What Is A Brokerage Account? And How Does It Works?

A brokerage account is a taxable account for individuals so that they are able to sell or buy different types of investment securities. Investors use a brokerage account to buy and sell stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. You can use this brokerage account to transfer money because this account provides you with the ability to have access to the stock market and other types of investments.

A brokerage account is also referred to as taxable accounts. Because the money you earn using this account is considered a capital gain, therefore this account is taxed.

How does a brokerage account work?

Actually, it is so easy to open up a brokerage account. It is similar to the process of opening a bank account. If you are interested in having a brokerage account you should file an application from a brokerage firm. Then you need to submit your basic personal information; your first and last, your address, and the like. Then you have until your information is approved. After that, you will be able to charge your account by transferring money from your bank account. Then you are good to go.  You can use the transferred money to buy (and later on, sell) different types of investment. Remember that the money you earn from this account is considered capital earn therefore it is taxable.

The number of brokerage accounts that you have is not limited. You can have as many accounts as you want in the same institution, or if you prefer you can have several accounts in several institutions. The choice is yours to make.

Brokerage Accounts vs. Retirement Accounts

As previously mentioned, brokerage accounts do not offer tax advantages. So you need to pay your tax, which is why they are called taxable accounts. And because of the fact you are paying the tax of your income, there are few rules for these taxable accounts. You can pull out your money whenever you want no matter what the reason is. You can invest as much as you want. There is no limit in the amount of money that you are investing.

If you are investing money in order to have a saving for your retirement, then you probably would prefer retirement accounts like Roth or IRA to the taxable accounts. You can earn more money using retirement accounts but note that you cannot pull out your money before a certain age.

The basic knowledge you need in order to open up a brokerage account

To open up a brokerage account you need to pay attention to few elements in order to have a better experience:

Choose a brokerage account provider that suits you

Now that you have decided that you want a brokerage account, you need to choose a provider. There are two famous providers: online brokerage account and managed brokerage accounts.

If you prefer to manage your investments on your own, then you probably prefer online brokers. You can use their website to buy and sell different types of investments.

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If you rather want someone else to manage your investments then you would like the second option. Managed brokerage accounts come with an advisor. You can get help from a Robo-advisor which is a cheaper alternative for human investment advisors. These companies use computer algorithms to manage your account for you.

Know different types of brokerage accounts

Brokerage accounts are easier to master than retirement accounts because they have fewer special rules. Still, brokerage accounts have different types that you better be familiar with, before opening up your brokerage account.

Discount Brokerage

A discount broker is the most common type of brokerage accounts. It is mostly for the new users and it is most probably an online-only brokerage. You manage your own trading and as a result, you pay less amount of fee.

Full-Service Account

This type of account provides you with a dedicated broker who knows your financial status. You can call them or even book a meeting with them in order to discuss your portfolio. Obviously, as a result of this detailed and personalized service, you ought to pay higher fees.

Cash Brokerage Account

This type of brokerage account will not let you use the money you do not have. In other words, it won’t lend you money. If you want to buy a stock which is costs $5 then you should transfer at least 5$ to your account in order to buy that stock.

Margin Accounts

A margin account unlike a cash account will permit you to borrow money in order to make a trade. These loans are usually for more advanced trades. Margin accounts can be full-service or discount.


Just like anything else, trading also needs background knowledge. You just will not go to sleep one night and the next day, wake up reach. You need to gather information in order to have a better experience and more enjoyable trading.

In the case of brokerage accounts, you first need to decide whether you need a retirement account or a taxable account. If you want a long-term investment then you should go with a retirement account. If you decided on the brokerage account, you need to decide whether you want to manage your trades on your own or you prefer to have an advisor.

The last step is to decide on the type of brokerage account that you want to get. When you are done deciding about all of the named matters then you can open up your account using the provided guideline.

Do not forget that learning about trading does not end with opening up a brokerage account, it is the exact opposite. The learning process will just start from there. You need to think, learn and decide before every step you take to have a tremendous experience in trading and investment.

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NB: The purpose of this website is to provide a general understanding of personal finance, basic financial concepts, and information. It’s not intended to advise on tax, insurance, investment, or any product and service. Since each of us has our own unique situation, you should have all the appropriate information to understand and make the right decision to fit with your needs and your financial goals. I hope that you will succeed in building your financial future.