People have been asking me which services and apps I personally use for investing and trading. This is a list of my personal arsenal and why I use each of these.
Links to the services may contain affiliate links and if you sign up through those links, I may receive a commission which is of no additional cost to you but helps me keep my site up and running.
Hopefully by writing this page, I keep my site transparent and you can see that I not only talk about the services below but I actually use them.
As I sign up and use new services, I’ll be sure to update this. Likewise, if I pull out of one of these services, I will remove it from this page.
Investing Sites and Apps:
These are the computer sites and mobile apps that I personally use for investing. They have been great for me and I think they may be of use to you depending on your investing and trading style.
So, full disclosure, I actually signed up with a site known as Scottrade a few years ago. About two years ago, it was bought out by TDAmeritrade. The majority of my investments are actually in this site now.
The Good – The seamless transition from Scottrade to TDAmeritrade was very smooth and I’ve come to really like the platform now. In fact, I like it better than Scottrade. It’s a full service brokerage and offers an incredible amount of services. You can trade anything from stocks, ETFs and Mutual Funds to Options, Forex and Futures. You can also manage your own account or sign up for an account that is managed by professionals. They also have the most robust charting software which I use for trading known as Think or Swim.
The Bad – It’s not really bad but the fact is that you will have to pay a commission for entering and another one for exiting. For stocks, this is $6.95 per trade. Most of the other services and apps I use do not charge commissions.
How Much and Why? – Like I said, most of my money is here because most of my investments are long term and I’ve been in them for years. For that reason, the few commissions I’ve paid are worth the service.
Robinhood is the first service I’ve joined that is commission free. I was introduced to it by a friend and I’ve used it ever since. Typically, I use it for shorter term investing since that’s where the commission free investing comes in handy.
The Good – No commissions is the biggest reason I chose this. It’s also incredibly intuitive to use and easy to invest on the go which is convenient for someone like me that is always on the move. I use it for buying and selling options mostly since Robinhood is the only commission free app I know of that offers Options.
The Bad – Limited research capability and the charting is very simplistic. It’s perfect for the beginner investor because it is easy to understand but since I’ve been investing for a while, I typically do a little more research than is available on this app and find myself going back and forth often. Although, they do offer cryptocurrencies, they do not allow you to use a cryptocurrency wallet currently so all trading is kept within the app.
How Much and Why? – I keep enough in this account to trade about 5 – 10 options at a time and a couple short term stock investments that I buy and sell based on momentum and the news. This is an aggressive account and has a lot of risk but overall I’m up so I’m happy.
So, Webull is actually the company that I’ve been using the most recently. Anytime I invest new money in the stock market, Webull is the app that I deposit it into. I like their new app design and the fact that I have a margin account for a fee smaller than larger brokers like TDAmeritrade. I have started a swing trading strategy with Webull that works really well and I test out new strategies with their free Paper Trading Platform as well.
The Good – Since I started this account with about $1500 and I am trying a trading strategy that only risks $15 a time (1%), I can’t afford commission fees. Webull offers commission free trading and offers all the order types I need to do trades such as limit orders, stop orders and stop limit orders. It also allows me to place stop losses and take profit orders which are crucial when using a trading strategy.
The Bad – Webull offers over 20 indicators in their stock charts which is FAR MORE than Robinhood or Matador which have hardly any sophisticated charting at all. That being said, I still use Think or Swim from TDAmeritrade for most of my trade research just because my particular method currently calls for customization not yet available on Webull.
How Much and Why? – I started this account with $1500 and just want to see how much I can grow it using a trading strategy. Most of my money is in longer term investments on other apps but I am hoping to grow this account quite steadily and hope to move more money into it once I verify at least 100 successful trades. At that point, I’ll move some money away from Long Term Trades and scale up my position sizes. I’ll also share with you the strategy I used once I am more convinced that it is effective.
To be honest, I am falling less in love with Matador as time goes on but maybe that’s just because I haven’t really focused on it. I only put about $50 into the account to check it out but don’t see to many reasons to choose it over one of the others mentioned above. It has some interesting unique features though so maybe I’ll invest more into it later but right now, I’m only listing it because I do still have money invested in it.
The Good – You can create a friend’s list similar to Facebook or Twitter and share your trades as well as comment on each other’s trades. It brings a social element to the stock market which I think is unique and I currently converse with a couple long distance friends that trade on it with me. Also, idle money sitting in the account accrues 2.5% interest annually which is for sure more than any savings account you’ll find. Lastly, I like the fact that you can search for new investments by “theme” and some themes are pretty clever.
The Bad – Similar to Robinhood, the charting is just to simple for my taste. For a complete beginning investor, it’s actually perfect. It’s not overwhelming and gives you a nice intro to investing with basic line charts.
How Much and Why? – I haven’t invested any additional money in this account since the original $50 and I’m debating on whether I want to. If I had to start investing with either Robinhood or Matador and never opened an account with either, then I think it would be an equally good starting app. Since I already have money in Robinhood and there is no reason that I see to switch it over, I haven’t. Also, Matador doesn’t trade options and like I said, that’s really what I use Robinhood for the most.
