February 5, 2015 2:24 am
1. Gauge Accessibility Needs
Those who self-direct their investments tend to check their portfolio and log into their accounts more frequently. Every investor and trader has different needs, and it’s important to identify how to interact with the investment company.
- Want to be able to walk into a branch? Not all investment firms operate a branch network, or only have a handful of offices, while others have local offices across the country.
- Need to call someone after market hours? Many investment firms operate call centers to handle customer questions.
- Trading on the go? Investment firms have evolved to meet the needs of investors and traders by expanding their availability to include mobile apps. The majority (60 percent) of investors who own a smartphone report using them for banking and investment transactions and related needs, such as checking account information.
- Want to interact with the firm on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube? Find a firm that provides the opportunities to connect via social media platforms.
2. Research Your Resources
Explore an investment firm’s online resources. Whether pre- or post-log in, most online research tools are available free of charge. More than one-third of investors say they taught themselves how to invest by using online investment education tools.
- Learn what research tools each investment firm offers. Make sure real-time information is available to track a portfolio with charts and news. Learn about customizable features within each account and set up a system to easily see relevant information and take advantage of market momentum.
- Look for market calendars that present expected activity (such as initial public offerings, earnings reports, dividends, etc.) in ways that are easy to understand.
- Check for on-demand webcasts and live webinars to educate investors and traders on a variety of topics that interest them and meet their trading experience levels.
- Engage in an online trading community. These virtual groups bring investors and traders together, allowing them to swap investment strategies and learn from like-minded people. Most communities are also moderated by an investment firm with professionals who can answer investment-related questions and provide customer support.
With the right tools at hand and by partnering with a reputable investment firm that meets individual needs, self-directed investors can take charge of their investments with confidence.
Source: Scottrade, Inc.
Published with permission from RISMedia.