What Is Merrill Edge? An Overview and the Pros/Cons

FT Contributor  | 

Investments have become a popular way to grow money and reach retirement and financial goals. Only about 30% of Americans owned stock 30 years ago but in 2019, over 50% owned some form of stock. Although investing has become more common, it can still be complicated for many beginner investors and is associated with a steep learning curve.

To avoid a financial disaster, investors may look into investment platforms that make the process easier and more beneficial. There are many companies that offer investment services over an online platform, making it easy and convenient to keep track of your money.

Merrill Edge offers several features and strategies to help users grow their investment portfolios. Review the information provided to learn more about Merrill Edge, including its benefits and drawbacks, to determine if it’s the right investment platform for you.

Merrill Edge Services and Features

Merrill Edge has a robust line of personal investing and trading accounts to help you harness the power of investing and reach your financial goals. The company provides its users with extensive features designed to grow wealth, including the following:

  • An expansive line of accounts: Merrill Edge offers college planning, retirement, and online brokerage accounts. It also links to personal and small business bank accounts through Bank of America.
  • Comprehensive investment strategies: Investors have access to a wide array of investments, including different types of stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bonds, certificates of deposits (CDs), mutual funds, and margin lending as a flexible line of credit.
  • Online trading: Take control of your stocks with the online trading platform, which offers free online stock trading and no account fees or minimums.
  • Unlimited education: Be sure you’re making the right moves when you utilize Merrill Edge’s educational resources. These include stock market insights that are easy to understand for any investor and strategy suggestions based on accurate and updated market research.
  • A detailed online dashboard: When you sign into your account online, the dashboard shows how your investments are performing and current market status. You’re also provided with customizable visual graphs and other tools that outline how your next moves may affect your portfolio.
  • A mobile app: Check-in on your investments from anywhere with the Merrill Edge mobile app. When logged into your account, you can make trades and move your money any way you see fit, while observing your investment performance and researching changes in the market.
  • Link your bank accounts: If your bank accounts are with Bank of America, you can link them to your Merrill Edge investments for streamlined financial processes. One login allows you to access all accounts on your mobile device or computer.
  • Invest without help: If you prefer to buy stocks online without the help of a broker, choose the Self-Directed plan and do your own research while making your own trades.
  • Invest with professional guidance: The Guided Investing plan is monitored and rebalanced by investment professionals. You must have at least a $5,000 investment and you’ll pay a 0.45% annual fee.
  • Invest with professional guidance and advice: Sign up for the Guided Investing plan with an advisor. Invest at least $20,000 and pay a 0.85% annual fee to receive a guided plan and one-on-one advice from a professional on the best strategies to reach your investment goals.

Who Is Merrill Edge For?

Merrill Edge is an ideal investment platform for both beginner and advanced investors since it offers as much or as little help as the user desires. However, investment packages that include professional assistance require high balances.

Since the platform allows users to quickly and easily link to Bank of America accounts, these customers may find it to be the most convenient way to invest. The extensive educational materials and updated stock market information provided on the site help investors figure out their next moves. Access to a mobile app, online account, and online trading makes it an ideal platform for technologically savvy users.

Pros and Cons of Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge investors find there are both benefits and drawbacks to using the investment platform.

Pros

Bank of America Integration

Bank of America customers can integrate their banking accounts with their investments on the Merrill Edge platform. This makes it easy to log into one account and view a complete financial overlook.

Informative Resources

The Merrill Edge site offers up-to-date information on the market, making it easier for investors to determine their next moves. With access to resources covering the stock market and the likelihood of success with different investment strategies, investors feel more confident in their choices.

Trading With No Fees

Merrill Edge investors can trade stocks, options, and ETFs without being charged commission fees. The Self-Directed investment plan doesn’t include an annual fee, allowing investors to trade stocks for free as needed.

Cons

Slow Site Navigation

The website has been known to experience lag times, making it hard to complete trades quickly. Some users report that the process for completing a trade is more extensive than it needs to be, which may be frustrating for investors in a time crunch.

Only Integrates With Bank of America

Since Merrill Edge only has a relationship with Bank of America, users with accounts at other banks can’t integrate. Investors with accounts at other banks won’t be able to see these accounts on their Merrill Edge dashboard.

Is Merrill Edge Right for You?

If you want to be hands-on with your approach to investing, the Merrill Edge investment platform may be right for you. The account dashboard on the website and mobile app makes it easy to see how your money is growing and to make changes with your financial goals in mind.

The investment package you qualify for depends on your total investment and whether you’re willing to pay annual fees. Before deciding if Merrill Edge is right for you, consider your financial goals and investment strategies and compare them to what the investment platform has to offer.


Image Source: https://depositphotos.com/