Saturday, November 19, 2016

Before you trade,

Protect the security of your financial transactions. Do not hit any web link that you do not know including those ‘good’ deals – your greed could cause you to lose millions! I use my Chrome for these transactions and I do not access my e-mails via this Chrome. A two-step log in (if available) should be useful. The broker sends you a temporary log-in password to your mobile phone. Install anti-virus software such as Norton and Malwarebytes. Do not use the mobile phone for trading stocks and stay away from ‘free wi-fi’ networks. Besides your broker account, tax info, bank accounts and credit card are the next important info to protect.

Today most brokers are discount brokers. Choose one to start and two should be the maximum.

The following is for illustration only as I should not recommend any broker. Fidelity offers a lot of research free, several commission-free ETFs, extensive mutual funds and bank/credit card services. Interactive Broker has low margin rate and low commissions on some transactions. Many others have their own advantages. If you only need one broker, select the one based on your requirements.

Today many brokers offer many trading options that were not available 15 years ago such as trading a stock with specific condition(s) and canceling an order based on certain condition(s). For example, you can have stop order and a limited sell order on the same stock.

Full-service brokers offer some services most discount brokers do not offer. One offers buying IPO stocks and selling it automatically at the end of the day. This strategy had been doing well except in 2015. Do not believe you can pay someone to manage your portfolio and you’re all set. There have been cases of portfolio churning to generate incomes for the broker.

There are many magazine articles comparing brokers. I do not really care whether the order is executed in 1 or 5 micro seconds. However, I do find some orders have been traded better by one broker over another. What do you mean ‘by traded better’ you may ask? The followings are examples. I cannot prove whether they are true or not. To me, it seems to be true.

·        I have identical buy orders placed with two brokers. Consistently one broker get them executed more often than the other broker.
·        One broker often gives me better prices than the other. For example, my sell price was $10, and many times I got more than $10 such as $10.02.
·        One broker has more reversed orders than the other. For example, I was informed my order was executed but they told me it had been reversed on the second day.
One consistently charged extra fees. I understand it is tough to make the paper-thin commissions today. 


This is part of one chapter of my book "Complete the Art of Investing". If it helps you, envision how 850 pages will help you. 

For more of my reasoning, check out the book described next. The Kindle has 850 pages (6*9) for $9.99. It could be the best $10 you ever spend. Paperback is also available.

The above is an abstract from my book "Complete the Art of Investing" which is available from Amazon.

I challenged to have the best-performed article in Seeking Alpha history, an investing site, for recommending 5 or more stocks in one year after the publish date. The concepts for that article are discussed in this book.


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