The competition between businesses changes every day, mirroring the affairs between the nations they are set in. Similar to countries competing for power and impact around the world, businesses influence the pace and direction of globalization now more than ever.
Although a company’s sole purpose is to make a profit, wealth was never the sole driving force behind its growth or survival. Instead, successful companies rely on intelligence and creativity in the face of competition. Quotes from America’s past successful business leaders almost never attribute wealth to success, and instead cite innovation as the key to survival and power.
Henry Ford, for example, said, “The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, expectance, and ability.”
Today, intelligence and creativity are often trump cards in the marketplace. Instead of providing physical goods, many companies now reinvent products on digital platforms. A book can now be read and shared online instead of in print, for example. As a result of the new digital realm, information and its derivative goods have only become more prevalent in business, while physical products and money have not always kept pace.
Below is Newsmax’s list of the 100 most influential business leaders in America. This list takes into account each candidates’ net worth, the company’s brand value, and the positions in both their relevant industries as well as the global business market. For the purposes of this ranking, the leaders themselves don’t necessarily have to be American born, but instead must lead businesses that are U.S.-based. Furthermore, influential business leaders do not necessarily need to hold the position of CEO.
1. Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. — Referred to as the Oracle of Omaha, Buffett is the CEO of diversified holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and is the third-richest man in the world. Although Buffett’s position is not a major source for job creation, he has continued to inspire and influence the worldwide economic market with his trading approaches. Buffett’s net worth is estimated at $65.7 billion, and he was listed as the 14th-most powerful person in the world in a recent Forbes ranking.
2. Rupert Murdoch, News Corp and 21st Century Fox — Although Murdoch recently announced he would be stepping down as CEO of 21st Century Fox, he will still hold power and influence in the company as executive chairman. Murdoch is also CEO of News Corp, which succeeded News Corporation. In the past, he’s been named by Fortune as the second-most powerful person in business, whose assets include media outlets such as the New York Post, Fox Broadcasting company, The Wall Street Journal, and multiple successful news publications spanning in Australia, America, Europe, and Asia.
3. Larry Page, Google — CEO and one of the co-founders of Google, Page is in charge of the most powerful and influential company on the Internet today. Ranked No. 3 in the world by Forbes for most valuable brands, Google generates some 2 million Internet searches per second. Page has taken the simple idea of a search engine company and maximized its market and projects to engender ambitious new technological advances such as Google Glass and driverless cars. Along with being one of the world’s richest men, Page also has a staggering 96-percent approval rating among employees at Google, according to Glassdoor.com. While balancing employee happiness along with ambitious creative projects, Page has managed to continue to increase Google’s profits, with its net income rising 17 percent to $3.93 billion in the recent three months leading, according to the BBC.
4. Tim Cook, Apple — CEO of the most valuable brand in the world, according to Forbes, Cook has continued to show leadership in the revolutionary tech company. Filling the shoes of American tech pioneer Steve Jobs after his death in 2011, Cook did not stumble in his new position as CEO, but continued to direct Apple in the direction of the future. Under Cook’s direction, the tech giant has broken into two additional markets including smart watches and music streaming services. The Apple Watch is popular among politicians and celebrities, while Apple Music is cruising up to compete with streaming giant Spotify.
5. Jeff Bezos, Amazon — Founder and standing CEO of Amazon.com, Bezos revolutionized how the entire world shops online. In addition to serving as the largest online retail outlet in the world, according to Forbes, Amazon has made its way into many different markets. Under Bezos’s direction, Amazon now sells tablets, video-streaming services, and is also experimenting with drone-based delivery methods. The company’s use of advertisement on delivery boxes is another advance in the field of commercial advertising as well.
6. Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands Corporation — With a fortune estimated by Forbes to be around the $28 billion mark, Adelson is an investor, philanthropist, business magnate, and chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. His company operates Las Vegas’ The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center, as well as the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. He is also a well-known name in the Republican Party, gaining influence over the years as a result of his generous donations.
7. Charles and David Koch, Koch Industries — The Koch brothers run the family business, the second largest privately owned company in the country. With Charles as chairman and CEO and David as executive vice president, Koch Industries hauled in an estimated revenue of $115 billion, according to Forbes. The Koch brothers are also well known as political mega-donors, offering up more than $100 million to fund right-wing causes. They were once dubbed by The New Yorker as “the billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.”
8. Steve Schwarzman, The Blackstone Group — As co-founder and CEO of the global private equity and financial advisory firm The Blackstone Group, Schwarzman has an estimated fortune of $12.9 billion, according to Forbes. He is highly involved in philanthropic causes, donating $100 million to expand the New York Public Library and giving $150 million to Yale University earlier this year, The New York Times reported.
