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Author: TomPastore001 Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 4956  
Subject: Re: B&H vs. Sharebuilder Date: 10/10/2007 6:42 PM
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Buy and Hold is a slightly more FLEXIBLE deal than Share builder with regards to the timing issues of buying and selling. In Fact, you can also get free real time trades (almost) on the 15 dollar a month plan - as long as the ONLY real times you trade are within minutes or seconds of the "Trading Window".

You have to work a bit outside of the box but you can achieve a pretty close approximation to the control you would have by trading with any other broker - again within the time limits set by THEM.

Overall I had a ROTTEN experience with Buy and Hold. Their customer service is lousy. Their web site is beyond worthless AND hard to figure out...and hasn't changed by the way for over FIVE years. They have absolutely no tools of any use whatsoever for the individual investor. They keep bankers hours - this one kills me - an online broker who doesnt have someone to talk to you around the clock....I do believe this is MY money you guys are playing with...

At first glance they appear to be a good way for an incremental small fry to amass 10 or 20 thousand dollars in the market over a four or five year time frame. The cost is fixed at about 180 bucks a year and the more you trade the CHEAPER it is on a per trade basis. Mistakes cost nothing on the transaction side.

There is a HUGE downside to them though upon closer inspection. Aside for the completely useless web site and lousy customer service you also are faced with a much higher cost over time than if you were using a more conventional discount broker....more on that later.

First, I need to warn you about their special way of treating their clients when one of us decides to leave. I had fractional shares all over the place in two accounts when I switched to Ameritrade and B&H decided to transfer only the whole shares over and SELL all of my fractional shares BEFORE transferring the remaining cash over to my new accounts (which STILL hasn't happened FOUR WEEKS later). I never aksed them to do this nor did I approve it. It has me wondering if I should consult an attorney or the sec or something.

This was supposed to be a total account transfer and Ameritrade would have been happy to take the whole thing in tact - fractional shares and all!

Needless to say this netted Buy and Hold most of the money in fractional shares I had accumulated and left me with a few pennies, no shares, an accounting NIGHTMARE and feeling completely ripped off! I am wondering what they are going to do with the rest of the cash they are holding hostage in the two accounts they were supposed to transfer cleanly to Ameritrade....

Oddly enough, there are two people I know who are in the process of starting their own investment and retirement accounts right now. Those are the FIRST two who I will influence to AVOID the shenanigans of Buy and Hold.

My advice to anyone thinking of using Buy and Hold would be to open an account with a discount broker like Ameritrade, or E-Trade, or Scott Trade. The account is FREE... Generally pays interest... allows you to buy from a VASTLY expanded universe, margin, has excellent analysis tools, real time quotes and charts out the wazu, more tools and resources than the average person will ever use in two lifetimes...

Then use a modified strategy. Instead of buying stocks in little dribs and drabs, leaving you continually cashless in the account, SAVE money in dribs and drabs into the account. THEN when you have a thousand or two make an investment in your best pick that day. Repeat the process either five or ten times - buying and holding as you go....AND reinvesting the dividends....

and what was the cost? Even if you do it ten times (99 bucks @ 9 dollars per trade at Ameritrade) you have done it cheaper than Buy and Hold would cost in the first year. Are you planning to save ten thousand dollars THIS year? ... so you see the deal Buy and hold is offering you is NO DEAL. Keep your money in your pocket instead of their fee structured coffers.

And their IRA is even MORE expensive! Not only do they want the monthly fee, they charge you 3 dollars for every trade NO MATTER WHAT! Suddenly buying in small amounts has become very expensive indeed!
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