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Consumer confidence is shaky regarding trading stocks. Headlines with the word “fraud” on front pages have not made Queens residents feel better about trusting their money with stock brokers. A question I am hearing in my networking travels is, “How can I start online trading?”

Opening an online stock trading account is simple. First, find an online discount broker. There are dozens to choose from on the Web, so be selective and do your research as to who fits your needs. Then, complete a registration process in which you will be required to give relevant information: name, Social Security number, address, etc.

Now fund the account. Send in a handwritten check with your amount or transfer monies via wire transfer. You can also opt for a slower ACH transaction, but it can take up to three or more days. Mail your check and paperwork to the address provided by the broker. At this point, it will take about a week to process and set up your account.

Then complete the registration process: your trading passwords, PIN numbers and other personalized information. Be careful and guard that info. Do not use similar passwords with other personalized online accounts. If you are ever infected with a computer virus, chances are the hacker will not be able to access your info if it is different among accounts. Acquaint yourself with the online menus and how to navigate the site. Do not overlook reviewing the tutorial. Tutorials even offer “beginning investor” videos.

So How’s Business regarding online trading? Many online brokers have a wide range of transaction or inactivity fees, so do your homework before selecting a broker. Some of the more popular online brokers may be better staffed to help you. Trading stocks is not a game. If doubtful, seek out a licensed professional, as there are a lot of honest and quality brokers in Queens. Meanwhile, if you are new to trading, stick with “large cap” companies like Wal−Mart and Microsoft. You may find out you are good at it and making money.

Contact Joe Palumbo at 516−297−4034 or jp@c21amhomes.com.

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