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No. of Recommendations: 16
If you are an experienced investor, skip down to EXPERIENCED INVESTORS below.

If you are new to investing your first step is to make sure you need a broker. The Fool suggests you only invest money you won't need for the next five years. Have you paid off all your high interest debt?
Why do I need a broker?

Your next step is to determine how you want to invest. One of the biggest frustrations of new investors is the amount of money they end up paying in fees and commissions. Typically you will pay a commission each time you buy or sell a stock or mutual fund. But you also may be charged a fee simply because you have an account with a firm. When you don't have a lot to invest you may end up paying more in fees and commissions than you make in the market.

If you only have a small amount of money you may want to read this article:
Where to Stash Your Cash

Are you interested in buying only mutual funds? Maybe it would make sense to buy the funds directly from a mutual fund provider rather than a broker:
Mutual Funds Area (great links, read “Grand Overview”)
(web page)
Morningstar (web site – rates funds)
Mutual Funds discussion board
Index Funds - FAQ (post & discussion board)

If you are sure you want to buy stocks, are there just a few companies that you are interesting in and are you going to be LTBH (Long Time Buy and Hold)? Have you considered DRIPs (Dividend Reinvestment Plans)?
DRIP Portfolio Area (check out links)
National Association of Investors Corporation
The MoneyPaper, Inc.
Drip Investing - The Basics discussion board
Drip Investing – Companies - FAQ (post & discussion board)

Okay, so now we know you have the money to invest and you are interested in buying stocks, mutual funds, or bonds from a broker. Maybe you want to get your feet wet by setting up a mock portfolio:
Portfolio Help

When you are evaluating a broker here are some typical questions to consider:
· Does the broker have a minimum to open an account?
· What is the commission schedule?
· Are there other fees associated with an account?
· Does the broker have a method to make regular purchases at low cost?
· Is there phone/email support? Is it 24-hour support?
· Does the broker have a local office? Is that important to you?
· Does the broker have all the investment vehicles you are looking for?
· Does the broker provide research tools? Is that important to you?

Below are some research tools to help you now evaluate brokers.

EXPERIENCED INVESTORS and additional resources.

If you are an experienced investor you probably just want to know how people on this board feel about a particular broker. You may want to try the search function on this board. In the upper center of the screen is a field labeled “Search:”, type in the name of the broker you are considering and click on Go.

You also may want to check out the following pages and sites:

Discount Broker Center at the Fool.
Rates brokers, banks, credit cards…

Don Johnson's Online Discount Brokers Ranked
Broker rankings.
List of brokers.

NASD Regulation, Inc.
“NASD Regulation, Inc. is the independent subsidiary of the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. charged with regulating the securities industry and The Nasdaq Stock Market®."
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