Time to Talk Taxes

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In the immortal words of Benjamin Franklin: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." We wish you all long and prosperous lives, so we’ll only be discussing your taxes today.

It’s tax season. Now is the time to start organizing your tax documents and consulting with your accountant or tax preparer. We’ll let you know by email when all your important tax documents will be available. Depending on how you set your delivery method, you’ll receive them via regular mail or email. You will also be able to find your tax documents online.

A few tips:

•  Locate your tax documents by logging into your account and going to “My Accounts > E-documents > Tax Documents” page

•  You can easily import your consolidated 1099 into TurboTax

•  Remember to make your IRA contribution by April 15, 2019.  Take advantage of increased contribution limits

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We know that this can be a stressful time for many of you, so we’ve put together some Frequently Asked Questions with more details and key dates to help you get your ducks in a row. Of course, if you have additional questions, the Firstrade team is always ready to help.

Let’s Talk About ETFs

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There are thousands of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) to choose from to help round out your portfolio.  At Firstrade, all of our ETFs are commission free and we make it easier to select the right ones for you.

In the current market, ETFs — baskets of stocks, bonds or commodities — have become increasingly valuable investment tools for self-directed investors seeking greater portfolio diversification, reduced risk, increased flexibility and tax efficiency through exchange-traded investing. Investors can choose from a wide array of funds in virtually any sector, industry or asset class. 

There are many ways to learn about ETFs, including published articles that provide an objective view. Recently, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance  analyzed 20 ETFs that could help you decide what works for you.

Ready to add ETFs to your portfolio? Learn more about our commission-free ETFs here.

 

It’s easy to rollover your old 401(k)

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If you left your wallet in an Uber with $500 in it, wouldn’t you try to get it back? 
Turns out that’s not what many millennials are doing when they switch jobs.


The strongest job market in decades, ironically, can actually be having a negative impact on people’s retirement savings, especially millennials. Money in 401(k) plans sits idle as people move on to new job opportunities. According to a recent study, 59 percent of millennials between the ages of 25 and 34 with tens of thousands of dollars saved had at least one 401(k) at a previous employer. The same was true for 41 percent of investors overall. 

 Leaving money on the table is not something millennials like to do. They are conscientious about their money, yet many find it a hassle to move their retirement savings with them.

One solution is to move your funds from your 401(k) to a rollover IRA. By directly rolling over assets from your employer-sponsored retirement plan into an IRA Rollover, you'll defer your tax liability and may be able to completely avoid penalties.

Firstrade offers Rollover IRAs with no fees: no annual fee, free account set-up and no maintenance fees. In addition, Firstrade has eliminated commissions for all stocks, options, mutual funds and ETFs, so you can trade stocks in your IRA for $0 a trade. It takes just minutes to open a new Firstrade account and about four to five business days to transfer funds via check from an existing 401(k) into a rollover IRA.

Just another reason millennials choose Firstrade.

You Win Because We Win

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Accolades are always nice. They tell us we’re doing something well. So, if you will indulge us for a few minutes, we’d like to share with you some of the praise we’ve received from prestigious industry insiders this past year.

Foremost among the year’s highlights, Firstrade was selected by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as one of the best online brokers of 2018 and was additionally honored as Best for ETF Investors and Best for Bond Investors. We were proud to share these honors with some of the largest and most well-known brokers in the industry including TD Ameritrade and Schwab.

For the fifth year in a row, Firstrade was also awarded 4.5 stars out of five for the website’s ease of use and also received 4.5 stars for its commissions and fees by StockBrokers.com 2018 Online Broker Review.

On August 23, 2018, right after our recognition from Kiplinger’s and Stockbrokers.com, Firstrade announced commission free trading of stocks, ETFs, options and mutual funds. Now that’s a big win for our customers. 

According to Blain Reinkensmeyer, Head of Broker Research at StockBrokers.com, “Overall, Firstrade provides fantastic value with its offering of trader tools compared to its closest deep discount competitors.  Investors looking for a low-cost, well balanced, all around easy-to-use broker will find Firstrade a great fit.”

Ok, ok, we know what you must be thinking— “they’re just showing off.” You’re right! But these are accomplishments we share with you—our loyal customer.

For us, these accolades are simply a reflection of the value and high-quality services you have come to expect from us. At Firstrade, you always trade for free and we’re proud to be providing you with the products, tools, technology, research and customer service you need to make sound investment decisions. It’s a commitment you’ll continue to be hearing about as we introduce new programs and services in 2019. 

As always, we value your loyal patronage and welcome your comments and suggestions about making your Firstrade experience even better. Let us know how we’re doing and what you need from us to succeed.

The Firstrade Team

The Need for Speed

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“I feel the need — the need for speed!”

Those words were immortalized in the 1986 classic, “Top Gun,” by hotshot Navy pilot “Maverick” Mitchell, played by Tom Cruise. While referring to the speed of his F-14 fighter jet, truer words cannot be spoken about the importance of speed in executing trades in today’s markets.

When placing an online order to trade a stock, many investors may not be fully aware of what happens next. How their broker is actually executing the trade— at what speed and cost— can have a significant impact in determining whether trades yield good results or not.

Firstrade led the brokerage industry average for fast trade execution. From January-August 2018, Firstrade’s average trade execution speed of 0.068 seconds beat other brokerages, according to a blind comparison report of most online brokerages from S3 Matching Technologies through Apex Clearing Corporation.  The S3 report recorded 0.06 seconds in August 2018. 

In today’s fast-moving markets, this can mean the difference between getting the price you want or missing out. That’s why we work with only the best performing exchanges and market makers, which use the most powerful routing mechanisms available to minimize the amount of time for an order to reach the market.

As always, we’re putting the needs of our customers first by rigorously monitoring and reviewing our trade executions on a regular basis, paying careful attention to price, speed and accuracy to make sure you get the highest quality trade execution and cost savings. We’re also committed to full transparency by providing you with independent third-party measurements of our execution results.

 Lightning fast speed execution— just another reason you chose Firstrade. Even Maverick would be impressed.

S3 Matching Technologies is a financial services software company that provides customized solutions to monitor and analyze trade execution for options, equities, and fixed income securities.