Having founded a subscription-based trading website, I get the chance to interact with quite a few traders each day. Whether by email or through the community forum on the site, it’s always nice to visit with other traders about a variety of topics. Some of them have lots of experience and have been in the game much longer than me. Others are new and fresh and inquisitive. I enjoy dealing with each of them, but the newer traders often ask questions which I ought to cover here more often. One in particular deals with commissions.
Pardon the pun, but as an active trader, I do pay my share of commissions each year :-D. Some years I pay more than others, and it just boils down to how much of my trading volume that year comes from swing trading vs. day trading. When holding stocks for a few days at a time, or swing trading, obviously the share turnover is much lighter than when scalping for a few cents at a time with a day trading approach. Each style can be lucrative, but the higher your activity level is, the more it can benefit your broker if you aren’t careful.
The majority of part-time traders I run across are on a per-trade (or per-ticket) commission structure, which means they pay a flat rate whether they’re buying 100 or 2000 shares. This can get costly fast. Partial sales will add to the commission bill quickly. The smaller trader begins to see his precious capital erode faster if he’s very active at all, and unfortunately this can soon lead to him passing up good trades out of the simple fear of it costing too much to enter and exit the trade. That’s too bad, especially considering that trading is a numbers game.
Enter per-share pricing. Rather than a flat rate per order, you simply pay a flat rate per share, which means you pay for what you trade and nothing more. In dealing with many newer traders, not enough of them are aware of the per-share commission structures which many brokers offer. And although each broker is different, often times it’s as simple as requesting that your commission setup be changed to a per-share structure.
My broker offers per-share pricing, and I’ve had my commissions structured that way for several years now. Their standard per-trade rate is $9.99 per trade, but very active day traders can even negotiate lower rates based on high volume levels.
Commissions are truly a cost of doing business in the stock market, particularly if you want access to a sophisticated trading platform, but you can still reduce those costs if you go about it the right way. Regardless of which broker you trade through, find out if they offer a per-share pricing structure. Making the switch should save you a little money in the short term and a lot of money over the course of the year.
Trade well today!
President, The Stock Bandit, Inc.
Swing Trading & Day Trading Service
[tags]Stock Market, Day Trading, Stock Trading, Investing, Swing Trading[/tags]