Let’s talk about the best brokerage account. In order to do this, I want to compare five different brokers for you.
I’ll be comparing tastyworks, the broker that I’m currently trading with, Robinhood because many traders are using it, TD Ameritrade because it’s wildly popular, Interactive Brokers because it’s great for international traders, and we will talk about a new broker that I’ve been using for the past couple of months.
I want to compare these and also tell you why I really like this new broker and why I’m in the process of switching over all of my accounts.
Now, he first thing to keep in mind when you’re comparing different brokers is, you have to pick criteria that fit your needs. These are my criteria and they might be great for you, or your criteria may be different.
So what am I looking for when finding the best broker?
My Criteria For Selecting A Broker
The first thing that I would like to know is how much do I have to pay in commissions per month? I use a certain baseline for this. With my current broker, tastyworks, I looked back over the past three months and I wanted to see how much I spent. From 1/1 through 3/31 I made 150 trades and traded 1,665 contracts.
So I use this as my baseline in order to compare these different brokers. I look to see what if I make 150 trades, or 50 trades per month, and 500 contracts per month. Again, for you, it might be different, but we need to have a baseline, especially when we are comparing the commissions per month.
Now, every single broker has some other fees, and you need to see which of these fees are important to you. Below are the ones that are important to me.
I want to know if there any wire fees and if so, how much are they?
Also, are there any assignment fees? Assignment fees are important to me because I’m trading The Wheel Strategy, and part of this strategy is getting assigned shares, so I want to know how much this will be.
Information about their customer support is also important to me. What happens if I need help and I need to call or e-mail them? Do they have an online chat feature?
What about the platform? Every single broker offers a platform for you, so which one best fits your needs?
This is where we get a little bit more technical because I want to talk about levels three and four. What does this mean? Well, it means that, especially when you are selling options which you do with The Wheel Strategy, you need certain option trading permissions. You want to know how easily can you get level three and four if this is important to you.
Now, last but not least, I love having live data. I don’t know about you, but I want to make sure that live data is available with these brokerages. I also want to know how much it costs.
Let’s get started and let’s talk about the first broker, tastyworks.
I am currently using tastyworks, and I know exactly how much money I spent on tastyworks. On this particular account, I spent $550 dollars in commissions.
For the baseline of 50 trades and 500 contracts per month, I spent around $180 in commissions. Now for tastyworks, how much are wire fees? When I wire money out, which is once a month, it costs me $25.
What about the assignment fees? The assignment fees for tastyworks are $5, and I want to explain to you exactly how they are charging. With tastyworks, they charge $1 per contract and they have a $10 maximum. So you’re never paying more than $10, even if you’re trading 50 contracts.
They also have no closing fees and this applies to options trading. For stock trading, these days, trading stocks is free pretty much everywhere. So we want to worry about options here because that’s what I’m mainly trading.
What about customer support? I must say their support is good. The experiences that I have had thus far when I contact them by chat are very quick. When contacting them through chat, they usually only have me on hold for three to ten minutes.
Now, what I don’t like about tastyworks is that you can’t call them, and sometimes I would rather speak with someone on the phone. This is why I’m not labeling it “very good,” I’m just labeling it as “good” because you can’t call them.
As for their platform, I think it is pretty good. However, I’m just using a fraction of the platform, so for me, the most important function is actually placing trades.
I’m not using any of the complicated curves that you can have and all of the analysis tools, but again, if this is important to you, then you need to make sure that this platform meets all of your needs. For me, it does what I need it to do, which is entering trades.
Now level three and four is actually something that is quite easy to obtain with tastyworks. So no problems there, and live data is actually free.
For Robinhood, how much would you pay in commissions per month? Well, Robinhood has always advertised you pay zero commissions, and that is true. For options trading, you also pay zero dollars, which is actually pretty cool.
Wire fees are a whopping zero dollars, assignment fees are also zero dollars. So thus far Robinhood is really good in terms of commissions, right?
Well, what about customer support? Now, full disclosure, I do not have an account with Robinhood so I’ve never contacted them, but based on what I have heard, it’s pretty bad.
Based on what I’ve seen, I don’t know if you’ve been following the news, but back when we had the GME craziness, Robinhood restricted trading for several days. I don’t think that was fair and they should have done that, but they did.
This makes it seem to me they don’t have their customers in mind. Now, again, full disclosure, I don’t have an account with them and never contacted them. I’ve just heard that customer support is pretty bad.
What about the platform? I don’t know first hand, but I’ve heard it’s good. Again, this is where I go from hearsay because I don’t have an account with Robinhood and don’t want one.
In terms of levels three and four, I heard from traders who have an account with them that it’s fairly difficult to obtain levels three and four. If you’re trading The Wheel Strategy, this is super important.
As for their live data, it’s free.
Now on to TD Ameritrade. How much would you spend with TD Ameritrade based on my baseline? You would pay 65 cents per the contract that you trade. So if you’re trading 500 contracts per month like me, times 65 cents, that comes to $325.
What about the wire fee? The wire fees here are also $25, the same as with tastyworks, but assignment fees are zero.
Next is customer support. Customer support used to be good, right now I would say it is decent. There was a time when you could call them they would pick right up. These days you are probably on hold for anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours.