9. Jack Welch, General Electric — Retired businessman Jack Welch was CEO and chairmen of General Electric from 1981 to 2001. During his career at the company, GE’s value rose 4,000 percent, according to TheRichest.com. GE’s revenue grew from $25 billion to $130 billion while Welch was with the company, according to Business Insider.
10. Satya Nadella, Microsoft — Inheriting a massive company from outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, Nadella has brought some of the magic back to Microsoft’s onetime renaissance under founder Bill Gates. Although he is still young in his position as CEO, Nadella has acted quickly to bring Microsoft up-to-date by cutting ties with Nokia and creating apps that operate with Linux and Mac to tap into the markets of the Android and iPad devices. It’s a quick shift in direction from Nadella that makes Microsoft the second-most valuable brand in the world, according to Forbes.
11. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook — After the film “The Social Network” pushed him into the international spotlight, the Facebook co-founder and CEO only continued to rise in popularity. Named one of the youngest billionaires by Forbes with a net worth of $34 billion, 31-year-old Zuckerberg’s influence will only continue to grow. Facebook is ranked No. 10 on the list of the world’s most valuable company brands, according to Forbes.
12. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs Group — CEO of investment banking firm Goldman Sachs Group, Blankfein manages $911.5 billion, and was named the 27th-most powerful person in the world, according to Forbes. Blankfein was also named the third most powerful person in business by Fortune in the past.
13. Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil — President and CEO of the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, Tillerson led Exxon Mobile to $4.9 billion in profits within it first quarter beating previous expectations. Tillerson was ranked as the 20th-most influential person in the world, according to Forbes.
14. Brian Roberts, Comcast Corporation — In addition to serving as the chairman and CEO of Comcast, Roberts personally controls 33 and 1/3 percent of the voting rights of the company. He also chairs the board of directors of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. The attempted $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable may not have worked out, but Comcast has a renewed commitment to revamping its business in order to ensure it stays the largest cable company in the United States.
15. Paul Singer, Elliott Management Corporation — As the founder and CEO of hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation, Singer oversees more than $25 billion, according to Forbes. He ranks No. 16 on the Forbes list of highest-earning hedge fund managers and traders, and has an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion. Singer is also active in the political and philanthropic arenas, donating to the Republican Party and even serving on the Honorary Delegation to accompany President George W. Bush to Jerusalem in 2008.
16. Larry Ellison, Oracle — Ellison, a computer programmer and entrepreneur, is a cofounder and CEO of software manufacturer Oracle Corporation. Under Ellison’s leadership, the company has been able to out-sell IBM, making it the second-largest software vendor. It raked in $29.6 billion in software revenue alone in 2013, according to PC World. Oracle Corporation now competes just under Microsoft, which continues to hold the spot of the largest software vendor. Ellison is the fifth-richest man in the world according to Forbes, with a $54.3 billion net worth.
17. Donald Trump, The Trump Organization — Trump’s accomplishments and image span from his real estate company to his successful television show to his very own board game. Trump is not just a person, but a brand, and now that brand is running for president. Since announcing his candidacy earlier this summer, Trump has promised to take his business expertise and apply it to America as a whole. Although some of Trump’s businesses have filed for bankruptcy in the past, according to Vanity Fair, the billionaire has time and time again overcome any fiscal danger and turned his companies around. With Trump’s net worth at more than $10 billion, he has certainly made himself into a household name. Trump is currently ahead in the polls for the Republican nomination for president with 32 percent of the vote, according to a September CNN/ORC poll.
18. Bill Gates, Microsoft, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — Gates was ranked the seventh-most powerful person in the world by Forbes. Gates is also known as the richest person on the planet with a net worth estimated at $78.5 billion.
19. Michael Bloomberg — Successful businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg shares experience in politics and business alike. Bloomberg was named the richest person in New York state with an estimated net worth of more than $33 billion, according to Business Insider. Bloomberg currently owns 88 percent of his company Bloomberg LP, which he started in 1981.
20. Wilbur Ross — An investor and businessman who made his billions advising bankruptcies and restructuring flailing companies, Ross is a force in the steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investments, and textiles industries. He spent 25 years with Rothschild Inc’s bankruptcy practice and then founded investment firm WL Ross & Co in 2000. It was acquired by Invesco in 2006. He has spent the recent years turning around troubled banks, first the Bank of Ireland and then the Bank of Cyprus.
21. Jeff Immelt, General Electric — CEO of the ninth-most popular brand in the world, according to Forbes, Immelt and GE manufacture everything from jet engines to medical equipment. Immelt has been with the company since 1982.
22. Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart — CEO of Fortune’s No. 1-ranked business out of 500, McMillon got his start at Wal-Mart unloading boxes on the loading docks, according to Business Insider. He is also ranked as the 29th-most powerful person in the world, according to Forbes.
23. Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola — CEO of the third-most valuable brand in the world, Kent manages Coca-Cola, which is widely known as the best-selling soft drink in the world, according to The Huffington Post.
24. John Chambers, Cisco — Although he stepped down from CEO to executive chairman last month, Chambers has served as CEO of Cisco for 20 years. During his reign, the CEO made Cisco one of the most respected companies worldwide, ranking No. 15 on Forbes’ list of most valuable brands in the world.
25. Carly Fiorina- HP and potential 2016 GOP presidential nominee — Fiorina climbed the ranks as an executive at AT&T and then Lucent Technologies, Inc. before becoming CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 1999. As the first woman to lead a top 20 company, Fiorina oversaw HP’s massive merger with Compaq — one of the largest tech mergers in history, according to Forbes. She has now moved on to politics and, thanks to a recent bump in the polls, has secured a place in the second Republican debate schedule for Sept. 16.
26. Ginni Rometty — CEO of IBM
27. Indra Nooyi — Chairman and CEO of Pepsi Co
28. Evan Spiegel — CEO of Snapchat
29. Mary Barra —CEO of General Motors
30. Elon Musk — CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity
31. Bob Iger — Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company
32. Steve Easterbrook — CEO of McDonald’s Corp
33. Howard Schultz — Chairman and CEO of Starbucks
34. Jamie Dimon — Chairman, president, and CEO of JPMorgan Chase
35. Randall Stephenson — Chairman and CEO of AT&T
36. Gary Kelly — CEO of Southwest Airlines
37. Brian Moynihan — CEO of Bank of America
38. Sam Zell — Chairman of Equity Group Investments
39. James McNerney — Chairman and CEO of Boeing
40. Kenneth I. Chenault — CEO of American Express
41. Jack Dorsey — Co-founder of Twitter and Square
42. Carlos Brito — CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev
43. Meg Whitman — CEO of Hewlett-Packard Company (HP)
44. Marissa Mayer — CEO of Yahoo
45. Michael Corbat — CEO of Citigroup
46. Mark Parker — CEO of Nike
47. Mort Zuckerman — Co-founder, executive chairman, former CEO of Boston Properties, as well as owner and publisher of the New York Daily News
