A subsidiary of ING Direct, ShareBuilder is an online brokerage firm that allows clients to execute real-time trades, purchase securities on margin and buy and sell options. One of the deep-discount broker’s selling points is the ability to set up automatic investment plans, drawing from either your own bank account or funds in your ShareBuilder account. For a low, fixed rate, you can direct ShareBuilder to make purchases every week, month or year, at your discretion. ShareBuilder allows individual investors to open individual or joint-brokerage accounts, traditional and Roth IRA accounts, education savings accounts and/or custodial accounts.
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Things you need
- Internet access
- A checking/savings account number and ABA number or credit card
- Social Security number
- Employer address and phone number
To open an account, go to www.sharebuilder.com and select the "Open an Account" link.
Fill out the forms on the pages that follow. First choose your account type on the "Account Type" page, then fill out the "Your Information" form. You will need to provide your address, Social Security number, employment information, e-mail address, and phone number. You will also need to choose a user name and password.
You will be provided with a PDF copy of ShareBuilder's terms of service. Read the document and indicate that you agree to abide by these terms.
You will now have a new ShareBuilder account. Select a pricing program, which allows you to make automatic investments at a fixed monthly rate. The more securities you intend to buy per month, the higher the rate.
Once you select a pricing program, you will be prompted for a method of funding your ShareBuilder account. You can choose to fund your pricing plan with either a credit card or bank account number. Enter your bank account number and ABA routing number or your credit card number in the fields provided. There are no fund minimums; the information you supply will be used to deduct funds when your automatic investments are scheduled to begin.
Now you can start researching and selecting your investments. You can also transfer money to ShareBuilder to start making real-time trades immediately. Choose the "Accounts" link to set up your automatic investments and the "Research" link to view historical data about securities.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure to perform thorough research before you invest in any security. Supplement ShareBuilder's research reports with other sources of information, such as annual reports, analyst recommendations and news reports.
- Make sure your computer is equipped with adequate security.
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