It may be hard to imagine, but many people just don't follow the exciting world of online brokerages very closely. They may watch every golf tournament they can on TV, getting to know up-and-coming golfers. They may read each gardening catalog they can get their earthy mitts on, to see what new flowers are available. But for some reason, they just ignore brokerages. It's crazy, I know.
It's worth following brokerage developments, though. They may not make you laugh, or swoon, or sit on the edge of your seat, but they can help you save a lot of money. And that money might buy you a round of golf or some Himalayan blue poppy seeds.
One promising development in the brokerage world is falling commission costs. As a June article in Kiplinger's noted, Charles Schwab
If you're new to the world of discount brokerages, these rates might knock your socks off. That's because traditional, full-service brokerages, such as Merrill Lynch
Keep in mind, though, that you're not always best off with the absolute lowest rate you can find. If you trade a lot, the lower the commission the better. If you trade infrequently, paying a few dollars more a few times a year is not the end of the world, especially if your brokerage is serving you well in other regards. I myself use Ameritrade
Also keep this falling-commission trend in mind if you're considering investing in brokerage companies. A recent Business Week article recommended the sector, pointing to Goldman Sachs
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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.