48. John G. Stumpf — CEO of Wells Fargo
49. Lowell C. McAdam — CEO of Verizon Communications
50. Ken Langone — Co-founder of The Home Depot
51. Gerald Hassell — CEO of The Bank of New York Mellon
52. Sergio Marchionne — CEO of Chrysler Group LLC
53. Richard Davis — CEO of U.S. Bancorp
54. Mark Fields — CEO of Ford Motor Company
55. Richard Anderson — CEO of Delta
56. Frederick Smith — CEO of FedEx
57. Greg Creed — CEO Yum! Brands
58. Brian Krzanich — CEO of Intel
59. Richard Fairbank — CEO of Capital One
60. Stuart Gulliver — CEO of HSBC
61. W. Craig Jelinek — CEO of Costco
62. Douglas Oberhelman — CEO of Caterpillar Inc.
63. David Abney — CEO of United Parcel Service (UPS)
64. Alex Gorsky — CEO of Johnson & Johnson
65. Doug Parker — CEO of American Airlines
66. John Donahoe — CEO and president of eBay
67. Thomas Montag — COO of Bank of America
68. Michael Dell — CEO of Dell
69. Charles R. Schwab — Founder of Charles Schwab
70. Ellen Kullman — CEO and Chairman of DuPont
71. Leslie Moonves — CEO of CBS
72. Robert Marcus — CEO of Time Warner Cable
73. Joseph Hooley — CEO of State Street Corporation
74. James Smith — CEO of Thomson-Reuters Corporation
75. John Bilbrey — CEO of The Hershey Company
76. Alan Lafley — CEO of Procter & Gamble
77. Ajaypal Banga — CEO of MasterCard
78. Abigail Johnson — CEO of Fidelity Investments
79. David Abney — CEO of United Parcel Service (UPS)
80. Reed Hastings — CEO of Netflix
81. Dan Schulman — President of PayPal
82. Oprah Winfrey — Founder and CEO of OWN
83. Jeff Weiner — CEO of LinkedIn
84. Steve Feinberg — CEO of Cerberus Capital Management
85. Carol Meyrowitz — CEO of TJX Cos
86. Charles Scharf — CEO of Visa Inc.
87. Marillyn Hewson — CEO of Lockheed Martin
88. Timothy Mayopoulos — CEO of Fannie Mae
89. Samuel R. Allen — CEO of John Deere
90. Melinda Gates — Co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
91. Gary Cohn — President and COO of Goldman and Sachs Group
92. Brian Cornell — CEO of Target
93. Robert Niblock — CEO of Lowe’s
94. John Wren — CEO of Omnicom Group
95. Kevin Ryan — CEO of Gilt Groupe
96. Tim Armstrong — CEO of AOL
97. Shellye Archambeau — CEO of MetricStream
98. John Wendell Thompson — CEO of Virtual Instruments and Chairman of Microsoft
99. Martha Stewart — Chairwoman of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
100. Brady Dougan — CEO of Credit Suisse
I hand-picked the following wealth building books as the best resources (in my humble opinion) for developing the habits and attitudes that lead automatically to wealth. This is the easiest and most certain path to financial freedom that I know – simply by shifting your habitudes. Each of these books offers a slightly different perspective on the subject so look them over and see which one is most compelling for you…
Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st CenturyI still remember the first time I read this book. Actually, my wife and I listened to it as a book on tape while taking a long drive. It stimulated many great shifts in thinking and clarified my stance on consumerism while bringing clarity to the process of how simple the road to financial freedom really is.
It’s not that difficult to make money if you already have a lot of it. But it’s much harder to start from the ground up. Still, people do it every day. It’s like the old game “Bigger/Better” that you used to play in middle school. Players divide up into teams. Each team starts with a quarter, then starts knocking on doors. They ask the people that answer the door to trade something in their house for the quarter, just as long as the item is worth more than the quarter. The last time I played this in high school, my team ended up with a working golf cart in about two hours of play.
This illustrates a couple of things. One, you don’t have to start with much in order to end up with a lot. And two, it helps to be having fun when you get into the world of investment. Here’s how regular people like us can accomplish both of these things when trying to become successful investors.
Starting from Scratch
Successful investors have to start with a good foundation. This means cancelling debt and starting to build savings. Because debt tends to accrue at anywhere from 11% to 25% (or more), you’ll be losing money a lot faster than you can make it, as long as your debt hangs around. So take a few months or a year, however long it takes, and get rid of your debt. Your ability to invest well will increase exponentially, the lower your credit balance gets.
From here, you just have to learn the fundamentals of investment. Fortunately, these aren’t much more complicated than the rules of Bigger/Better. Just don’t lose money. This means you’ll have to be careful with your trades, always watching for advantages. But if you pull it off successfully, you’ll be able to do really well.
Having Fun With Investment
Enjoying yourself is the only way to stick to investment for the long term. Forex Brokers like CMC Markets help me do this every single day, even as I manage more long term (and boring) investments. Forex is a kind of day trading. It links up pairs of currencies, and the investor guesses which one will gain or lose value relative to the other one, within a specific timeframe. Web brokers like CMC markets make the process fast, easy, and safe. You can use free tutorials while you learn how it works. The fast-paced aspect of Forex trading reminds me of my days playing Bigger/Better, when you could work your way up from a minimal investment to something really great, within minutes and hours.
The speed of Forex trading was another big selling point for me. I’m able to make winning trades during a coffee break, or in the morning while I’m eating breakfast. Because it’s possible to gain or lose money fast this way, I keep my trades of a reasonable size. I also make sure to manage longer term investments with more manageable risk. But if I limit myself to these conservative investment strategies, I lose my interest pretty quickly. Forex investment has been essential to keeping a sense of fun in my investment life, and it has paid off significantly for me.
A first investment that requires minimal capital, while still being fun, is essential for new investors. Forex performs for me on both counts, and I can recommend it for you as well.
Hey everyone, thanks for joining us for this weeks review. Today, we’re going to try something a little different. Throughout the past several months, we’ve been reviewing all kinds of investment platforms and brokers. So, today, we’re going to pick out what we believe to be your 5 best online brokers, and compare them against each other.
What Are The 5 Best Online Broker Options?
As you know, we’ve done tons of these reviews. After going through all of the broker and investment platform reviews that we’ve done, we’ve finally dialed the list down to the top 5. They include everything from peer to peer investment platforms to online brokers and more. So, what are they? Below is our list. Keep in mind that this list is in no particular order. They are our favorites, but choosing just one is going to be up to you. Hopefully this comparison will help.
- Prosper – Prosper is a peer to peer lending service. They are arguably one of the largest, and oldest options for peer to peer lending out there. To read our full review of Prosper, click here!
- Betterment – Betterment is a stock market investment broker. However, they take a very unique approach. Instead of choosing stocks one by one, all you need to do is set the allocation of stocks and bonds. This is why they promote their services as “Perfect for busy investors”. To read our full review of Betterment, click here!
