What Should You Pay for Financial Services? 9 Answers
What they cost: flat service charges of $5 to $10 for stock and ETF trades; up to 5% front-end sales loads on fund purchases.
Why: When you buy stocks or funds directly from a brokerage, your costs can vary widely. For example, Charles Schwab charges a $9 commission for each online stock or ETF purchase and an extra $25 if you get help from a broker.
Other traditional brokers may charge much more, with commissions to pay the broker built into fees or expense ratios. For example, a mutual fund company may charge you a recurring "12b-1" fee (which increases the expense ratio) or a one-time "sales load." Both compensate the broker or adviser who sold you the fund. A typical sales load on a share purchase of less than $25,000 is 5%, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra).