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I would like to give my first try in investing. So far, I found many useful materials to start with on the forum, so now I need some practice.

For me there are two options to start investing.

  1. Investing through my bank. My domestic bank has an investing department, which advises customers on how to invest with no charge for advice. I made an appointment with an adviser. There was a short 30 min conversation at the end of the talk and he gave me some options (two mutual funds) that are available only on my domestic stock exchange. If I want to make some changes to my portfolio I have to call him and ask him to so. If there some drastic changes in the rates he will call me no later than two days after the change to make decision.

  2. Investing online. There are a lot of online services. However, for a non-American resident, I found only TD Ameritrade.

Therefore, I have some questions.

What is the best option to start with? Are there more attractable services than TD Ameritrade for non-American residents and that have lower commissions?

When I ask an adviser why it's better for me to work with him rather than with online service, he answered that he is the simplest way to invest money. I don't need to research the investments; I just follow his advice. In addition, the bank is responsible for all money transfers and I don't need to worry about it.

What's the best way for me to start investing? Is there a better service that TD Ameritrade?

Details: Currently I reside in Israel. I am not sure about my goals right now, but I do want to have a major retirement account without changing it for a long time, and in addition I want to start a much smaller account with higher risk.

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    What country are you in? (add a tag for this). There are no details here of what the mutual funds are investing in, what your goals are, etc. the question is too general as written. – JoeTaxpayer Jul 27 '13 at 12:42
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    Hi there. I've put your question on hold. Please edit your question to provide more detail. For instance, we need to know which country you are in. You ought to also describe your investing goals (are you saving for retirement? or for a major purchase later?), perhaps what kind of risks you are willing to tolerate (can you afford to lose some money?) and when you might need access to your funds (next year, five years, later, longer?) Thank you. – Chris W. Rea Jul 27 '13 at 13:44
  • @ChrisW.Rea, thank you very much for your comment, I've added some details. – user10756 Jul 27 '13 at 16:04
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What is the best option to start with? and I am not sure about my goals right now but I do want to have a major retirement account without changing it for a long time

That is a loaded question. Your goals should be set up first, else what is stopping you from playing the mega millions lottery to earn the retirement amount instantly. If you have the time and resources, you should try doing it yourself. It helps you learn and at a latter stage if you don't have the time to manage it yourself, you can find an adviser who does it for you. To find a good adviser or find a fund who/which can help you achieve your monetary goals you will need to understand the details, how it works and other stuff, behind it.

When you are thrown terms at your face by somebody, you should be able to join the dots and get a picture for yourself. Many a rich men have lost their money to unscrupulous people i.e. Bernie Madoff. So knowing helps a lot and then you can ask questions or find for yourself to calm yourself i.e. ditch the fund or adviser, when you see red flags. It also makes you not to be too greedy, when somebody paints you a picture of great returns, because then your well oiled mind would start questioning the rationale behind such investments.

Have a look at Warren Buffet. He is an investor and you can follow how he does his investing. It is simple but very difficult to follow.

Investing through my bank

I would prefer to stay away from them, because their main service is banking and not allowing people to trade. I would first compare the services provided by a bank to TD Ameritrade, or any firm providing trading services. The thing is, as you mentioned in the question, you have to go through a specific process of calling him to change your portfolio, which shouldn't be a condition. What might happen is, if he is getting some benefits out of the arrangement(get it clarified in the first place if you intend to go through them), from the side of the fund, he might try to dissuade you from doing so to protect his stream of income. And what if he is on a holiday or you cannot get hold of him.

Secondly from your question, it seems you aren't that investing literate. So it is very easy to get you confused by jargon and making you do what he gets the maximum benefit out of it, rather than which benefits you more.

I ain't saying he is doing so but that could be a possibility too, so you have consider that angle too.

The pro is that setting up an account through them might be much easier than directly going to a provider.

But the best point doing it yourself is, you will learn and there is nothing which tops that. You don't want somebody else managing your money, however knowledgeable they maybe i.e. Anthony Bolton.

  • thank you very much for the answer, could you advise a good service to start with, so far I found only TD Ameritrade for non-american citizens. – user10756 Aug 5 '13 at 5:33

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