Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge offers more affordable choices to first-time mutual and income fund investors than just about any other broker. Investors can choose from roughly 2,000 funds that don't have transaction fees, meaning less to pay out in commissions. For funds that aren't on the no-transaction-fee list, the cost is less than $20 per transaction. By comparison, Charles Schwab charges nearly $80 per transaction for funds not on its no-fee list.

In addition to financial flexibility, Merrill Edge also offers helpful resources for folks who are new to investing. The firm's top in-house analysts regularly rank what they believe are the best investments in each category, and they also provide editorial reviews of various fund options. There are no set account minimums, though some clients might face minimum balance requirements based on their investment portfolios.

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