Traders are loyal to their trading platforms. If you really want to get punched in the nose sometime, go to an investment seminar and say something bad about thinkorswim, TradeStation, or most any other e-platform. Regardless of the potential consequences, a few comments on trading platforms might help some readers.
■ Online Brokerage Firms
Online brokerages come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and costs. Most of these brokerages have very convincing advertisements and prove to be very difficult to compare against each other. However, the selection of an appropriate trading platform is critical to trading profitably. Monthly fees, trade execution commissions, customer service, other services, timeliness of data, and speed of order fill are all critical factors. Many websites offer summary comparisons of online brokers stressing trade execution commissions. If you are new to online investing please perform a search for online brokerages and do your own research. Many brokers will allow you to set up an unfunded account and to run mock trades through a virtual account. This is an invaluable assist to learning the mechanics of executing trades with your broker. Running trades through a virtual account will also allow a trader to hone judgment skills, practice getting trades entered correctly, and experiment with various exit strategies. Many very experienced traders maintain a virtual account for experimentation or to safely play hunches. The only caveat ...