If you're fed up with your brokerage and don't like having to pay that commission every time you buy or sell a stock or mutual fund, know that you have some choices.
For starters, you might move some or all of your stock investing into direct purchase or dividend reinvestment plans, often referred to as "Drips." Hundreds of major American companies offer these plans, which let you buy shares of stock directly through the company, so that you can bypass brokerages and their middleman fees.
Not all Drip plans are equal, though. Some have low minimum investment amounts, such as $20, while others have steeper minimums, such as $250 or more. Still, these fees are less than what you typically pay when you do so through brokerages.
To learn more, click over to this informative page. And just to reassure you that the companies offering these plans aren't obscure ones of little interest, here are some of the many companies offering Drip and direct stock purchase plans:
To learn more about these companies' plans, or the plans of any other company, call its investor-relations department, or poke around its website's area for investors.
A few minutes in our Broker Center may help you find a brokerage that will serve your needs better and cost you less than your current brokerage. This article on finding the right brokerage may be helpful. Indeed, some very reputable brokerages now charge commissions of $5 or less per trade. (Our comparison table may be particularly helpful, too.)
You might also consider changing your investing habits. If you're an infrequent trader, as many successful investors are, the per-trade commission costs shouldn't trouble you too much. But if you're swinging in and out of stocks dozens of times each month, well, then, even a $12 commission cost can quickly add up. Ten trades per month means $1,440 a year, a significant chunk of change.
One more thing
You might not need to kiss your brokerage goodbye at all, as long as you aren't paying too much in commissions, you don't trade too often, and you're pleased with the service you get. Just know whether you're getting the most for your investing money that you can.
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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns no shares of any company mentioned.