As far as investing in cryptocurrencies, I use Coinbase. It currently allows me to trade all the cryptocurrencies that I am interested in and has an easy to use interface. I did invest in this at the peak of the Bitcoin bubble and so I’m down about 55% of my original investment but that has come up from the 20% low that I was at. Just like I share with you my successes though, I’ll also share with you my failures. This was one. That being said, I think this is a good time to start with cryptocurrencies and I am up for the year.
The Good – They offer 15 crypto currency wallets and add to it all the time. When I started using it, the app only had 3. It has been the easiest app for me so far. I had my money in a site called Binance before that was Chinese run and it was very difficult for me in the US to move money and required way too many verification steps for me to access my account so I moved it all back to Coinbase.
The Bad – The trading fees are a little high for me and make it difficult to do short term trades but since I am investing for the long term, this isn’t unforgivable. For a shorter term trader though, you may find better alternatives.
How Much and Why? – I invested about $1000 in this but I’m still down about 55% of that investment. Like all investments though there is risk and this one didn’t work out for me so far. I was down to about $200 at one point and only check on it occasionally buy it does seem to be coming back slowly and I invested in it to diversify my portfolio so now may not be a bad time to get back into it.
This is an account that I used for a while to save up for home improvement projects and other short term costly endeavors. I’ve actually raised money in it and withdrew from it twice now and the money I made from investing it, more than covered the $1/month fee. Now it is more of a long term investment and I not only contribute spare change from rounding up purchases on my bank card, but also throw in about $10/week. I plan on keeping this going for at least 5 years and then after that, who knows!
The Good – Round up spare change from daily purchases to effortlessly save money and have it invested for you based on your goals and risk tolerance. Acorns lets you also contribute any time you want to grow your account faster and withdrawal is easy. Also, they now have a retirement account feature so you can save up those golden years. Acorns also partners with many vendors to give you cash back when you use a partner’s website. I even get $1 every time I shop at Sam’s Club. Since I shop at Sams Club more than once a month, it more than pays for the $1/month fee and I still get interest and dividends from the investments.
The Bad – There really aren’t any bad qualities to this site. It’s a managed investing platform so you can’t manage your individual stock acquisitions but buying and selling individual stocks isn’t really what this service is about so I can’t really say it’s “bad.”
How Much and Why? – Like I said above I invest a little over $100 a month between my $10/week contributions and rounding up purchases. It’ll be a nice little nest egg in a few years and I’ll either reinvest in another investing vehicle or just leave it parked where it’s at to continue growing.
Similar to Acorns, this is a service that will invest your money into portfolios designed to help you achieve a goal based on your personal needs. You decide how much money you want by a certain point and provide initial funds and it will adjust your portfolio constantly to help you achieve that goal. As your target time frame approaches, it will adjust risk to ensure you don’t suffer from a bad timed market downturn. For example, I’m using it to save money for my kids so that when they are adults I can provide them with a head start in life.
The Good – Managed portfolios make investing automated so you don’t have to pay close attention constantly to the market. It is robo-invested, meaning that the portfolio is managed by algorithms and software which means that you have lower fees than a standard managed brokerage account.
The Bad – Like any managed portfolio, the yearly fees do still reduce your overall investment over time but that’s the price you pay for a set it and forget it investing platform.
How Much and Why? – I invest $50 a month to this account on going currently to help it grow. Like I said, I just wanted something that was easy to set money aside for my children and not have it interfere with my other investments. I check it twice a year and occasionally add additional funds to it if I desire.
Stock Advising Service
I only use one stock advising service. It has outperformed the market and shown me stocks that I never would have known about otherwise. I have been a member of the following stock advising site for on and off 3 years now and highly recommend it to anyone interested in getting started with long term investing.
I heard about Motley Fool by picking up one of their books called Rule Breakers at a local bookstore. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found it helpful in my journey learning about stocks.
The Good – Motley Fool Stock Advisor consistently beats the market. They come out with 2 new stock picks every month and update a list of 10 best buys each month as well. Out of the 10 stocks that I own based on their picks, my biggest winner is currently up 84% while the biggest loser is down -12%. These stock picks are meant for the long term investor though. Motley Fool recommends you hold your position for 3 – 5 years. My current 10 stocks average at a little more than 28% up and that’s not including the positions that I’ve already sold for a profit.
The Bad – The service is not free. You have to weigh if it is worth the price tag based on what you hope to gain from it and how much you are able to invest to ensure that your earnings outweigh the cost. For me, it’s a no-brainer. I’ve benefited from this service so much that the cost is almost negligible. In fact, I just renewed it for another year a month ago.
How Much and Why? – I would say about haIf of my stock investments come directly from picks that I’ve received from Motley Fool. I also pick some stocks on my own though, trade stocks short term, trade options, invest in cryptocurrency, and am leaning into real estate. Read my full review if you’d like a look inside the actual Motley Fool Platform!