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Which Broker Is Best For Long Term Investing?

Jan 28, 2024

Hello Stoic Investors,

Today we’re going to talk about how to choose the best broker for you.

 

Finding the best broker is the first step you need to take when you start as an investor, based on

where you are, your needs, and just find something that is quite reliable.

 

What is a brokerage account?

A broker is simply how you access the stock market; it's your way to be able to buy and sell stocks, bonds,

ETFs, funds, whatever is available in the market.

 

It's a very important choice because it's basically the tool that you're going to use to be an investor, which is

the most important thing when it comes to growing your money, and it's the place in which you hold your

investments.

 

Many people don't understand that at the end of the day, a broker is simply a bank that decides to offer this

service. Probably also your local bank can give you the brokerage service.

The problem with those is that most of the times when you have a bank that does a lot of things like

mortgage, credit card, saving, brokerage account, investments, they do everything decently and nothing

very good.

 

The general suggestion is to use a bank that just focuses on services as a broker.

 

These are usually the apps that you may hear more often, like Fidelity in the US, Free Trade in the UK,

Degiro in Europe.

All of these are banks that just decided to focus mostly on these types of services, and that's what we want

to look for.

 

What to look for in a broker

Let's understand first of all what to look for in a broker.

Of course, it's difficult to summarize everything, but these are the most important questions you should ask

yourself when you're considering a broker:

 

1. Easiness of usage:

It’s important because you're going to use the broker to invest a lot of money hopefully over the years, and

therefore you cannot use something that is clunky, that is not easy to understand, that doesn't show you

everything as you want.

You need to find something that you are comfortable to use.

 

The easiest way to solve this, you can do as I did, which many years ago, I literally opened 14 brokers, and I

tried all of them to just see which one I like the most, and then I closed 12 of them and kept two, which are

the two that I use, which are FCO and Interactive Brokers.

But you can avoid the stupid bureaucracy mess that I did and simply watch YouTube videos about the

interface and see if you like it or not.

 

By the way, another easy way to understand a bit more about a broker is just to go into the website

brokerchooser.com, which will help you find the right broker.

This selection is good, but you need to at least understand what you're looking for to appreciate the

selection that the Broker Chooser can give you.

 

2. Safety:

The first thing you want to understand is “Does this broker have a banking license?” Because I told you

before that most brokers are simply banks, but this doesn't mean that to be a broker, you need to be a bank.

What is the consequence of not having a banking license? That you are much less regulated, there's much

less control on what you do, and therefore you are more likely to do bad stuff or scamming or frauds.

 

Again, it's not that it happens every day, but if you're playing around with a few thousand dollars, sure,

choose whatever app works well for you. But if your plan is to reach 1 million in net worth and more, maybe

it's best that you already choose something that you can be comfortable to keep a lot of money in.

And so you want a broker that has a banking license. You can find this for any broker very easily if they have

it or not, you just type it on Google.

 

And second, you want to check whether they had any scandals in the past.

Here I'm giving you two examples: Trading 212, which is a very common platform in Europe, not one of my

favorites, but had a problem in which when there were some crypto movements, they basically blocked

people to buy or sell certain investments, which tells you how this broker will operate; they can block you in

doing certain things.

Again, it's something in the past, we're talking about 2017, so maybe things change, but it's just one thing to

consider.

Robinhood is another platform that had a few scandals, for example, the GameStop scandal or the problem

with payment for order flow, which is a shady practice.

 

I'm not saying this, but Charlie Munger said this, one of the biggest investors, that this is a very shady

practice to basically take money from you without you even noticing.

So overall, you want to see that they have a good reputation.

 

3. Fees:

“Is the fee structure simple to understand?” It’s important to ask this and not “Are they cheap?” because the

problem with many brokers is that you truly don't understand what you're going to pay because maybe you

pay a percentage of the order that you buy and sell, and then also something in the assets, and then we

have a fixed fee.

 

There's a lot of things that can make things complicated, and at the end, you don't understand what you're

going to pay.

So if you're searching for the fees of a broker and you don't understand, drop it and go to the next one

because they are trying to trick you with complicated stuff.

