Last week, I decided to take advantage of the ability to acquire $75 for opening an account with ShareBuilder. My first trade will be executed today. Rather than purchasing an exchange-traded fund (ETF) like last time, I decided to go with a well-established stock. My order was placed for $70 worth of Microsoft (MSFT). While Microsoft has already seen what will likely be its steepest climb (from 1986 to 2000), I think the company has lasting power.
I’ll need lasting power when investing with ShareBuilder. Their sales fees necessitate holding onto your investment for a long time in order to keep your returns. With the “Basic Plan,” which charges no annual fee, an investor must pay a transaction fee of $15.95 to sell any holding. That will quickly eat away your returns if your initial investment is a small amount, like mine. This doesn’t bother me much, as I am investing with “free money” as a result of these multiple promotions.
I’ve already received the $5 ebates sign-up bonus. The money is in my ebates account and is not yet cash. I cannot convert the ebates points to cash until I receive the ebates $20 bonus which should happen in the next few weeks. I should also shortly receive the $50 ShareBuilder bonus for using the promotion code ENTERTAIN50. (March 12, 2009 update: The current bonus promotional code is 25WOLS.) The total cash received will be $75, and the expense to execute the trade was $4, leaving me with $71.
I could have avoided the $4 trading fee by accepting the “Standard Plan” trial offer. This was presented as an option when I signed up for the account through ebates. This would have required me to remember to cancel the free trial before my first month would have ended.