Creating an Account

Welcome to our kickstart guide for investing. This page will walk you through how to set up a brokerage account, how to make a trade, and how to check on how your trade is doing. 

 

Step 1: Select your desired broker. There is no right or wrong answer here - all of the brokers listed below offer free trading (you don’t have to pay a fee for buying or selling securities). However, each broker has its own unique set of strengths and weaknesses.

TD Ameritrade 

 

Pros

  • Has a newer and more intuitive user interface 

  • Offers an excellent app and website 

  • Excellent customer service and support over the phone 

  • Offers ThinkorSwim - an advanced trading tool used for technical analysis, options trading, risk analysis, ect. - for free. You may not be ready to use ThinkorSwim on day 1 of your journey into finance, but it may prove useful to you down the road. 

Cons

  • Does not offer fractional shares 

Robinhood

 

Pros

  • Excellent and very easy to use user interface 

  • Offers both a website and an app 

  • Offers fractional shares 

  • Easiest account set up process 

  • “Free stock” (typically 10 dollars or less) when you sign up

Cons 

  • Prone to crashes and delays in on high volume trading days (i.e. large up or down swings in the market). 

  • Lack of oversight with investing tools like margin and derivative securities can result in inexperienced users making costly mistakes that platforms like Schwab and TD Ameritrade could prevent. 

Great! Now that you have selected your desired broker, follow the steps below to create an account with the broker corresponding to your choice.

 
TD Ameritrade 

 

  1. Go to TD Ameritrade 

  2. Select “open a new account” in the top right corner 

  3. We recommend you open an account that only you will use. So, select “individual” (should be the first option). 

  4. Enter all information as prompted by TD Ameritrade 

  5. Congratulations! You have opened your brokerage account. Now, watch this video to familiarize yourself with TD Ameritrade on how to fund your account, make a trade, etc. 

 

In-depth guide: how to buy and sell stocks using TD Ameritrade website

  1. After logging into your TD Ameritrade account, place your cursor over the “trade” which is located to the right of the “my account” tab. A menu will pop up. Select “Stocks and ETFs”

  2. If you wish to buy a stock, select “buy” in the action box. If you wish to sell a stock you already own, select “sell”

  3. In the quantity box, enter the number of shares you would like to buy or sell

  4. Under the symbol box, enter the stock symbol you would like to trade. If you are using one of our stock tips, we always put the stock symbol in the title or header of the article. If you are not sure what the symbol is, select the “symbol lookup” link and type the company name into “find securities that include” bar. The symbol will be displayed on the far left of the results. 

  5. Select “limit” in the order type box

  6. Enter the price you are willing to pay for the stock in the “price” box. If you are buying a stock, the trade will not occur until the price of the stock is below the limit price. If you are selling a stock, the trade will not occur until the price of the stock is above the limit price

  7. Select “GTC” in the “time in force” box. This means your trade will remain active until it is executed at your desired price. 

  8. Select “review order” and confirm all information is correct. 

  9. If all information is correct, select “place order” 

  10. Congratulations! You just made a stock trade. 

Robinhood

  1. Go to Robinhood 

  2. Select the green “sign up” button in the top right corner 

  3. The next screen will offer you the chance to get a “free stock” when you sign up for Robinhood. Click “Claim your free stock now.”

  4. Enter information as prompted by Robinhood. You should be about 10 minutes from creating your account! 

 

How to trade using the Robinhood app: Using the search bar at the top of the screen, search a stock name or stock ticker that you would like to buy (hopefully one of our recommendations!)

  1. Scroll down to the “buy” button 

  2. Click the “order types” button in the top right corner 

  3. Select limit 

  4. Enter the MAXIMUM price you are willing to pay for the stock. This price should be close to what the current price of the stock is if you would like to purchase the stock. Robinhood will not buy the stock until the price of the stock is at or below the price you enter. 

  5. Select Continue 

  6. Select market hours only

  7. Time in-force: Select the second option. This will keep your trade active for 90 days, so if the stock does not hit your limit price on the current trading day, the trade will still be active and have the opportunity to trigger in the next 90 days. 

  8. Select continue and then execute. Congratulations! You have executed your first trade. 

 

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