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I'm going to be opening retirement account soon. Likely it will be a Roth, self directed acct. My situation is both simple and complicated, so for the time being I will ask the question that is weighing most heavily in my mind.

How are safekeeping fees calculated, at least in general? What do I need to know to make a good decision?

My scenario is this: opening a Roth IRA with only $1000. From what I have been reading online it appears that safekeeping fees would almost eat up any gains I could possibly hope to make.

For example, a Wells Trade account (yes, possibly a bad choice, but a good example of why I have this question) charges $150 per position, with the footnote of "Safekeeping fee is only charged on those securities eligible to be held in street name"

Add on the fact that they would charge me a fee to issue a physical certificate, so either way I would be hit with a fee, it makes no sense.

I know situations vary, accounts with much larger investments wouldn't really "feel" such a fee. For instance my dad doesn't pay such fees and can't even answer my question, but he has a large managed portfolio For me though it would kill me.

I will go into my situation in more detail later but thought simplifying it would be the best approach for the moment. But it comes down to the fact that I have to begin somewhere. I will likely inherit a portfolio in the future and feel the need to educate myself now so I can make the best decisions when the time comes, even though it is a managed account I'd like to be able to keep an eye on things; I also may need to help keep an eye on things as my parents age.

So. What's the deal with safekeeping fees? How can the small/ beginning investor avoid them? How do I determine what stocks/funds cam be held in street name? At the moment this is the first sticky point keeping me from opening an account.

I'm a complete newbie, so forgive my ignorance. lol
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