Merrill Edge combines high-quality customer service with low commissions and fees — including a limited number of commission-free trades to customers who meet minimum balance requirements. Customers of parent company Bank of America will love the seamless, thoughtful integration, with a single login to access both investment and bank accounts. The company is best for casual traders, though its pricing on penny stocks is very favorable.
Merrill Edge offers a variety of account options, including IRAs, 529s, and taxable investment accounts. It also offers an array of investment choices, including mutual funds, stocks, ETFs, options, and annuities.
Merrill Edge doesn’t have a tiered pricing schedule, but instead offers flat-rate pricing of $6.95 per trade on unlimited trades of stocks and ETFs.
You can also earn up to 30 free trades per month if you either: maintain BoA balances of $25,000 or more, maintain Merrill Edge balances of $25,000 or more, or qualify for the Platinum Privileges program. Representative-assisted trades will cost $29.95 each.
For options, trading prices are the same, but there is an additional $0.75 per contract. Mutual funds are $0 per transaction for load waived and no load, no transaction fee funds. No load, transaction fee funds cost $19.95 for online trades, or $29.95 for representative-assisted trades.
Right now if you open an account with Merrill Edge, you could get up to a $600 cash bonus plus 30 free trades. Check out their website for more details.
Merrill Edge has three potentially helpful online tools — the Retirement Evaluator, the Asset Allocator, and the College Planning Tool.
The Retirement Evaluator helps you figure out if you’re on track to reach the retirement you want. It will give you investment ideas and actionable steps to ensure your retirement income matches your retirement goals.
The Asset Allocator helps you figure out your risk tolerance and investment style. Based on this information, it suggests a target asset allocation and compares it to your current allocation. It also gives simple instructions on how to balance your portfolio.
The College Planning Tool helps you estimate future college costs. It also gives recommendations on how to reach your college savings goals.
The Merrill Edge Roadmap is about taking charge of your finances with the assistance of an advisor. To begin, you’ll have a one-on-one conversation with a licensed Merrill Edge Financial Solutions Advisor. Your advisor will help you define your savings and investing goals, go over your portfolio allocation and create an action plan, and update you with portfolio reviews every six months.
For investors who want additional help with their portfolios, Merrill Edge Select portfolios are actively managed for a 1% annual management fee.
You can schedule a Merrill Edge Roadmap consultation for free as long as you have a Merrill Edge Advisory Center account.
Merrill Edge has some helpful online tools and may be a good option for those who bank with Bank of America and want to see their banking and investment accounts side by side. It is also a great option for those who meet the 30 free trades requirements.
However, It isn’t the cheapest option and customers have complained about slow customer service and slow updates on available funds and trades.
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