This week I want to review a couple mediums for portfolio building: ING's Sharebuilder and Vanguard.
Each one of these has a specific purpose for me. I use Sharebuilder to buy individual stocks I am interested in and I use Vanguard to buy into my index funds. You can use Sharebuilder to buy Vanguard indexes but it costs a little more money and it just makes more sense to buy the beef from the farm if you have the option. You can also use Vanguard to purchase individual stocks and bonds, but it is a little pricier than Sharebuilder after 25 trades. Choosing one or the other to do make your entire portfolio is completely fine (the $5 purchase difference is insignificant when you are trading with any larger amounts of money). I choose to mix it up because I am really nerdy and it's fun for me to try new types of investing avenues.
It's great for Indexes because John Bogle, the founder, was the one the invented them. They are also a less expensive way to buy stocks, bonds, and ETFs when you are trading more than $500,000 in assets- only $2 a trade. The research area of the website is really tailored for the amateur investor, it's extremely easy to navigate and they don't use confusing jargon without explaining it first. I really like Vanguard's site! It's simple and has just the right amount of information. I think that a lot of investment websites are very intimidating for the novice investor and I don't get that same claustrophobic feeling from their site.
The best way to utilize ING is to find companies that you like a lot and want to do reoccurring investments in because if you have reoccurring investments it's only $4 per trade. I like a lot of things about their research page, like, they have the mover and shakers on the main research tab, the details of companies are very thorough and analyst information is extremely easy to wade through. However, I think that if someone is completely foreign to this area of the world (investing) they would easily get lost in all the activity on each page without having much explanation. ING has a lot of great products and I am a huge advocate of their savings accounts.
It really doesn't matter where you go to invest, but it is important to give it a try. It might not be for you and you would rather just stick your money under your mattress for the rest of your life. But you won't know until you at least try. I hope this helped a little, if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask! Happy Investing!