- OptionsXpress – OptionsXpress is another stock market investment broker. Like most online brokers, they allow you to choose your own trades. One of our favorite aspects of OptionsXpress is their virtual trading options. Learn more about OptionsXpress in our full review here!
- eTrade – eTrade is another online investment broker. They are one of the top in terms of technology which is why we love them so much. Their research and education tools seem to be some of the best in the market. Read our full review of eTrade here!
- Scottrade – Scottrade is another giant in the online brokerage industry. One of our favorite things about Scottrade is that they don’t charge for small things like streaming quotes, keeping prices down for investors. To learn more about Scottrade, read our full review here!
A Comparison Of Online Broker Costs
Below, we’re going to give you a chart that tells you a bit about the differences in cost with these different platforms. When it comes to cost, most online investment platforms will reduce the price with high volume. That being said, please keep in mind that this chart is for their lowest volume, highest cost. If you’re a high volume investor, these numbers will most likely be much lower with all platforms.
|Options Contract Fee||N/A||N/A||$1.50||$0.75||$1.25|
|Broker Assisted Trades||N/A||N/A||Standard fees, no addition||$45.00||$32|
|Annual Membership Fee||1% of principal
|.35% of total
Now, Lets Compare the Best Online Brokers
All of our top 5 investment options offer various services. Some may overlap services, while others offer something completely different. That being said, putting the services into chart form like I did above would be not only a pain to do, but it’d also be a pain for you to read. So, instead, below you’ll see the names of each of these options followed by the services they offer.
Prosper Services – Prosper is a peer to peer lending company that offers services to both investors and borrowers. In their platform, investors are able to search through borrowers that need loans, and choose the loans that they’d like to fund. In turn, the borrower repays the investor with added interest.
Aside from their standard peer to peer lending services, Prosper offers a secondary market to help liquidate investments when needed. So, if you need to liquidate, you have the option of selling your lending contract to another investor. However, be prepared to take a loss if you need to liquidate before the investment matures.
Betterment Services – Betterment offers services that they say are designed for “busy investors”. However, busy investors aren’t the only investors that can benefit from their services. I’ve found that they are great for the new investors as well. When it comes to services, they offer only one. It’s a pooled investment system. This means that you give Betterment the money you would like to invest. They in turn invest that money into their pool of stocks and bonds. All you need to do is adjust the allocation of your money in stocks and bonds, they will do the rest.
OptionsXpress Services – OptionsXpress offers a wide range of services, most of which you would expect to see at an online brokerage like this. In a nutshell, they offer stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds, ETF’s, options on futures, and penny options.
Aside from the types of investments that you can make, OptionsXpress offers a wide range of research and education services. They offer just about any training that a new investor would need. One of our favorite services in this realm is their virtual trading platform. If you’re not interested in trading your own money until you see what your strategy will do for you, this is a great way to go!
eTrade Services – eTrade is one of the most recognizable names in the online brokerage industry. They offer just about any form of investment that you can think of. Their investment options range from stocks to options, mutual fund, ETFs, bonds, IPOs, features, forex, margin trading, global trading, even extended hours trading.
Aside from the types of trades that you can take part in with eTrade, they are another great option for research and training tools. eTrade is known for it’s intuitive online platform that provides the tools needed for beginners to trade like pros.
Scottrade Services – Scottrade is another giant that offers a wide range of investment products. Their investment products include stocks, bonds, options, retirement investments, IRAs, margin trading, ETFs, mutual funds, CDs, treasuries, Coverdell ESAs, and global trading.
Aside from the different types of trading that you can take part in, like eTrade, Scottrade is a great option for research and training tools. On of our favorite tools that they offer is streaming quotes.
Drawbacks Of Each Investment Broker
As you probably already know by now, there is no investment service that is a one size fits all option. That being said, they are all going to have their own, unique disadvantages, just like they all have their own unique advantages. That being said, below is a list of the things that we don’t like about each different option in our list of the 5 best online investment platforms!
Prosper Cons – Prosper is a peer to peer investment platform. That being said, there is no guarantee that your peers are going to pay you back. Although, this isn’t a huge drawback, it’s definitely something to think about. The reason I say it’s not huge is because there’s no guarantee that any of your investments will pan out. Even in the stock market, a company could go out of business and you could lose it all. As with any other form of investment, to protect your investments with Prosper, it’s important to diversify.
Betterment Cons – The cost is the biggest drawback with this option. Their prices are relatively straightforward. You’ll pay a percentage of your total balance as an annual fee. However, if you really delve into the numbers, it’s easy to see that the cost of investing with Betterment is a little higher than the cost of choosing your own stocks and bonds through another platform. Essentially, you’re paying this added cost to reduce the headache associated with choosing and tracking your own investments. Although the price is a bit higher than average, for many busy people, it’s worth paying to avoid spending so much time in another platform.
