that covers every aspect of your financial life, including estate, tax, and retirement planning, all the way down to monthly budgeting. Depending on personal need and preference, there is a proper brokerage fit for everyone.