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Choosing Your Investment Platform: The Stockpick Whiz Kid

Max Levin

Max Levin, MainStreet's Stockpick Whiz Kid, runs StockPick101.com, an online forum where the average person can post and comment about different investments and stocks.

NEW YORK (MainStreet) —When a stock market newbie opens an investment account, it is important that certain standards and personal preferences are met to allow the user to obtain a wider understanding of the stock market. It is necessary for all new investors to understand completely how their personal database works. Trading the stock market can make or break your financial security, and to many investors, their platform may be one of the their most valuable assets. There are some things that you should be conscious of and notice when picking your personal trading platform.

An investment platform is what anyone in the financial field uses to trade anything from currencies to stocks. Investors trade directly off of their portfolio platform which depicts graphs for the reading of past events, news, trading prices, option prices, and other valid information needed to make educational trades. On most platforms, information can be altered to the user’s preferences. Without the use of online platforms, new investors would be less informed, causing them to make uneducated decisions.

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Opening a trading account is generally an easy process. Anyone can open a trading platform, learn the business, and start making money. First, you create a profile within the selected platform operator, entering all banking information where the liquid funding is stored, and then linking both accounts. It takes a very short amount of time, and is very well worth it. If any help is needed, either call your bank or the specific trading platform you choose. They will be more than happy to guide you.

There are dozens of different companies that one could trust as a provider for their trading platform. Large operators such as Interactive Brokers,TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, and Scottrade have earned a good reputation throughout the financial sector. There are a number of different companies that could be a plausible choice, sometimes making the experience a bit confusing. It is always recommended that you choose a large supplier with a team to support the database. The last thing that you need is for your trading platform to fail or freeze in a critical situation.

Your personal activity in the stock market, will depend on which platform you choose. Graphs, option grids, information on behalf of companies, future statistics, etc. will have an impact on your decisions. As a fledgling investor, a simple investment platform should be suitable to help you understand the basics of the stock market. It is beneficial for a beginner to have clear graphs that trend lines and certain graphing techniques that could be used for practice and real trades. Also, current information on the economic condition should run through your trading portfolio so that in the case of a sharp move in the stock market, you can properly adapt.

Another deciding factor that has an impact on your portfolio is how the operators of a trading platform generate revenue and charge their users. This is called a commission and can be a liability to you in variety of ways. Commissions can be charged per share or by each transaction. Depending on the volume of trades you execute annually, an average online trade costs anywhere from $5 to $20 for every transaction. If you plan to make numerous trades per quarter, you should use a company like Interactive Brokers and Scottrade with a substantial user mass that charges a minimum price. If you plan to keep a relatively consistent portfolio you are better off using platforms like TD Ameritrade and E*Trade that mold to your specific informational liking to the investments you contain such as information upon quarterly earnings, dividends, conference calls, etc., not so much to be worried by trading fees.) Note that you are charged for the purchasing of a stock and also charged for the selling of the stock. This is called the “buy” and “sell”. A company could charge anywhere from $.02 to $.08 per share. Make sure when you buy or sell stocks you incorporate the commissions on both ends of the transaction.

It is very important for an inexperienced market investor to have an investment platform suitable to his portfolio. Sometimes, it is beneficial for traders to use a stock broker or investment banker to acquire basic knowledge and get their professional opinions on investments. Although the commissions are higher, it is sometimes safer to have a stock broker’s opinion. However, they are not as convenient as online platforms which are accessible by either phone, tablet, or computer. Depending on your financial stability, trading volume, and stock evaluations, your trading platform should complement how you personally trade the stock market.

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