When Free Isn’t Free
The investment industry doesn’t often give something for nothing.
Travelers quickly learn to avoid “no-commission” currency exchanges that lurk outside of baggage claim areas. With the rates they charge, they could pay their customers a commission and still turn a profit. (My favorite horror story: A German tourist swapped EUR 300 to a freelance trader, for what he was told was the equivalent sum of Mongolian tugrik. He received EUR 3 worth.)
Mainstream investing is considerably cleaner. The waters are murky indeed for options traders, or those who buy penny stocks. Nor would I steer my favorite relatives toward cryptocurrencies. However, for investors who stick to the center of the road, brand-name brokerage firms, mutual funds, and banks offer far better deals than do those currency exchanges.
John Rekenthaler does not own (actual or beneficial) shares in any of the securities mentioned above. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.