You have made it!
Congratulations! You have made a conscious effort to see how you can open up your first online brokerage account!
You have made it to the gold medal round. Before we get into exactly how to open up your first online brokerage account, we have to talk, and you need to congratulate yourself. Why might you ask?
Because how many people do you know that talk about investing. They talk about making money in the markets. Most of them may have their money with a robo-advisor or even a financial advisor, but very few have made it here.
Very few have actually made the conscious effort to take action. To open their own account. To throw themselves in the fire and manage their own money in order to create the financial future they always dreamed about. The good news is, you are one of those action takers and I can promise you, you will get where you want to be.
But why do people invest their own money? You guessed it! Because they want to be the ones taking the vacations, buying a beautiful home for their families, or maybe just having some extra cash to take multiple vacations a year. Or maybe it is because they want to be like this guy…
Or maybe even this guy…
But whoever you are aspiring to be, I just want to let you know, you are further ahead than 99% of the people out there. You are an action taker. Period.
Because you are so amazing, we want to get you on your way with your own funded account in the next 10 minutes!
Opening Up Your First TD Ameritrade Account
We will not walk you through step by step, screen by screen, to make sure you not only are able to open up your first online brokerage account, but also that you have the right account. It is important to follow these steps in order and follow the directions as closely as possible so that you can be on your way and not have any restrictions on your account. Here we go!
Step 1: Go To TD Ameritrade
Step 2: Click “Open New Account”
Click the green text in the top or bottom right corner of the page that says “Open New Account”. You will then be prompted to a page that is step one of five on the TD Ameritrade website.
Step 3: Add In Your Contact Info
Here is what you need to add into each field:
- Prefix: (ex. Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss, Dr, or Rev)
- First name: (ex. Warren)
- Middle Name (Optional): (ex. Money)
- Last name: (ex. Buffet)
- Suffix (optional): (ex. Jr, Sr, II, III, IV)
- Email address: (ex. email@example.com)
- Re-enter email address: (ex. firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Best daytime phone number: (ex. 123-456-7890)
- I have a non-U.S. phone number: (ex. yes or no)
Step 4: Enter Your Citizenship Status
Be honest! TD Ameritrade currently allows residents of the United States, Canada, Luxembourg, and the United Kingdom.
Step 5: What Type of Account Do You Want To Open?
We are going to complete the rest of this tutorial assuming you will be opening an individual account as 95% of our students are trading in an individual account. However, because we like you so much, we will speak to you about the top 7 most popular accounts. But again, we will be moving forward as if we are opening an individual account.
Here is information about the top 7 most popular online brokerage accounts:
|Joint Tenants WROS (With Rights of Survivorship)||
Well, that was fun…wasn’t it?
Regardless, choose “Individual” account and move on to step 6.
Step 6: At This Time, I Primarily Expect To…
For this step, we want to choose the second choice of actively traded stocks, ETF’s, options, futures, or forex. In choosing this option, we will get:
- Details about multi-leg/complex options, futures, and foreign exchange markets
- Specialized trader support
- Access to ThinkorSwim and Trade Architect platforms
When we choose this option, not only are we giving ourselves the best technology out there, but we are also getting an account with the least amount of restrictions.
Step 7: Agree To The Terms and Conditions
Actually read them!
If you did not get a chance to read them on the TD Ameritrade website, you can read them here.
Make sure to click continue.
Time for personal information!
Step 8: Personal Information
After clicking the green button you will be prompted with a new page which is the second of five steps in the signup process. The first order of business on this page is to give your personal information. TD Ameritrade is a large institution, so you can rest assured your information will never be shared or revealed.
- Your social security number or ITIN. According to TD, “The IRS issues a 9-digit Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number, but do not have a U.S. Social Security Number and are not eligible to get one.”
- Date of birth: (ex. 1/1/1990)
- Marital status: (ex. Single, Married, Divorced, Widowed)
- Mother’s maiden name (ex. “Johnson”, this will be used for security purposes later on)
- Number of dependents (ex. 0,1,2,3, etc). Dependents include children, relatives or other people (excluding your spouse) who depend on you for financial support and live in your household all year. See IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, for the rules about claiming dependents.
Step 9: Home Address
- Physical street address. Federal law requires that we have your physical street address on file. Your physical street address is where you live. Please do not use a post office box for your physical address.
