Moving to Schwab: Saving money!

Today I have decided that I am moving all of my investments from Firstrade to Charles Schwab. A few years ago I would not have even considered this because of Schwab's high fees. The landscape has changed and now I am making my move just in time for tax season!

Here are my reasons for moving, in order of importance:

  • The big one: $0 commission on Schwab Funds and Schwab ETF's versus $6.95 currently.
  • Consolidation: Accounts in less places (combining with new Schwab Checking Account)
  • Schwab has branches: If I have an issues I can visit a human!
  • access: I can see my Schwab accounts in Mint. I cannot for Firstrade
All of above make this move make sense for me. I especially like that I can invest in ETF's with no commission. It makes re-balancing possible and MUCH cheaper over the long haul. Every dollar counts in a Roth IRA! I will combine this move with a re-balance as I will sell every position and move cash to start clean and save on transfer fees.

One final step I am taking is to take what used to be in my taxable brokerage account and move it to my Roth IRA. This requires me to sell all positions (which I have done for a gain!) and deposit cash as a contribution. It makes sense to do this now since it will count as a 2010 contribution and leave me more room for 2011. This will also cut my tax bill over time significantly!

Long term I plan to start using my Schwab Checking account more too. It refunds all ATM fees AND does not charge me a percentage for foreign ATM withdrawals. As a lover of international vacations this can save me thousands over the long haul. As long as this policy continues I may considering using them for other things as their account pays a small amount of interest too!