Opening Your First Brokerage Account in 2024? 4 Features to Look For

Now that a new year has kicked into gear, it’s time to start tackling some of your financial goals. And one of yours might be to begin investing for the first time.

To do that, though, you’ll need to find the right brokerage account. And with numerous options to choose from, that can be tough.

One easy way to find a brokerage account is to simply ask friends and colleagues what platforms they use. But from there, you can narrow down your choices by focusing on these four features.

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Read more: best online stock brokers for beginners

1. Commission-free trading

It used to be that every time you bought or sold stocks in a brokerage account, a fee would apply. These days, that’s rare.

Certain brokerage transactions may trigger a fee, such as trading ETFs, depending on your brokerage. But buying and selling stocks shouldn’t be one of them.

2. Fractional shares

Many brokerages now allow you to buy shares of stock on a fractional basis. That’s an important thing when you’re first starting and may not have all that much money to invest with.

Fractional investing means buying portions of stock shares instead of full shares. And it could be instrumental in helping you build a diversified portfolio.

Right now, as an example, Netflix is trading at about $480 per share. Meanwhile, let’s say you’re opening a brokerage account with $500 and are interested in owning Netflix. If you’re forced to buy a full share, that means your entire portfolio will mostly consist of a single stock. That’s not great. If your brokerage lets you buy shares on a fractional basis, you could buy one-fourth of a share of Netflix and put your remaining funds into different companies.

3. A platform that’s easy to use

You shouldn’t have to feel as if you need an online course or an advanced degree to use your brokerage account. Many trading platforms are easy to navigate and very intuitive, and that’s something you should seek out.

If you find that using your brokerage account is a frustrating experience, you may be less motivated to add money to it over time. You may also fall into the trap of not checking in on your investments because you don’t want to deal with hiccups. But in reality, you should be checking your brokerage account about once a quarter to make sure your portfolio is balanced.

4. No inactivity fees

Some people buy and sell stocks daily. Others might do nothing in their accounts for months on end.

The latter is something you should give yourself the option to do. To that end, aim for a brokerage account that won’t charge you for not engaging in transactions. You don’t want to be dinged simply because you weren’t able to add money to your balance or you didn’t want to buy or unload any assets for a period of time.

Choosing the right place to invest is the first step toward growing wealth in 2024. Keep an eye out for these features when exploring your brokerage options. With any luck, you’ll soon get into the habit of investing regularly, which could really do a world of good for your personal financial situation.

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