- City – (ex. New York City)
- State – (ex. New York)
- Zip code – (ex. 10011)
Step 10: Employment and Financial Information
- Employment status – (ex. Employed, Homemaker, Retired, Self-employed, Student, Unemployed)
- Approximate annual income. The amount of money you, as an individual, earn on a yearly basis. (ex. $0-$24,999, $25,000-$49,999, $50,000 – $99,999, $100,000 – $249,999, $250,000+)
- Approximate new worth. The total value of your possessions, such as stocks, bonds, and other securities (excluding your primary residence), minus all debt, such as revolving credit. (ex. $0,$14,999, $15,000-$49,999, $50,000-$99,999, $100,000-$249.999, $250,000-$499,999, $500,000-$999,999, $1,000,000-$1,999,999, $2,000,000+)
- Approximate liquid net worth. The amount of your net worth that could be easily converted to cash. Equals assets that could be sold quickly (including retirement accounts) minus short-term debts. (ex. $0,$14,999, $15,000-$49,999, $50,000-$99,999, $100,000-$249.999, $250,000-$499,999, $500,000-$999,999, $1,000,000-$1,999,999, $2,000,000+)
These financial questions are more to be able to serve you the proper account and margin permissions rather than allowing/denying you access to a brand new account.
Step 11: Personal Affiliations
- Are you, or is your spouse, or is any member of your immediate family licensed by, employed by, or associated with a broker-dealer firm, a financial services regulator, a securities exchange, or a member of a securities exchange? A registered broker-dealer is a person, company, or organization (other than a bank) that is engaged in buying or selling securities on its own behalf or for others, and is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Immediate family includes parents, in-laws, and dependents.
- Are you, or is your spouse, or is any member of your immediate family, or are any of your personal or business associates a senior political figure? Senior political figures are people who hold a high-ranking office in either a foreign or domestic government. Immediate family includes parents, in-laws, and dependents.
- Are you, or is your spouse, or is any member of your immediate family a member of the board of directors, a 10% shareholder, or a policy-making officer of a publicly traded company? Immediate family includes parents, in-laws, and dependents.
99.99% of the people creating their first online brokerage account will check no for all three of these. The reason these questions are asked is that those who have access to non-public information about companies are restricted to products such as ETF’s or Commodities.
Make sure to click continue!
Step 12: Review and Edit Your Account Information
This step is pretty simple, the screen you will be prompted to will be all of the information you added to step two. Give it one to two look overs before clicking the continue button below.
Step 13: Read The Terms and Conditions
- Client Agreement: Your agreement with TD Ameritrade by which this account is created.
- Account Handbook: Helpful information about how to use your account.
- Business Continuity Plan Statement: What TD Ameritrade will do in case of an emergency.
Step 14: Cash Sweep Vehicles and Client Agreement
This cash sweep vehicle is something you probably never heard of before. TD Ameritrade is owned by TD Bank (which iswhy your account is FDIC insured). Because of this, they do different things with your cash. You have two options here, both are pretty much the same.
- TD Ameritrade FDIC-Insured Deposit Account (Uninvested cash balances are transferred into a deposit account held at TD Bank, N.A., TD Bank USA, N.A., or both, earn interest, and are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) against bank failure for up to $250,000 per depositor, per bank. (TD Bank N.A. and TD Bank USA, N.A. are affiliates of TD Ameritrade.) View current interest rates here.)
- TD Ameritrade Cash (protected by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation or SIPC) (Uninvested cash balances are held in your brokerage account, earn interest and are protected against broker failure (up to $250,000) by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). You can view current interest rate information here.)
You don’t have to do anything with the client agreement. You should read it, though.
Step 15: IRS Form W-9
Your answers should be:
- I agree
- I agree
- I agree
- I agree
Then make sure to check the box next to the green arrow!
Step 16: Create Your Secure Log-in
Should be relatively straight forward. Make sure to write down your UserID and Password somewhere!
Step 17: Security Questions
You will be asked to give select four questions from a preselected list and give the answers for them. Again, remember to write down these questions and answers! Here are the questions you can choose from:
- In what city was your high school? (Enter full name of city only.)
- What is your maternal grandmother’s first name?
- What is your father’s middle name?
- What was the name of your high school?
- What is the name of the first company you worked for?
- What is the first name of the maid of honor at your wedding?
- What is the first name of your oldest nephew?
- What is your maternal grandfather’s first name?
- What is your best friends name?
- In what city were you married? (Enter full name of city only.)
- What is the first name of the best man at your wedding?
- What was your high school mascot?
- What was the first name of your first manager?
- In what city was your father born? (Enter full name of city only.)
- What was the name of your first girlfriend/boyfriend?
etc, etc. My hands are getting tired writing all of these. You get the point, right?
Step 18: Review Your Login
Make sure to review your login info! If you miss typed something, make sure to click the edit button and do it over!
Step 19: Finalize Your Account
This is an important step, we must make sure we choose a few options here.
Here is what my answers look like. You MUST choose speculative for the objective for trading options.
Step 20: Go To Your Account
Congrats! You now have your first online brokerage account! You should be prompted to a page like this.
Step 21: Download ThinkorSwim
Having a TD Ameritrade account is nice but the web platform is limited especially for those who are active in the markets and look to get the best prices available on the best technology. For this, we recommend going to ThinkorSwim and downloading the free software.
Once downloaded, all you need to do is put in the TD Ameritrade username and password you just created and you are all set.!