TD Ameritrade was bought by Charles Schwab, and there seems to be a lot of consolidation going on. Because of this, it seems that customer support is suffering.
What about the platform? ThinkOrSwim is probably one of the most powerful trading platforms out there, and it is fairly complex. For me, I just need to enter simple orders such as buy and sell orders.
For me personally, it’s too complex. It took me a long time to learn it. For those of you who have ThinkOrSwim, you either love it or you hate it. Either way, it is so complex, so you probably had to spend hours and hours learning it.
Levels three and four are fairly simple to acquire, and also live data here is free.
Now with Interactive Brokers, I personally have three accounts. I’ve been using them since 1999. They’re a great choice for international traders. However, Interactive Brokers charges 65 cents per contract, very similar here to TD Ameritrade. If I would trade on Interactive Brokers I would actually spend $325.
The wire fee here is a little bit cheaper, $10. The assignment fees, if you get assigned, are zero.
Now their customer support, based on my experience is pretty bad. I’ve tried contacting them by chat, phone, email, and if you’re trying to contact them by chat, you will most likely be on hold for at least 20 minutes. If you try to contact them by phone it is not unusual to wait 30 to 60 minutes until you get connected.
Their platform here is actually simple to use, but I find it’s pretty clunky. Again, this is just my opinion, you on the other hand might find this platform blazing fast and think it’s the best trading platform there is.
In terms of levels three and four, it’ fairly easy to obtain. Live data is a monthly fee of $14.50, so just keep this in mind and know what you need.
When I saw all this mess going on in February where several brokers restricted trading, I said, “you know what, this is not fair.” When I heard from some of you saying, “My broker suddenly raised the margin requirements and I didn’t have a margin problem before and now I have a margin call,” or that you’re on hold forever before you get any customer support, I set out to find a great broker. Here is the new broker that I’m currently using.
The new broker that I’m using is Tradier. I will move all of my accounts over to them because of what they’re offering.
The commission per month, it’s a $10 flat fee. $10 no matter how many options you trade. This is a special rate for those of you reading these articles, and following me on YouTube.
I think it’s an absolutely cool model because it’s a flat fee no matter how many contracts you trade. Now, this of course, is great if you are trading a lot of contracts like me. You have seen it, 500 contracts per month, with 150 trades, I’m a very, very active trader.
I think it is absolutely cool that instead of paying $180 per month, all I’m paying right now is a $10 flat fee.
Now the wire fees are a little bit more expensive. The wire fees are $35, but again, I’m using it once a month. Therefore, if I’m adding this up, it’s $205 per month versus $45 a month, and for me, that adds up. It’s only a $10 difference from tastyworks, and I’m not wiring money in and out like crazy. I’m just wiring it out once a month and that is okay.
So the assignment fee here is a little bit higher, at $9 as of right now. So over the past three months,I had 3 wires and I had 8 assignments. This is for the year. This means that per month I have 1 wire and approximately 3 assignments.
As you can see, this is why the assignment costs here for me are not that important. Again, these are my numbers, your numbers might be completely different, and that is fine. This is where the cool thing is you have probably your brokerage account statement, so you can take a look at that, and then you know exactly how much you’re paying right now.
The customer support, based on my experience over the past two months that I’ve been using them, is awesome. I can pick up the phone right now and can call them, and within two to three rings, somebody picks up. The customer support team is in North Carolina, so I’m not going overseas, they are here in the United States.
They have been super responsive by email and by phone. I don’t even know if they offer a chat on the website because I was just so happy that I can finally talk to somebody. Again, I’m coming from tastyworks, and on tastyworks, I’ve never, ever been able to talk to somebody because their business model is that they’re all doing it by chat, so I love this.
What about their platform? Their platform is simple, and in my opinion, it is super easy to learn. You can learn this platform in literally 10 minutes because that’s what they do. They just say, hey, if you want to enter trades, which I want to do, it’s fine.
They don’t have all of the bells and whistles that the other platforms have. So I would say it’s more comparable to Robinhood instead of a platform like TD Ameritrade, because with Robinhood you just enter the trade and it is good. So it’s simple and easy, does the trick for me.
Levels three and four are super easy to get. And live data is free.
How To Get A Tradier Account
So this is what this new broker is all about, and I want to give you a special link for a special rate. Usually, it’s a $30/month flat fee, but if you use this LINK to set up your account, and use the promo code “Rockwell10” you will get a flat fee of only $10/month instead of the regular $30.
For our members we have created a special discussion group in our private community. In this discussion group we’re here to help and support you with this particular brokerage, Tradier.
For example, people have been asking if they open an account for business, an LLC for example. And the answer is yes. So you can ask us if you want to, and of course you can contact them.
We also have tutorials for you such as videos on how to open an account, how to set up a paper trading account, and that reminds me, they offer paper trading. As you know, I highly recommend that you trade on a paper trading account first.
There are also videos on how to fund your Tradier account, how to place a stock entry order for the PowerX Strategy, how to place options order for the PowerX Strategy, entering orders for The Wheel Strategy, and how to check your positions.
My promise was to show you the best broker, and Tradier is the best broker for my needs. Now, for your needs it might be different, but I thought that it would be helpful to compare the top five brokers that most traders are using right now.
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