OptionsXpress Cons – As you can see from the cost chart above, the prices you pay with OptionsXpress are going to be higher than the average leading investment broker. It’s not much, but we all know that pennies add up. Another thing that we noticed about OptionsXpress is when it comes to novice investors, their tools can be a bit overwhelming. That being said, this is probably not the best option for you if you’re a newbie.
eTrade Cons – Our biggest beef with eTrade is their pricing. Although they are incredibly competitive for the big time investors, their pricing is not at all competitive for the smaller guys. So, if you’re looking into eTrade, it’s important to remember that they’re best if you make 150 trades per quarter or more. If that’s not the case, you’re probably better off looking into another option.
Scottrade Cons – Some investors like to take part in advanced trades like straddle or spread trades. For these investors, Scottrade may not be best for easily accessing and managing your investments. If you’re interested in advanced trades, you’ll have to apply for a different platform. Once you’re approved, you may find yourself managing your investments in 2 different areas, which can add a bit of confusion to the management process.
Who Should Consider Which Online Broker?
Before I get into this, I’ve gotta bring up a cheesy disclaimer. The truth is, everyone has a very unique financial portfolio. Without looking directly into your portfolio, I can’t tell you exactly what you need. That being said, below, I’m going to go over who I think each broker is best for. However, the ultimate decision to choose one broker over another is your decision to make. That being said, let’s jump right into who I think each option is best for…
Prosper – Prosper is one of those options that can be good or bad for anyone depending on what you’re looking for. If you want to find an alternative to investing in the stock market, this is a great way to go for you.
Betterment – Betterment boasts that their platform is best for busy investors. That, I’ve got to agree with. It’s just very simple to go in and manage your investments in a very short period of time. However, I think they’re missing another market entirely. When it comes down to it, in my humble opinion, Betterment is great for new investors too!
OptionsXpress – When building their platform I think that OptionsXpress kept larger investors in mind while completely forgetting about the smaller guys. Between their pricing, research tools, and education tools, I can definitively say that if I didn’t know what I was doing before I signed up, I would be lost. However, for expert investors, this is a great option! It’s low cost, they’ve got great research tools that experts will be able to understand, and they offer a wide range of investment types.
eTrade – This is another option where their pricing makes it clear that the platform is best for the larger investors. Choosing to go with eTrade really boils down to one question. Are you planning on making 150 trades or more per quarter. If the answer is yes, eTrade is great for you! If the answer is no, they will be a more pricy option, and you can probably find another one that’s more appealing by way of cost.
Scottrade – Scottrade, like Betterment is great for beginning investors. They provide the tools you need to learn and get started, and they do it at a relatively low cost. However, expert investors that need more advanced trade abilities would be better off looking into something like OptionsXpress or eTrade. The simple fact is, Scottrade limits your ability to go with advanced trades and easily manage all of your investments at the same time.
Wow, I had a great time coming up with this post! I hope that this comparison offered everything that you need to get a good idea of who to work with.
Do you invest with any of these options? If so, who, and how are your experiences with them? If not, after reading this, which do you think will be the best online broker for you and why?
Hey Everyone, Josh here again for another Modest Money review! Today, we are going to go over one of the fads that seems to be sweeping the world, online banking. Now, there are a lot of online banks out there, and I understand the need for them. However, as with any other product, there are some good online banks and some that aren’t so good. I’ve been hearing a lot about EverBank in the personal finance blogosphere. So, I figured I’d take a look and see what I find.
EverBank Short Review
EverBank Pros – EverBank hosts all kinds of banks accounts ranging from your standard check and CDs to high yield money market accounts. Also, interest rates on money market accounts are far beyond interest rates found on competitor money market accounts. Earning more always works for me! One thing that I find really neat is that you can write checks directly from your money market account. This is a feature I haven’t seen with any of their competitors.
EverBank Cons – Minimum account balances to start an account and to avoid fees are a bit high for me. To open a money market account with them for instance, you have to start with at least $1,500 and to avoid the monthly fee, the minimum balance is $5,000.00.
EverBank Overall – EverBank is a fairly well known bank with plenty of resources. They are also FDIC insured, which gives it’s customers a bit of piece of mind. There are benefits to investors in money market accounts as they generally have high yields. Also, it’s pretty simple to open an account. The only read draw back that I’ve found is that the accounts require high minimum balances. That being said, I would consider this to be a great option for money market investors that want higher yields, but not the best option for standard checking, savings and other forms of accounts.
