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For the majority of Americans, the focus of 2016 was the tough slog of Democratic and Republican primaries, followed by the brutal presidential election. While everyone was distracted by politics, however, the economy continued to improve markedly over recent years. Hundreds of thousands of new jobs continue to be added  to the payrolls each month, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest point in years. For the first time in a long while, people are feeling bullish going into the New Year. If you are one of them, and are interested in getting into the stock market for the first time, or returning after a long hiatus, here are four great investment accounts to consider to start investing strongly in 2017.

Talk to Chuck – Charles Schwab

If you are a beginning or intermediate investor, it is hard to go wrong with Charles Schwab. Schwab offers low brokerage fees – normally $8.95 per trade – as well as a host of mutual funds that can be purchased with no fees whatsoever. Many Schwab accounts offer a host of other services as well – from checking and savings to credit and debit cards. Charles Schwab has terrific customer service and great apps that make it easy to monitor your accounts and execute transactions with your smartphone and tablet. Moreover, Schwab has hundreds of physical branches across the United States, making it easy to meet face to face when you want to talk to a person about your account. Most Schwab accounts require a minimum of $1000 to open, and the company offers cash bonuses up to $500 when opening new accounts, depending on your initial deposit.

TD Ameritrade

If you are starting from scratch as a new investor, TD Ameritrade is another great brokerage to consider. Most stock trades will cost you $9.99 each, although the brokerage offers many exchange-traded funds that can be purchased or sold with no fee at all. Like Schwab, TD Ameritrade offers great customer service and is enhanced by terrific apps that make it easy to manage your account with mobile devices. There is no minimum deposit to start an account with TD Ameritrade, making it much faster for investors with little to no initial cash to start investing fast. For those who do have money to deposit the brokerage offers up to $600 and 60 days of free trades for depositing your cash with them.


If every penny counts, and you want to cut money lost on brokerage fees even further, Optionshouse is a great choice to consider. The online brokerage, at $4.95 per trade, has some of the best rates in the business. This company is a great choice if you are the type of investor who practices heavy trading, and you want to reduce money lost on high brokerage fees.  Optionshouse, like the other online brokerages, is supported by great mobile apps; its tools, and the ease at which investors can trade instruments like stock futures and options, set Optionshouse apart from companies who offer similar services. Optionshouse requires no minimum deposit to start using the service and is currently offering 60 days of commission-free trading for investors who open new accounts.

Merrill Edge

Another great online brokerage to consider is Merrill Edge. The company, with low-cost $6.95 brokerage fees, is as competitive as any small online outfit you might be able to find out there in a Google search. Investors can also open a Merrill Edge brokerage account with no money down, another great plus for anyone starting out 2017 without more enthusiasm than starter money when it comes to investing. What sets Merrill Edge apart from the competition is the research tools it offers clients. A standard account with Merrill Edge gets you access to the company’s mutual funds reviews, as well as services such as Morningstar and Recognia, to help make you a more informed investor. The brokerage offers bonuses of up to $600 when establishing a new account, too, depending on your initial deposit.


William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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