The other day on our Investing Beginners discussion board, a new member of our Foolish Community, "drstace," asked a question:

Here's my first post! My father-in-law set up a taxable account (CMA) with Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER) for my husband years ago -- and we plan on selling everything (seven stocks) to provide a down payment for our first house next year. I'm finally starting to learn about investing.

I'm concerned about the high commissions. Is it possible to transfer the holdings to a discount broker (e.g., Ameritrade (NASDAQ:AMTD)) and save money when selling? If so, are there any issues I need to worry about? We're completely unimpressed with the financial advisor, so we have no loyalty problems with transferring the account.

Not surprisingly, she quickly received some responses. Wrjohnston91283 replied:

It is completely possible to transfer the stock holdings from one account to another. It is free to transfer in, but Merrill Lynch may charge a fee to transfer out. However, if you transfer to Ameritrade or Scottrade, you will probably come out ahead. The only issue is that it may take a couple of weeks for all the paperwork to go through.

That's pretty much how I would have answered the question. It's not too difficult to switch brokerages, and it's a smart thing to do if it will save you money. Many brokerages today offer compelling values. This is particularly true of the ones that used to be called "discount brokers." Today, many of them -- such as E*Trade (NYSE:ET), Charles Schwab (NASDAQ:SCHW), and Fidelity -- offer much of what traditional "full-service" (and full-price) brokerages offer, including banking services, stock research, financial planning, and more -- with much lower trading commission fees.

First, choose your new brokerage. (We can help you there. Click into our Broker Center, where you can learn about choosing a brokerage and compare four solid brokerages via a handy broker comparison table.) Then contact the brokerage and ask for account transfer materials. The new brokerage should be more than happy to help you move your investments. As Wrjohnston91283 noted, you'll likely be charged nothing for this -- but your old brokerage might slap you with a transfer fee for moving your money out and closing the account. You'll probably just need to fill out a few forms, mail it to one or both of the brokerages, then wait a week or two for them to get the work done.

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Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian does not own shares of any companies mentioned in this article.