Who should I pick?
I get this question a lot – people are always trying to figure out what broker I use or what broker they should use. When you’re first learning how to trade, it really doesn’t matter what broker you use. Get something that has good technical data, good news feed, good execution time and good tools available for your use.
When you’re a beginner trader, it will take you some time to evolve your skills and see what kind of trading you really want to focus on. If you end up trading only stocks, there are hundreds of brokers…if you’re trading stocks AND options, there are a lot fewer choices.
Beginners, I recommend you start out with a big standard brokerage company, like a Scott Trade, E-trade, Ameritrade, etc. Get it and immerse yourself so you can develop your skills.
It could take you a month, three months or even a year to get past the beginner stages. At this point, you've figured out what’s happening with your trading and what your strategy is and what I’m looking to do.
At this stage you may decide to shift to a different broker to get better commissions, lower rates, different tools, etc.
Personally, I like the TD America Sink or Swim platform – I get great rates. You could also use the eSignal platform – it’s a very professional platform and it ties into a lot of other brokers. It’s a fluid platform for professional investors – you may not be at that level yet.
As you advance and improve, you should begin to explore what types of platforms will work best for you and the specific type of trading you intend to do.
Again, as a beginner trader, it doesn't make a big different who you decide to start with. You may even decide to use more than one broker, to split your assets between your long-term and short-term investments.