Like a lot of things in my life, my brokerage situation is a little strange. No, I’m not going to elaborate on that first part.
I started out as a Tradefreedom customer back in about 2004 (remember them? Of course not), which was the place for active traders to go back then. It offered $9.99 trades. That was a very big deal in 2004. Other online brokerages were at $29.99.
You kids don’t have any idea how good you have it today.
I didn’t last long at Tradefreedom because they made up for the cheap trades with aggressive account inactivity fees. They also charged annual RRSP management fees just for having the assets with them. So I consolidated all my assets with Qtrade a couple of years later.
I was mostly happy with Qtrade over the years. I’ve never had to wait on hold for any longer than a minute or two and the website works well. Fees used to be a bit excessive but they got the message and are now inline with competitors. Eventually I qualified for $6.95 trades, which I thought was reasonable enough.
Then I opened a TFSA account with Questrade, something I did because fees were cheaper and I wanted to try out their platform. I’ve had nothing but good experiences with Questrade as well, which is why I I’ll often recommend them to newbie investors. The free ETF trades is a big perk too, especially for those of you who prefer more passive methods of investing.
Okay, what’s the problem?
Last week I went to try and calculate my overall investment return for 2018 and realized I couldn’t do it. Questrade had the info available and easy to find, while Qtrade didn’t. I have to wait for my December statement to be ready, which won’t happen until closer to the end of January.
Then I have to go ahead and do some manual calculations to figure out exactly how my investments did in 2018. (Spoiler alert: the answer is down approximately 0.8%). I can do this, but it’s a pain to have investments in two different spots. I just want to log into one spot and get a total portfolio snapshot.
There are some other smaller reasons why I want to make the switch too, including Questrade’s far better app and the lower fees. I figure I’ll save between $30 and $40 a year by having all my investments with Questrade. That’s not enough to justify a switch on its own, but it’s not a terrible tertiary reason.
What say you?
There’s part of me that thinks these are kinda poor reasons to switch brokerages and I’m making a mountain out of a molehill here. It’s not that hard to track my total portfolio return on my net worth spreadsheet. It took about five minutes to figure out what my total return was in 2018 versus one minute finding it on a statement somewhere. This isn’t hard.
So I’m going to ask you guys. Is wanting all my stock market assets in one place smart, or does none of this really matter? Weigh in plz.