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Author: mojojojo103 Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 1360  
Subject: Re: fool 50 from online brokerage? Date: 8/11/2002 3:00 AM
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I have accounts on both sharebuilder and foliofn. Here are my thoughs on each sites options.

Sharebuilder is a little less expensive if you plan to buy and hold. They charge $12 a month for as many buys as you want to place on their tuesday trading days. They only place trades on the first 4 tuesdays of every month. This gives you time to really think about what you want to buy or sell before the orders go out to market. This is a good thing for the long term investor. However, they charge $15 for every sell--so--if you plan to rebalance quarterly or annually it could get costly to take some profits. They automatically reinvest divedends at no charge if you select the option to do this when you setup your account. They also let you change your billing option once a month. So if you want to hang out for two or three months without placing trades you can flip to $4 a trade mode; pay no fees for three months, then flip back to $12 a month mode and make a bunch of trades during one month. While you are in a trading holding pattern you can still make monthly cash contributions to the money market cash account at no charge.

Foliofn costs $14.95 a month. You can put together a folio of up to 50 stocks and ETFs from their selection of window stocks. Window stocks are a subset of stocks and ETFs they allow you to trade during their daily trading windows. They provide more stocks and ETF's to choose from than Sharebuilder. Your $14.95 a month allows you to trade twice a day; one window trade in the morning; one window trade in the afternoon. You can buy or sell any or all of your folio during any window trade any day of the week. This allows you to rebalance periodically without paying extra to sell fractions of equities from your folio. They have very nice tax tools and performance tracking tools. They also have a $4 a trade billing option, however, you cannot flip the billing option back and forth every other month without paying $4 a trade for every stock in your folio every time you switch the billing option. So once you choose your billing option you probably want to stick with it.

Having used both sites for awhile I recommend foliofn for more active investing and Sharebuilder for long term buy and hold investing. Foliofn has a wider range of useful tools. I really like the interface, the reporting, and the tax tools. Sharebuilder can be less costly for the long term buy and hold investor, however, the lack of performance and tax tools and high cost of selling is a minus in my book.

In my case I use sharebuilder for an IRA account--I don't trade much on this account since I am buying and holding. I put in my max contribution for the year then flip the charge over to the $4 a stock rate. This way I am able to pay just $12 a year to load up my IRA and then I wait until next year to do it again.

I use foliofn for a personal investment account where I dollar cost average some money in every month and rebalance periodically. They have great tools for doing this through the folio configuration. Since I trade more frequently on this account the rates work out better for me than Sharebuilder would.

Either site may work well for you depending on what kind of investment plan you are using.

Good Luck,

-MTB
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