You want to open a brokerage account, but the firms you called require between $1,000 and $5,000 up front, just to open an account -- more than you have. What can you do? Keep calling -- or perhaps pop into our Broker Center ASAP.

Many brokerages don't have minimums. Others have small ones, like $500. Also, minimums vary for different kinds of accounts. For an IRA account, for example, minimums tend to be considerably less (sometimes half as much, or less). Also, some brokerages may waive minimums or accept very low amounts if you sign up to have funds automatically deposited regularly into your account. Take a little time to do some shopping around -- you might find a good deal.

Another alternative is investing via "Drips" (direct investing plans, or dividend reinvestment plans). Read about the power of dividend growth and the power of Drip plans.

Learn more about how to choose the brokerage that's best for you in our Broker Center, which also offers a handy comparison chart. (One of the brokerages there recently sported deposit minimums of just. $0.)

And finally, learn more at our Discount Brokers discussion board and in these articles: