If you’re interested in trading stocks or another financial market for yourself without having to rely on a personal broker, then you’re going to want to sign up for a trading account at an online brokerage. Personal brokers generally are instructed to pump certain stocks to their clients, so very often they ultimately don’t have your best interests in mind. If the markets are doing well, sure they’re probably going to look like they’re doing a fine job, but when things get sticky, don’t expect them to bail you out until it’s too late. This is why learning to trade for yourself is going to be beneficial, and the first thing you’re going to need is to choose an online broker.

First off, you need to figure out what market are you looking to trade? If it’s stocks, what kind of stocks? Do you want to trade penny stocks or big board stocks, such as Nasdaq, New York Stock Exchange, or another major market? Are you looking to buy and sell stock options? How about the forex market? Forex stands for foreign exchange, and with this market you buy or sell one countries currency against another. Other markets include commodities or the futures markets, where you can trade anything from gold to oil to corn. Not only can you trade these instruments, but you can do so with an insane amount of leverage, which means with a moderate amount of money, you get to control a large amount of the underlying object.The reason I bring all this up is because depending on what you want to trade, there’s going to be an ideal broker for you. So before you research which broker to choose, make sure you know exactly what you’re going to be trading, so you can factor this into your quest.

Once you’ve figured out what market you’re going to be trading, there are some other key criteria that you’re going to need to factor into your decisions. One of the most important factors is how much you’re going to be charged for each trade, otherwise known as the commission. Customer service is going to be something else to consider, and finally I’d recommend keeping in mind the trading platform itself. This will include the stability, ease of use, and the software tools that may or may not be included. If you’re interested in using chart patterns or chart analysis in your trades, then you’re going to want to make sure you have a nice charting platform, which your broker might be able to provide for you.

In the end, you need to determine which one best fits your needs, but understand that there likely isn’t going to be a perfect fit for you. You may find one that you love, has cheap commissions, a nice chart platform, but not so great customer service. You may have to bounce around and try a few before you find your match, but with all the options out there, don’t settle for one that doesn’t meet your standards and expectations.

 

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