 

And then a related question is “Do they charge fixed fees vs transaction fees?" Which means "Are this

broker something like a subscription-based, it costs a fixed amount per month, and then everything you do

inside is free, or do they make you pay something every time you buy or sell?”

The best one for you, generally, it depends on how active you're going to be, how many investments you're

going to do on a monthly basis.

The more investments you plan to do, probably it's best to have a fixed fee because at least you know that

you can operate as whatever you want.

If you know instead that you're going to do something very simple, probably the transaction fees based

brokers may work better for you because you just are going to maybe buy once per month the same

investments, and so you probably don't even pay anything.

 

Also, you need to understand if they apply order flow. What is this? It's the shady practice that we mentioned

before with Robinhood, you want to know is they don't do order flow, that is the simple idea.

 

Some of my students' questions

Now, I’ll share with you some questions that my students in my coaching program ask very often.

 

The first question that I always receive is “What if my broker goes bankrupt, do I lose all my money?”

Well, there's a difference between how your cash and your investments inside the broker are treated. Cash

in a broker is protected up to government limits (e.g., $100,000 in the US, €100,000 in the EU, £85,000 in

the UK). If a broker fails, cash beyond these limits might not be safe. However, investments are fully

protected and can be moved to another broker, as they can't be used by the broker. It's advised not to keep

too much cash in a brokerage account.

 

Second thing “What if I want to change broker?”

You can migrate your asset across brokers; it's the same exact thing. You simply need to open a new broker

account, ask to migrate the assets from the previous broker, the two brokers will talk with each other, and

they will handle this procedure. It takes a few business days, of course.

 

And finally, the other question that I always receive, especially from international students, is “What happens

if I move somewhere else?”

The first thing you need to do is to close all the accounts and pay your due taxes as realized gains before

opening a new account in a new country. You can simplify things by using a broker account that is available

in multiple countries.

For example, I use Interactive Brokers, because is available literally everywhere.

 

My favorite list of brokers by country

Let’s finally have a look at my favorite list of brokers by country.

This is not based on my favorite choice or because I'm paid to say this; I don't get paid to say this, but it's

simply what my students that are from 25 different countries told me in terms of feedback.

 

USA: Fidelity.

Canada: Well Simple for simple strategies or Interactive Brokers if you want to do complex stuff.

UK: Free Trade or Trading 212. In both cases, you have the ISA brokerage, which is an important broker to

use in the UK.

Germany: Trade Republic is the favorite one.

Italy: It’s my country, so in my opinion FCO, because you can avoid a lot of tax complications if you use a

national broker.

The rest of Europe: Degiro is my favorite safer option, or Trading 212 is a cheaper option.

Singapore, Hong Kong: a lot of people there use Moomoo, and I enjoy it.

Mexico: Bursanet.

The rest of the world: Interactive Brokers is always a safe choice.

 

In conclusion, I hope this newsletter can help you to understand how to get started as an investor.

You know, the broker is your companion; it's what you're going to use for the rest of your life, so it needs to

be something you enjoy doing and also that doesn't cost you too much money and it's safe.

 

So, Note Down These Points and Start Investing Today:

1. It’s important to select a broker that suits you, because it is your access point to the stock market.

2. Consider the easiness of usage, safety and fee structure clarity to choose you broker.

3. If your broker faces bankruptcy, cash holdings may be at risk above certain limits, but your

investments remain secure and transferable to another broker.


 

See you again next week.

 

Whenever you're ready, here is how I can help you:

1. Take advantage of all our Free Resources and start your journey as Stoic Investor 

2. Book a Free Consultation to ask your investing questions and we will point you in the right direction

3. Watch hundreds of Video Testimonials of Stoic Money Clients from 25 different countries

About Me

I am Vittorio Rigato, the Investing Coach behind Stoic Money.

I invested for more than 8 years, both for myself and by managing the 7-figures retirement account of my family.

After my Master Degree in Finance & Management, I worked in the FinTech industry in Frankfurt (Germany) and managed financial products with value up to €100 Millions.

In 2021 I have founded Stoic Money to teach employees and professionals worldwide how to invest to reach $1,000,000 Net Worth and beyond. Many of them reviewed Stoic Money service with a video testimonial here.

Multiple Finance News Websites like Yahoo Finance and Euronews talked about Stoic Money mission and services.

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