EverBank Long Review
Now lets get into the good stuff. EverBank has been really grabbing the attention of consumers who like to invest their savings with rather large returns. In the beginning, they offer a 3% return on money market accounts as a promotional rate. After 6 months, that return is reduced to 2%. If you’re in the market now, you know that these are incredibly high returns. I would even venture to say that they’re the largest returns I’ve seen on money market accounts since before the great recession years ago! Also, when it comes to money market returns. EverBank guarantees that your account will be in the top 5% listed on BankRate.com as far as returns are considered. That’s a pretty strong guarantee! The top 5% guarantee is on money market and checking accounts which is a big plus!
OK, now lets talk about fees. Lets face it, any bank charges fees. That’s how they stay in business and offer us the services that make managing our money easier. When it comes to their checking accounts, they boast that they come with no monthly fees, no ATM fees and no annual fees. They also refund any fees charged by other ATMs if you maintain an account balance of greater than $5,000.00.
When it comes to money market accounts, they make it pretty difficult to figure out their fee structure on their website. As a matter of fact, all I was able to find on their site is that their Money Market accounts are free. However, after further research, I found that the accounts are only free under conditions. I’ve read several reports of $8.95 monthly fees if accounts do not maintain a minimum balance of $5,000.00. Because there are so many free money market accounts out there, if I didn’t have $5,000.00 to put into it, I’d have to search for another company to work with.
Another thing you really need to think about when it comes to choosing a bank no matter if it’s online or off, it’s important to know that you’re working with a reputable bank. That being said, I’ve read some very mixed results with regard to the reputation of EverBank. Those who are higher profile generally tend to love working with them. Even some regular consumers like myself have a lot of good things to say. However, I’ve also read a few complaints about differences between what the website says and what the mailed in terms say. For instance, I read one report that the website said you needed a minimum balance of $1,500.00 to avoid a $4.95 monthly fee. However, when that individual got his paperwork in the mail, he read about the $5,000.00 minimum balance with a $8.95 fee being avoided.
In EverBank’s Defense To The Above Mentioned Matter
After being upset, that person wrote a blog post about his experience and was contacted by the big wigs at EverBank. When he was contacted, he was informed that EverBank had multiple servers and at the time he signed up, they were in the process of changing terms on accounts. Because the server he had accessed and applied for the account through had not yet been updated, the terms came out different online than they did in print. EverBank claims to have cleared this matter up. I’ve only found one complaint about this. No one else online seems to have experienced any related issue.
My Overall Thoughts Of EverBank
When I started my research on this company, I grew very concerned with discrepancies in what consumers were told online and what was printed and mailed to them. I was also a bit concerned about the fees not being outwardly mentioned on their site. However, after I dug a bit further into what they have to offer and how reputable they really are, I was shockingly pleased. The bottom line is, EverBank was designed for consumers and businesses alike that have $5,000.00 or more in a savings or money market account. You don’t necessarily have to have that much money in the account, but without it, it may not be what you’re looking for.
When it comes to checking accounts, there are no monthly or annual fees. Not to mention, this is the first bank I’ve come across that’s willing to refund fees that ATMs from other banks charge. When it comes to the checking accounts, as long as you’ve got $1,500.00 to start your account with, I can’t see why you wouldn’t want to start an account with them!
Hey everyone, thanks for joining me for this week’s review! Today, I’m going to bring it back to Canadian credit cards with the Scotiabank Gold American Express credit card. This one has gained a bit of buzz lately in the blogosphere. So, I figured I’d review it to see what it was all about. As always, this is going to be a nothing held back review! You’re about to learn the good, bad and ugly for the Scotiabank Gold American Express travel rewards credit card!
Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Short Review
Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Pros – If you’re looking for a credit card with a decent size spending limit, you’ve found it here. The maximum spending limit for this card is $5,000! Also, it has a pretty low annual fee, weighing in at only $99. However, the biggest perks associated with this credit card is the rewards. You can earn up to 4 Scotia Rewards points on qualifying purchases (I’ll go over what that means in the long review below), and 1 point for every standard purchase. You’re able to redeem the rewards for travel purchases, gift cards and more. It really is a great rewards program.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Cons – The interest rate is a bit high, but that’s to be expected when it comes to any rewards credit card. However, this isn’t the highest interest rate out there for sure, and there are ways to avoid the interest when using rewards credit cards. I’ll explain the best way in my long review.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Overall – Overall, this is a great credit card. The lender behind it is a trusted one, it comes with great rewards, a great spending limit, and an annual fee that’s lower than most of the competition. The only draw back is the interest rate. However, when it comes to rewards credit cards, we come to expect higher than average interest.
Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card Long Review
OK, now it’s time to dig deep into the details. Because the most important factor of a credit card for most people is cost, that’s where I’ll start. First off, the Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card comes with a $99 annual fee. In line with it’s competition in the travel rewards credit card industry, this one definitely stands out as one of the lower fee options. At least when it comes to the annual fee. The interest rate on the other hand, well, it kind of blends in with the rest.
The standard interest rate on this card is 19.99%. It’s not incredibly high, however, it’s not the lowest either. I’d call it average. However, if you own credit cards, you know that standard interest rates aren’t the only interest rates you should be concerned with. Cash advance and balance transfer interest rates may come into play depending on how you decide to use your new card. That being said, on the Scotiabank Gold American Express card, these rates are both 21.99%.
I promised that I would explain to you how you can avoid interest entirely, and here it is. It’s simple, pay your balances off as soon as you create them. Interest only can be charged to you if you carry a balance past the grace period. If you pay your credit card balance off every time you get paid, chances are, you’ll fall well within that grace period and never pay a dime in interest on your debts.
Now, let’s talk a bit about rewards. After all, if it wasn’t for the incredible rewards it offers, chances are, you wouldn’t be interested in this card. The Scotiabank Gold American Express card rewards operate on Scotia Rewards points. They work just like any other rewards program. Spend money, earn rewards! However, it’s how quickly you can accumulate these points and how much you can redeem them for that makes this rewards program so valuable.
With the Scotiabank Gold American Express Credit Card, you can earn up to 4 Scotia Rewards points for entertainment, gas, grocery store, and dining purchases. That covers most of what we all buy on a regular basis! So, on the vast majority of your purchases, you could be earning 4 Scotia Rewards points. Of course, outside of these categories, you’ll still earn Scotia Rewards points. As a matter of fact, you’ll get 1 for every dollar spent!
Once you’ve accumulated enough points, it’s time to redeem them, but what can you redeem them for? This is a travel rewards program. That being said, you can redeem your points for qualifying travel based purchases, like airfare. You also have the option to redeem the points for gift cards and other miscellaneous rewards.
Finally, let’s talk about the bank itself. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how good the perks are printed out to be if the company is known for not fulfilling it’s promises. That being said, Scotiabank is one of the leading lenders in Canada. They’ve made a name for themselves as having some of the best customer support surrounding their very secure products. When it comes down to it, there are few to no lenders that are better than Scotiabank.
Should You Apply For The Scotiabank American Express Card?
Well, that all depends on you. What are you looking for from your credit card? Are you financially responsible enough to pay your bill completely off every time you get paid? How often do you travel? The bottom line is, if you want a credit card with a good spending limit and great travel rewards, you’ve found it! However, with great perks come great costs if you’re not careful. That being said, the Scotiabank American Express Card card is reserved for financially sound individuals.
This Credit One Bank® Platinum Card is a card that can be useful, but should be handled with extreme caution. Do I have your attention? Let’s proceed. First of all, this is a card focused on folks with miserable credit. The card is marketed as a tool to rebuild deplorable credit scores. And it can! But if you don’t keep up with it, things can be worse for you than they were before. For the right customer, this card can be a strong ally, however. Read on to learn more.
Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa Card Short Review
Credit One® promises to provide premium credit history on your behalf to the 3 Credit Reporting Agencies…if you keep up with your payments. And this shouldn’t be too difficult. The credit limits are very low, designed to allow small payments that can be immediately paid off. If you use the card this way, you will see your credit score rise and all will be well. There may be a charge for the lift to your score. But for many customers, the boost in their credit card is significant and fast. This is the good news.
Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa Card Long Review
I have read a lot of reviews of this card. Customers say it works and they’re happy with the resulting boost to their credit scores. But this is a specific type of customer. People who suffered a catastrophic financial loss and its consequent hit to their credit score are the best candidates. They may already be reliable in their financial lives, their credit score just doesn’t reflect this. For this kind of person, this Credit One® Platinum Visa is a great choice. As a general credit card, it is not the best choice. But then, that’s not what it’s designed for. If a customer deviates from its intended use, fees abound and the interest rates for debt you carry as a balance are sky high.
So have a plan and stay the course. This isn’t a normal credit card. It has a specific purpose. One reviewer compared it to fire: used properly it can warm you and be all the difference in your life; used improperly and it can be very harmful.
So I recommend this Credit One Bank® Platinum Card, but only for specific and cautious customers. If you can reliably pay off your balance every month, and don’t mind an annual fee, you can enjoy real growth to your credit score in a short amount of time. This can get your financial life back on track fast. If you are not this sort of person, I would recommend a secured card of some kind. Used properly, this is an effective and legitimate financial product that I don’t mind recommending.