Are the Research Tools on TD Ameritrade Worth the Extra Cost?

Compared to many of its competitors, TD Ameritrade charges more per trade (though it’s probably not the most expensive). But there is a question of whether or not that extra cost is worth it. And the truth is, it depends on what kind of trader you are.

If you’re an experienced trader who buys and sells stocks every day, it probably is. TD Ameritrade has some great tools that will satisfy even the most seasoned investor, but some might not see any value to the more expensive price tag.

TD Ameritrade also has a solid mobile platform so traders can check on their investments no matter where they are. This can be a huge advantage for someone who makes a lot of trades in a given day.

Trading Costs

TD Ameritrade charges a flat fee for every trade, and it will depend on the type of asset. Stock trades cost $9.99 a piece, and there is an extra $0.75 on options trades (that is for every contract you sign). Mutual fund trades are $49.99 a piece, and broker-assisted trades cost $44.95 each.

You can see that they are on the higher end of the price spectrum, though it’s not as high as some of its competitors. Still, the extra cost might not be worth it for some people, especially for the new investor who is just breaking into the market. But with that price you are getting a good selection of quality assets, especially mutual funds.

Trading Tools

TD Ameritrade offers a great selection of charts and graphs that offer the investor real-time market data, which can be a huge advantage for any experienced trader. This data is provided by a third party, and it uses 34 different technical indicators. The charts are easy to read, and they are simple to understand. So, you won’t have to waste time trying to figure out what the numbers mean.

They also offer a customizable toolbar (called MyDock), and it gives the user a choice of 13 different modules. Not to mention it has an intuitive web interface that streams real-time data right on their browser. But they also offer a desktop application (called Thinkorswim) that offers a more detailed look at the market. It has all kinds of advanced tools, and it offers tremendous functionality. There is one problem, however. The desktop application has been known to lag slightly, which might frustrate someone who is very active in the market. But I doubt it will be a big deal for the casual trader.

The web platform is very easy to use, and it has a very functional layout. And it has some very comprehensive and detailed data. It will even give you the ability to customize the layout so you can pick and choose what you want to keep track of.

Mobile Apps

The mobile apps offered by TD Ameritrade are very comprehensive, but the data is split between two apps and not just one. You might be wondering why they would choose to do this, but it will make sense when you look at the big picture. The TD Ameritrade Mobile app is designed for the more casual investor. So, it doesn’t offer as much detailed data as the TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader, which is geared towards the more active trader. It gives the user more detailed charts and more advanced information that can be useful for someone who is more knowledgeable about playing the money game.

Final Thoughts

When it’s all said and done, you may ask yourself if all these tools are worth the extra cost? And the truth is, it depends. If you’re a more active trader, then you will most likely feel like a kid in a candy store. If you’re more of a casual investor, you might find more value in a company like Betterment. Their fees are cheaper, and they have more automation tools that run on the back end.