This is a brief review of my experiences with the discount brokerage Scottrade. If you are interested, you can open an account at Scottrade here.
I first opened my account with Scottrade a little over five years ago. At the time, my current discount brokerage, Wachovia, began charging an inactivity fee. They claimed I was warned in advance through a notice accompanying my statement, and I could not get the first inactivity fee waived. Disappointed with the unnecessary fee considering the broker already made money from the loaded funds I purchased as a novice investor, I decided to to move my funds to a brokerage recommended by people I trusted.
Scottrade hasn’t let me down yet. My investments at Scottrade and formerly at Wachovia consist of a relatively small amount of funds remaining from gifts given to me as a child, held in a UTMA account until I was out of college. Some of these funds went to pay off the credit cards balances I built up while I wasn’t earning enough money to meet my basic expenses, but the rest has been sitting in this account, invested in AIVSX.
After opening my account with Scottrade, I received a few telephone calls from a customer service representative who wanted to discuss my account. One of Scottrade’s advantages over other discount brokerages is their physical locations. You can visit a Scottrade location and sit down with a broker to discuss your finances.
If you do plan to speak with a broker, listen to our interview with Richard Lewins, the author of How to Keep From Going Broke with a Broker — A Guide to Opening, Maintaining and Surviving Your Brokerage Account before you do in order to go into the discussion with the proper expectations.
Since I do not actively trade with my Scottrade account, I can only share a small amount of details. I receive online statements and I can view my activity, consisting exclusively of dividends reinvested in AIVSX. I have never had a problem with Scottrade and will continue to leave these funds there until they decide to implement an inactivity fee or an account maintenance fee.
I already wasted enough money paying a load fee on each investment as well as a $50 inactivity fee and a $75 termination fee to Wachovia, and I don’t wish to do the same with Scottrade. I have no reason to believe these fees are in this brokerage’s immediate future.
What are your experiences with Scottrade? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Updated June 24, 2016 and originally published May 31, 2010.