What is a Traditional Brokerage?
You have surely seen brokerage firms advertising on television, billboards and the radio. They are the very large and well-known firms. You might find narrow niche markets within this kind of firm, such as focusing on socially responsible investing. They generally have 24/7 access for clients and are relatively inexpensive. However, you might find yourself paying more if you want additional advice, so this can be an issue for those who are investing on a tight budget and need additional information to make the right investments.
Investing with Your Insurance Company
Compared to a traditional SRI investment company, this is a much more limited option, but there are opportunities. For example, you can look into something like an annuity. The biggest issue with this option is that your long-term return can be very limited due to high costs. The personal attention is beneficial, as is the overall simplicity of working with this option. However, if you want to get the most return for your money, this may not be a solid option.
Credit Unions and Banks
While not used for investing in things like companies and stocks, you might consider this option for investing in things like an IRA. Credit unions and banks might also be able to give you some advice for things like insurance and building your investment portfolio. The limited scope of products is the biggest issue with this option. You get a lot of personal attention, especially if you have a pre-existing relationship with them, but if you want a very diverse portfolio, this might not be ideal.
Online Investment Companies
With a busy life, investing online gives you a chance to do it on your own time. The information and assistance is generally inexpensive too. You have a number of options and there are multiple reputable websites to choose from. However, since this is all done solely online, you are not getting the attention you get from other options. If you are new to investing, this might not be ideal because you are on your own and do not get a lot of time to learn from an experienced investor as you make investments.
Independent Investment Advisors
This is an option if you want tailored advice and a wealth of investment options. This type of service usually offers both investment monitoring options and direct financial advice. However, over time, your returns can be limited due to advisor fees. Make sure to compare the fees to your potential returns to ensure that it is a sound option.