What New Investors Like You Want to Know

May 22, 2023

Want to invest but not sure where to start? Get answers to your frequently asked questions.

Key Takeaways

  • Brokerage accounts offer convenience, control and value. You make the decisions and place the trades. 
  • We build and manage a diversified portfolio for you based on your risk tolerance with Core Portfolios.
  • If you'd like personalized planning and investing guidance by phone, a virtual advisor may be for you.
  • A Financial Advisor offers a hands-on, dedicated, full service-relationship.

When it comes to planning for your financial future, we could all use a little help.


The first step is to think about your goals. Next, consider if investing can help you meet them. Investing can be a smart option and may help you achieve long-term financial goals like buying a home or building wealth.   


At Morgan Stanley, you’ll find a range of modern investing solutions – from accounts where you make the investing decisions to accounts managed for you.  Here’s a simple comparison of some of our investment offerings. Click here to view a PDF.


What is online investing with E*TRADE? 

E*TRADE is part of Morgan Stanley and offers online brokerage accounts that let you invest your money yourself without paying commissions.1 You can use E*TRADE to buy or sell stocks, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options and more.


E*TRADE’s user-friendly website provides access to research and easy-to-use tools to help you make informed investment decisions and easily place your trades. You can also take advantage of a range of educational videos and classes to narrow your investing choices.


Does online investing with an E*TRADE brokerage account make sense for me?

A brokerage account at E*TRADE is self-directed, meaning you make the decisions and place the trades. Self-directed accounts offer convenience, control and value, and may be a good option for people who are new to investing, building a portfolio of investments, and even active traders.


What are the fees and minimums?

There are no account minimums to open an E*TRADE brokerage account and $0 commissions for online stock and ETF trades.1


How do I open an E*TRADE account?

A simple online application and initiating a transfer of money from your bank account will get you started in under 15 minutes. It can take up to three business days for funds to be available. Once you’re funded, watch a demo to learn how to place your orders, or get started as you watch a live webinar. Customer support is available via phone or chat whenever and wherever you need it. 

Open an E*TRADE Brokerage Account

Get started today with E*TRADE's easy to use website and range of investing options.


Here’s a simple comparison of some of our investment offerings. Click here to view a PDF.


What is E*TRADE’S Core Portfolios?

Core Portfolios is an automated, digital investing platform—also known as a robo-advisor—where you provide information about your goals and risk tolerance, and we build a diversified portfolio that we will manage for you.2


How does Core Portfolios work?

First, you answer a few simple questions about your goals, how much risk you think you can handle, and other investing preferences. Then, we use algorithms to recommend a portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that are hand-picked by our experienced investment team. We monitor and manage your investments going forward, taking care to automatically realign them with your risk preferences. You can also personalize your managed account by choosing an additional investment strategy to include like socially responsible or smart beta ETFs.

You can personalize your account by choosing socially responsible or smart beta ETFs.

Does an online managed account like Core Portfolios’ Automated Investing make sense for me?

Core Portfolios may be a good option if you’re just starting out, don’t have the time or desire to manage your own investments, don’t need to have a dedicated person to talk to, or are looking for a simple way to invest toward a specific goal in an online account. Investors who use Core Portfolios can also automatically harvest tax losses as the robo-advisor rebalances your portfolio, with no additional effort on your part.


What are the fees and minimums?

Pay an annual advisory fee as low as $1.50 or 0.30% of account balances. All you need is a $500 minimum investment to get started. Keep in mind, the advisory fee does not cover underlying management fees and expenses of any mutual fund or ETF investment held in the portfolio.


How do I open a Core Portfolios account?

Get started by answering a five--minute questionnaire about your investing goals and risk tolerance and fund your account(s).

Open an E*TRADE Core Portfolios Account

Work towards your goals with automated help.


What is Morgan Stanley Virtual Advisor? 

With Morgan Stanley Virtual Advisor, you can connect with experienced Financial Advisors over the phone Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET. Your Financial Advisor can:

  • Provide personalized advice and information.
  • Help you plan to meet your goals.
  • Deliver comprehensive investing recommendations across a range of options.
  • Help manage your overall finances.


Their access to Morgan Stanley’s in-house analysts and strategists as well as industry-leading research and powerful planning tools means that you have the support of a well-resourced and experienced global firm working on your behalf.


Is Morgan Stanley Virtual Advisor right for me?

If you’d like personalized planning and proactive investing guidance yet aren’t ready to engage a dedicated Financial Advisor, or have concerns around the traditional costs of working with a Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley Virtual Advisor may be a good option. Especially if you like the idea of calling a Financial Advisor on your schedule and regular performance reviews by phone.

Morgan Stanley Virtual Advisor may be a good option if you like the idea of regular performance reviews by phone.

What are the fees?

Morgan Stanley Virtual Advisor typically charges an advisory fee that is a percentage of the assets that are managed on your behalf. Advisory fees and commissions vary depending on the services used and investments made.


How do I get started with Virtual Advisor?

Call 1-866-743-5700, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. ET.

Schedule Your Conversation with a Virtual Advisor

Get started today.


Why choose a Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor?

For ongoing comprehensive financial planning, investment and even tax management advice, you can choose to work with a dedicated Financial Advisor. You’ll develop an ongoing relationship with an experienced professional who understands the markets, knows you and your family, and can help you manage risk. Plus, you’ll have access to a full range of investment services and products that may not be available to others, such as alternative and private investments. 


Is having a Financial Advisor right for me?

If you’re looking for a hands-on, dedicated professional you can meet with to help you build a customized plan based on your goals for your complex financial situation, working with a Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor may be a good option. You can expect ongoing contact and access that’s part of the Morgan Stanley Client Experience. Your Financial Advisor can also help you with estate and charitable giving planning. They can guide you from saving for the lifestyle you want in retirement, to helping you work out a plan for drawing down your retirement savings in any market environment. 

For this level of individualized service, a minimum investment is required that could start at $1 million.

What are the fees and minimums?

For this level of individualized service, a minimum investment is required that could start at $1 million. Depending on the type of relationship we establish and the ways you choose to do business with us, Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors may be compensated as a percentage of the assets we manage on your behalf, transaction commissions or other fees. Our Financial Advisors are upfront and transparent about their compensation and strive to ensure we justify your investment in us with value.


How do I choose a Financial Advisor?

Interview two to three Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors and select the one who fits best with you and your financial goals. Consider asking questions like:

  • How would you get to know me? How often would we meet?
  • Do you have experience that applies to my unique financial goals and needs?
  • How will you help me navigate important financial decisions?
  • What if I have urgent questions or need advice when the markets shift dramatically? How will you service me given all the other clients you have?
  • How would we get started? 

Ready to Start Your Conversation? Find a Financial Advisor Near You. 

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