Updated: Sep 1, 2018
It's intimidating... but it doesn't have to be! I'll hold your hand step by step.
I was disappointed in what I found when I googled this, so I decided to write a post about it.
This is something I wish I'd have known years ago... it's the easiest part of investing, yet was so intimidating, it could have held me back from investing for forever.
1. Go E*Trade and click 'Open an Account'
Just click here to go to E*Trade .
2. Provide your personal information
This is totally normal and totally secure. Don't fret. I used to feel really weird about putting all these details in, but E*Trade is one of the most well known online brokerages and it's safe!
3. Verify your identity
I know it can feel really intimidating to put your SSN online, but again, this stuff is really secure!
4. Create your investment profile
Warning! This is where people get scared, but you don't have to! I'll walk you through what these terms mean.
Investment Experience? No judgment here... don't be afraid to say "None" if that's the case.
Account objective? Just think about how risky you want to be. The drop down options go from MOST risky/aggressive to LEAST risky/aggressive. Not sure how risky you want to be? It's okay! Just select something in the middle and you can tweak things later. Pro tip: generally speaking, the younger you are, the more risky you want to be.
Where will assets come from? Basically asking how you plan to put money in the account. Don't over think this one... it's likely just the "Personal Funds" option.
Purpose of the account? Finally, something sort-of easy! Pick the answer that seems most applicable. No worries if you're planning it for multiple purposes, just pick the one that seems best. (Does this remind you of your standardized tests you took for college yet?)
Options knowledge? Again, "None" is a totally acceptable answer. No judgment.
Prior trading experience? None of those terms look familiar? Not a problem, just select "No Prior Experience"and put zeros in the boxes below!
5. Account Set Up
I did the research for you, and I can't tell a notable difference between choosing Cash Balance program and Retirement Sweet Deposit account. Both have similar rates of return, the only difference is that the latter is FDIC insured for a higher amount of money. If you want to read more about these, click here. But if you don't, just leave at Cash Balance or play rock, paper, scissors.
6. Review your account, and create your ID!
You're basically done! Just review everything to make sure you had the right info, create a login ID, and you're done!
See? That's not so bad. In another post, we'll walk through how to fund your account, set up recurring transfers, and pick investments! But for now, give yourself a pat on the back and a high five. And go treat yo self.